Should I use Venetian plaster or decorative paint for a feature wall?

To determine whether decorative paint or authentic Venetian plaster is the right option for your feature wall, we should consider the main factors that will assist us.

In most cases, we would go down the route of Venetian plaster. However, a paint finish or mixture of other products and paint could be the more suitable and cost-effective solution.

The main areas for consideration are:

Look and feel, do I need Venetian plaster to achieve this?

Probably the most critical factor with any feature wall installation is how you’d like it to appear.

Touching, in some cases, is not recommended, yet it is another crucial factor in the sensory experience.

In both instances, your installation’s overall visual impact and wow factor are usually the first considerations.

Get it right, and your visitors will be in awe, remembering that jaw-dropping, colourful or tastefully textured decorative feature wall and longing for one of their own.

The opposite is true if it has been poorly finished, shows signs of a bad D.I.Y job, or tacky.

Yep, people will judge and share their opinions of the said feature wall, regardless, so keep this in mind when choosing what to do but don’t let the fear of others’ opinions be your main driving force.

Walls are created with your tastes and personality in mind.

Authentic Venetian plaster has a specific look and feels; paint finishes cannot achieve this or replicate it.

Indeed, they can be expertly merged, blended or entwined into a unique design, but not everyone is skilful enough to do this artistically.

Authenticity for your style and location, sometimes Venetian plaster could be the only option.

If you value this and want to remain consistent, selecting the right company and brands to work with will dictate your end up with.

As a growing sector of the market, more and more products are entering the space, some of which are blended with other additives.

This detracts from the natural origins and introduces a new category into the space; without checking, you may be unknowingly purchasing or using these.

Suppose your brand’s image or ethics dictate that you opt for a more natural approach to sustainability or minimal exposure to airborne pollutants and chemicals. In that case, you should plan to seek out products that match your requirements.

At Signature walls, we’re big in this area and only use high-quality, reputable products for our installations.

Also, consider if your friends or admirers expect it to be a premium, luxurious wall coating such as Venetian plaster, and you’ve simply painted over filler that hasn’t been sanded.

In most cases, it doesn’t quite have the same appeal to its story.

Quality of materials and life span of feature wall

Premium products cost more; there are no two ways about that.

Quality decorative finishes, such as Venetian plaster, follow suit in this regard, and rightly so.

Benign a professional discipline with a relatively high cost of materials, in compilation to say regular decorating and paints, will generally mean fewer D.I.Yers would want to have a go.

It’s far easier to pick up a brush and tin of paint, which, if it goes wrong, can be easily painted over.

This helps to ensure that installations are carried out by suitably trained professionals so that, in most cases, the product will have a good lifespan.

Better quality materials should outlast the less expensive ones.

Costs involved using Venetian plaster for your feature walls

Having a premium product installed, such as Venetian plaster, could, and is, used as a status symbol, a chance to show off a little and display your decorative prowess.

For this reason, a high price tag can be more desirable, or the most expensive additives and complex finishes involve blending different design styles or products.

More work and technical difficulty will increase the time it takes for an installation and associated investment costs.

With most painted feature walls costing £400 – 700 + vat they are more affordable, whereas a true Venetian installation will set you back in the region of £2000 – 3500 + vat

Repeatability within your feature wall designs

Need to replicate the same design and finish across multiple walls or locations?

Both Venetian plaster and decorative paints could be suitable here since theyre both reliant on the skills of the applicator or team; if you plan to replicate, ensure that the agreed finish can be repeated and documented.

Slight variations in the timings., layering up, or installation style can be noticed.

Naturally, a less complex and flatter finish will usually be more accessible to repeat than a more involved, longer process.

What other options are available for enhancing feature walls?

Some of the options we use, either in tandem with Venetian plaster or as standalone products, are:

  • Decorative paints such as metallics or lightly textured finishes are painted with a brush or roller.
  • Liquid metals that can be used for stencils, blended into Venetian plaster or 
  • Microcement, which gives a seamless stone or concrete finish, can be enhanced with Venetian plaster or metallic additives.
  • Variations in texture or depth using Venetian plaster or stencils.

Hopefully, these insights have proven helpful when it comes to your project.
If you want to discuss your feature wall ideas in more depth and see whether a Venetian plaster installation would be suitable for your surfaces, the best way to do so is to send an email to

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