The Best Paint Finish for Your Plaster Walls: An Easy Guide

Choosing the right paint finish for the job is important when painting your home. Different finishes can give your walls different looks and textures. 

This blog post will look at the best paint options for plaster walls. Including the options available, discuss the pros and cons of each paint finish, and share some tips on choosing the perfect finish.

What are Plaster Walls?

You may have noticed some homes in your neighborhood with beautiful, textured walls and wondered what they were made of. That, my friend, is most likely plaster walls!

Plaster walls date back to ancient times and have been used in homes worldwide. This traditional wall finishing technique involves applying a thin layer of plaster to wood or metal lath strips that are nailed or screwed to the studs in a wall. 

It’s made from various ingredients, but lime, sand, water, and gypsum are the most common. Once the plaster has dried, it can be sanded, primed, and painted to create a smooth, elegant finish.

Plaster walls are prized for their durability and soundproofing properties. Plaster is also an excellent choice for homes with high humidity, as it won’t absorb moisture like drywall. If you’re considering plaster walls for your home, here are a few things to keep in mind.

The Pros and Cons of Plaster Walls


  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Soundproofing properties
  • Resistant to humidity 
  • It can be repaired relatively easily


  • More expensive than drywall
  • Requires specialized skills and experience to install correctly
  • Heavier than drywall, so it may require additional support during installation

Can You Paint Plaster Walls?

Many older homes have plaster walls, which can be challenging to know how to deal with when it comes to painting and other home improvement projects. So the answer is yes if you’re wondering whether you can paint plaster walls! But before you start painting, here are a few things you should be aware of.

How to Prepare Plaster Walls for Painting

The first step is proper preparation:

  1. Clean the walls to remove any accumulated dirt or dust.
  2. Use a patching compound to fill in any cracks or holes. Once the patching compound has dried, sand the area until it is smooth.
  3. Apply a primer designed for use on plaster walls before painting.

Best Paint Finishes for Plaster Walls

Before you break out the roller and paint tray, it’s important to take the time to select the right finish for your space. 

This is especially true if you have plaster walls, as different finishes can accentuate or downplay the texture of the plaster. To help you navigate this decision, we’ve put together an easy guide to the best paint finishes for plaster walls and why you might consider one over the other.


Flat paint is the most popular choice for plaster walls because it offers a clean, smooth look. It also doesn’t show imperfections much, and when the light hits it, it absorbs the color rather than bounces off it. But, flat paint can be more difficult to touch up than other finishes, so keep that in mind if you consider this option.


Matte paint is similar to flat paint in that it has a low level of sheen and won’t show imperfections as much. However, it is slightly more durable than flat paint and easier to touch. So matte is a good option if you’re looking for a finish that offers a smooth, clean look but with a little more durability.


Eggshell paint has a soft, velvety finish between flat and satin. It also has a relatively low level of washability, making it a good choice for areas that don’t see a lot of traffic. However, it is worth noting that eggshell is more prone to scratches and stains than other finishes. 


Satin paint has a smooth, subtle sheen that reflects light in an elegant and understated way. In addition, it is significantly more durable than eggshell. As a result, it can withstand heavy traffic without showing signs of wear and tear. If you’re looking for a sophisticated finish that can stand up to everyday life, satin is a great option. 


Semi-gloss paint has a high level of shine that reflects the light brightly. This makes it an excellent choice for accent walls or other surfaces you want to draw attention to. 

However, while semi-gloss can help highlight plaster walls’ beauty, it can also highlight any imperfections in the surface. For this reason, it’s important to ensure your plaster wall is in good condition before choosing semi-gloss paint. 

Our Recommendation

Ultimately, the paint finish you choose will come down to personal preference and intended use based on the room it is applied to. 

The best paint finish for plaster walls we recommend is flat because, from a design perspective, it looks the best and showcases the plaster walls’ beauty. Although it is more difficult to clean, we recommend only using this option in a light-traffic area. Otherwise, eggshell is a nice compromise for heavier traffic areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What finish paint hides imperfections best?

A: Matte or flat paint can help to hide imperfections in your plaster walls better than other finishes.

Q: What is the most durable paint finish for plaster walls?

A: Satin paint is the most durable finish for plaster walls. It can withstand heavy traffic without showing signs of wear and tear.

Q: What paint finish reflects light the most?

A: Semi-gloss paint has the highest level of shine and will reflect the light brightly.

Final Thoughts

There are a few things to consider when choosing the best paint finish for plaster walls:

  1. Think about the overall look you’re trying to achieve. Do you want a clean, smooth look or something with more personality?
  2. Consider how durable you need the finish to be.
  3. You’ll want a finish that can withstand heavy traffic if you have kids or pets.

Finally, think about how much light you want the paint to reflect. If you’re going to draw attention to an accent wall or other feature, choose a semi-gloss paint. Otherwise, matte or flat paint will help to hide imperfections better. Whichever finish you select, ensure your plaster wall is in good condition before painting. 

Did you find this post helpful? What paint finish did you end up going with? Leave a comment and let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

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