How to do polished plaster walls?

If you’re looking to create a show-stopping feature wall, how you do your polished plaster walls will significantly impact just how amazing they look once complete.

Spoiler alert this is not for the faint of heart or unskilled people to tackle.

Venetian polished plaster is a premium decorative coating that can e unforgiving but yields dramatic and awe-inspiring finishes when installed correctly.

So, the question is, how best to do this?

As with any decorative coating and artwork, it is always subjective.

If you’re the kind who enjoys bold, bright and high gloss surfaces, then we’d recommend exploring the options within these parameters.

Should you be more reserved in your choices and prefer a more subtle finish, one that could be mistaken for a fine paint or slightly textured surface, there are plenty of options available.

We usually advise clients to consider the rest of their home and decoration. If they plan to remodel and install polished plaster as a finishing touch, it is usually a good idea to get a feel for how you plan to dress and spend the space.

Our team of experts is available should you need to bounce any ideas around and explore what options we have that can enhance the project.

Soft furnishings, room dressing, and smaller items are naturally easier to change should they not look or feel right against the polished plaster walls.

Preparing surfaces for your polished plaster installation

This finish requires a high level of preparation and will display any imperfections or blemishes in the substrate.

For the best outcome, we advise going over freshly plastered walls that have been coated in gypsum by a decent plasterer.

Our installers can rectify bad plastering to a degree but will add extra time and expense to your project.

If fresh plaster isn’t an option, then thorough preparation may need to be done depending on the surface. To begin with, we’ll be able to advise at the point of a site survey.

Choosing your level of polished plaster

It should be no surprise that the level of sheen can vary as a hand-applied and finished decorative coating.

This is down to, for the best part, which product is used and how it is applicated.

The artist’s skill also comes into play here, with the opportunity to make a real mess of it and end up with an expensive mistake should the installation not go to plan.

Working the material for longer & polishing it up more enthusiastically will result in a shinier surface.

Think about how you'll light up your polished plaster

Have you forward planned and installed feature lighting to capitalise on this design installation? If so, did you choose for these lights to be dimmable, switched independently or motion activated?

Seemingly small details such as this may be easy to overlook but ultimately lead to the best overall ambience in the areas with polished plaster installed.

What is the natural lighting situation for your polished plaster wall and interior space?

Is your space dark and gloomy or light and bright? Capitalising on natural daylight and the angle at which it enters the space can be used powerfully.

Since it is a shiny and reflective surface, it can enhance the visual impact when sunlight is guided onto the polished plaster.

Types of polished plaster for your feature wall

Like most things, you can get different qualities and finishes of polished plaster.

For the purists, you should seek out ranges with no acrylic added. Some brands will be slightly misleading with their marketing and give the impression that all is natural, yet they’ve added synthetics such as acrylic, as mentioned earlier.

Whereas others are acrylic.

Now everything has its time and place, so these ranges are still perfectly useable; it is something to be aware of. If your applicator can’t tell you its cause for concern, do your research.

Here at Signature Walls, we have our preferred suppliers, which are Novacolor and Italian suppliers you can find out more about them here and Frescolori, a German manufacturer, which you can learn more about here.

It’s worth mentioning that the polished plasters available on the market are also defined by the particulate size, with the more finely ground products capable of producing a smoother finish, so if it is that you seek, keep a look out for Grasello or mirror finish.

Is your plaster not as polished as you'd like?

If for whatever reason, your result isn’t quoted as you’d wished for, there are always options to alter the appearance through the use of waxes and additives that can make it pop, sparkle, shimmer and shine.

To redo the wall is possible but as you can imagine, means starting all over again and additional costs to the client so we prefer to aim for satisfaction the first time around, delivering the same finish you have seen and agreed to from the samples boards.

To speak with one of our team and explore the possibilities of polished plaster, drop us an email at or call 0203 488 7578

Network Business Centre
5-7 Kingston Hill
Surrey KT2 7PW