Trending: Rough Textured Walls

By Kate Riley October 13, 2020

Troweled plaster finishes and rough wall textures are making a comeback. They can be left in their raw state or painted to feature subtle differences in hue. I love layered plaster walls because they feel like you’re stepping into the vestibule of an art gallery, or ducking into a neighborhood cafe in Europe. There are different types of plaster one can work with: clay, lime, and gypsum. For a a more detailed explanation on the differences, see this article at Remodelista.

Many of us are old enough to recall the faux Tuscan wall craze from the 1990s. I think we’ve created enough distance from that era and can again declare rough textured interior walls are actually very cool, when done right. Anything that mimics the imperfection of plaster walls that have aged over time, whether real or faux, can look good in the proper space. It’s really about creating a mood: urban loft, café chic, or old world ambiance.

With this treatment, the wall itself becomes the art. There isn’t much need to cover it with anything more than light fixtures, small shelves, or petite paintings. Below are a few different looks to inspire, perhaps one of your spaces is calling out for a rough textured wall like these. You can choose a wall mural to mimic the look, or actually alter the surface of the wall, it’s up to you.


venetian plaster wall mural



cracked clay wall

diy plaster wall by along for it all

plaster look with chalk paint

venetian plaster wall

metallic stucco

earthtone brushstrokes – ikea catalogue


montréal cafe via chez nunez


gradient brushstoke wall

 olive green wall


19th century new york home


paris restaurant via vogue

venetian plaster mural


lime wash wall


Tanya Vacarda – weathered texture on canvas with plaster. 


blush terra cotta wall mural

neutral plaster –  image source


mineral blue textured wall



two tone gypsum plaster via remodelista


pink plaster kitchen wall


modernist plaster wall


plaster bedroom wall

source unknown

This Old House has a technique for mimicking the look of rough plaster by using paint and cardboard. I’d be inclined to mix in some flour to get a more matte raised texture look like I did with these earthenware look vases. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes!


  1. I don’t know – most of those images seem very cold to me. But then, I’m not a minimalist! Funny though – almost all of my friends had venetian plaster in the 90’s – but it seemed a warmer feel.

  2. As someone who sponge painted everything at one time, I have to say “no thanks.” Ugh. I hope this doesn’t catch on!

    • Haha!!! I literally just told my husband that this is the 2020 version of sponge painting! I do love the stucco/plaster look but some remind me of the blue sponge painted kitchen I had when I first got married 🙈!

  3. Our house had about 80% of the walls covered with texture when we bought it. We quickly learned that with 2 cats and 1 dog, we had to vacuum the fur and dust bunnies off the walls with the brush attachment. Also, the texture would get easily damaged if you tried to hang a picture (crack spread) or if you just hit the wall too hard with your body, furniture, box you might be carrying, etc. We ended up paying a painting company to sand all the texture off the walls and repaint. For someone who normally paints the inside of the house myself, this was some of the best money I have ever spent!

  4. My friend and I had a conversation yesterday about the clothing styles from the 80’s/90’s making a comeback. I’m horrified by it, she’s a little younger than me and isn’t so offended by it. We concluded that once you’ve lived through a fashion fad once, you really don’t want to see it again – for the most part. The 80’s/90’s wall treatments I recall were mostly sponge painting – which should NEVER rear its ugly head again!! – but the ones you’ve featured here are much more appealing than what I remember! LOL!!

  5. Back in style just like clothing. I had a faux painting business years ago, did alot of these kinds of walls. Not surprised that its back. Labor intensive but love the look.

  6. These textured walls are beautiful, they feel more modern than the iterations of the 80s-90s. My creative juices are flowing, thanks for the inspo.

  7. Love the look – but waaaaay too soon for this gal.

    Only way I’d do it is if I had serious drywall damage removing wallpaper – but even then I’d try to avoid.

    Great images!

  8. Not my style at all. Some looked like a war torn area. Some of the paint techniques were interesting. Even tho it’s not my style I’m grateful for something different from shiplap!

  9. Amen to all comments! Ugh! That stuff is murder to clean. Makes my skin crawl to think of touching it.

  10. I certainly like some of these looks more than others, but I think they all have great potential. I agree with a previous commenter, some do look a bit “cold”. I think a textured wall could make a fantastic accent wall in the fright space.

  11. I really like the lime painted walls which have a soft old looking variation without too much texture. If you have a lot of texture and your taste changes, you gotta deal with that texture. I think of today’s trend as more Tadelakt than Tuscan – and it goes great with all the Moroccan rugs people are buying!

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