It happens to be one of my favorite wall finishes. Beautiful, variable (the finishes can go anywhere to a varnished sheen to a beeswax matte), and luxurious — a Venetian Plaster finish on any wall is artwork in itself.
If you are going for a big splash on low budget, I suggest doing just the powder room. Otherwise, a true Venetian Plaster finish is going to cost you.
“Venetian plaster is a wall and ceiling finish consisting of plaster mixed with marble dust, applied with a spatula or trowel in thin, multiple layers, which are then burnished to create a smooth surface with the illusion of depth and texture. Venetian plaster techniques include marmorino, scagliola, and sgraffito. When left un-burnished, Venetian plaster has a matte finish that is rough and stone-like to the touch. Un-burnished Venetian plaster is also very brittle and damages rather easily.
When applied correctly, Venetian plaster can be used to create a highly polished, rock-hard, marble-like finish. Venetian plaster is especially useful on surfaces where marble panels could not be installed easily, and on surfaces that would be too expensive to have carved from real marble such as columns, corbels and curved walls.
Venetian plaster can be tinted, or colored using natural or synthetic colorants. The ability to tint Venetian plaster is especially helpful when a specific color of “marble” is desired, or when a color that does not exist naturally is wanted.”
On the walls of the home pictured above, we’ve mixed Venetian Plaster with Travertine Stone over the arched kitchen entry.
The depth achieved with a plaster finish allows a greater range of colors to pop and look appropriate (in my humble opinion). Darker chocolates are nice in dens and libraries, and cherry reds look exceptional in powder baths. Yellows, ochres and mustards stand out on main home walls. Just be sure you understand that you will have a challenge on your hands if you are the kind of decorator that is moving their pictures every other day. The holes are not easily patched well– unless you have the professionals do it ($$$).