Here’s Why Renters Might Want to Reconsider One of the Most Popular Design Trends Right Now

published May 3, 2022
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Bedroom with a Venetian plaster treatment on the gray walls

Venetian plaster adds gorgeous, textured detailing to any wall, making for an artful, sophisticated backdrop. “It’s a beautiful, luxury material and can elevate and enhance even the smallest of spaces,” designer Georgia Zikas says. “The texture is like butter!” The tactile wall treatment dates back to the 15th century, but is having something of a moment in interiors right now (Vogue says it’s “hotter than ever”). However, there is a downside to this luxe wall treatment: It’s a bear to get rid of.

“Venetian plaster comes in the form of putty and is made from fired limestone and marble dust,” explains Chuck Khiel, senior vice president of Fred Home Improvement. “This powder is typically mixed with water then troweled onto the wall surface.” Once dry, it’s quite a challenge to remove — making it a less than ideal option for those who are renting or enjoy redecorating their spaces frequently. As Khiel notes, if you want to change the wall surface away from Venetian plaster, this surface can be painted, but it needs to sealed with a primer first, then painted. But the real challenge is that the plaster surface will not be smooth.

“If you want a smooth surface, the Venetian plaster can be primed then skimmed over completely, but his would involve sanding, priming and painting the entire surface,” he notes. Another method of creating a smooth surface would be to laminate over the wall with a layer of drywall.

Credit: Andrii Anna Photographers/Shutterstock

If you want to remove a Venetian plaster wall entirely, you’re in for even more of a challenge. “Removing the Venetian plaster is possible, but it depends on what’s under it as to how difficult this will be,” Khiel says. “If this is done over traditional plaster, one might be able to scrape it loose — difficult to do, but possible. If it is installed over drywall, it might be easier to remove the drywall and install new drywall. If it is installed directly over CMU block or masonry, scraping and sanding would be needed to remove it.” All of these make a mess and be difficult to do.

Credit: Guillem Lopez Borras

Our suggestion? Simply opt for a Venetian plaster style wall covering or a limewash paint instead. You can purchase these at hardware and paint stores to achieve the luxe plaster look in just a few hours — and you won’t have to worry about an ultra complex removal process. It’s a win-win.