A Shining Example for Walls: Luxe Lacquer & Polished Plaster

A Shining Example for Walls: Luxe Lacquer & Polished Plaster

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Eleanor Büsing
Dec 20, 2015

In a time of modern, matte finishes for everything from kitchen cabinets to cars, I'm ready for a little shine, aren't you? Put it down to the holidays, but I'm loving a luxe, gleaming finish on walls. Here are two very different finishes which achieve a similar look: lacquer and polished plaster.

Luminous Lacquer

In the context of walls, lacquer usually refers to lacquer paint, an extremely hard pigment sprayed in thin coats and polished on completion. The high-gloss look can run the gamut from classic to contemporary, with neutrals and bold colors working equally well.

  1. I especially love richly colored lacquer; this deep blue dining room from Houzz via Little Green Notebook is a great example.
  2. In a cool grey, lacquer walls are surprisingly modern—and a great backdrop for art, as in this landing by D2 Interieurs via Wayfair.
  3. Light reflection is always welcome in a small space, such as this Daun Curry-designed hallway found via Marcus Design.
  4. This beautiful blue room—originally published in Veranda and discovered via Ruth Burts—perfectly shows off the high-gloss finish.
  5. Lacquer works best on new, perfectly smooth walls, like in this dark and dramatic living room from Architectural Digest.

Perfectly Polished Plaster

Also called Venetian plaster, polished plaster is literally that: plaster built up layer by layer, with lots of hand-buffing in between coats. This is craftsmanship at its finest; applied in situ by artisans, pigment or designs can be added, and the finish can be anything from a dull sheen to a full-on gloss. Just say when.

  1. Polished plaster has a much more natural, handmade finish than lacquer, as seen in this luxe black shower room from BO BEDRE via Méchant Design.
  2. As in this project from The Studio at Harrods in London, the subtle sheen of polished plaster really brings smaller spaces, like hallways, to life.
  3. A lovely, glowing wall from a Raji Radhakrishnan-designed space was featured on Habitually Chic.
  4. The polished plaster finish generally has a traditional, luxe vibe, like in this beautiful entry from LivingEtc on housetohome.
  5. But it can also be modern—used on just a chimney breast in this space from sköna hem via Decoholic, it's simple and chic.
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