Design:

Is Plaster the New Marble?

Nicole Franzen
Nicole Franzen

There is something so alluring about the tactile quality of plaster. It has the power to transform a smooth, sterile surface into a warm, touchable one at the flick of a brush (and a trowel!). Of course, while this buzzed-about material is having a moment right now, plastering is certainly nothing new. It’s actually one of the most ancient building techniques.

Is Plaster the New Marble?
Is Plaster the New Marble?

In fact, some of the earliest plastering (both ingredients and technique) is comparable to the quality we use now. Plasterwork on the Egyptian pyramids dating back 4000 years is still hard and durable today, and lime stucco plaster was also used on temples in very early Greek architecture (earlier than the 5th century BCE)—a true testament to the durability and timeless nature of this humble material. 

Now, plaster continues to be used as a medium of artistic expression from texturizing wall surfaces to ornamental moldings for ceilings and cornices, and even plaster décor, furniture, and artwork. 

Is Plaster the New Marble?
Is Plaster the New Marble?

It’s this very timeworn material that revitalized Athena’s Amagansett home, injecting a contemporary mood into the traditional mid-century architecture. Walls that were once crisp white were made warmer and creamier after being covered in plaster by Kamp Studios who later used artistic license to create an artisanal fluted plaster design on the kitchen island (a nod to the similar fluting design that joins the closet to the master bathroom in Athena’s Brooklyn townhouse). It is at once both tonal and textural, elevated yet completely approachable, timeless and current. 

Since then, we’ve seen a rise in plaster enthusiasts lathering their walls in the lime or gypsum (a soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate) material or styling their spaces with decorative objects that have a plaster finish to achieve that raw and real aesthetic. 

So, if you love a clash of materials and periods—and the tension and friction that brings—then get your DIY on and slather your walls in plaster, too (or hire the experts!) and seek out handmade plaster décor, lighting, and artwork in the age-old material to bring it home. 

Shop Our Favorite Plaster Pieces

The Vence Sconce is one of two limited-edition pieces designed by Athena Calderone and Simone Bodmer-Turner. Inspired by shells often found in old European churches, the piece is a decorative ode to the holy water basins at Chapelle du Rosarie —a small church in the hillside north of Nice that was the iconic artist Henri Matisse’s final project for his nurse, caretaker, and muse Sister Jacques-Marie.

CB2 Bisque Plaster Side Table

Bring a unique sculptural touch to your space with this brutalist-inspired side table.

CB2 Verner 3-Tiered Pendant Light

This monochromatic white cast metal pendant is finished with an unexpected plaster-like texture to light up any room.

CB2 Vinia Multitaper Holder

Light up your dining table with this touchable texture.

Bring added depth and warmth to your floral or branch arrangements with this plaster vase set.

CB2 Suva White Rough Cast Mirror

This rough hewn aluminum mirror has been given a sanded texture that feels almost plaster-like and we're into it.

Crate & Barrel Willy White Plaster Pedestal Side Table

Of course, Leanne Ford would make plaster cool. This bold conical pedestal with a simple round top has an earthy feel and rustic look to bring touchable texture home.

Kimberly George Original Abstract Wall Art

If you can't commit to plaster walls or décor then opt for texture via wall art.

Textured Wall Art Canvas

The beauty of plaster is how moldable it is. This artwork showcases that softness while being tough to the touch.

Maria Angela Forioso Textured Framed Plaster Wall Art

Sometimes all you need is a slice of tactility in a room to level up the warmth and contrast.

This is a great little stool or side table for your bedside or next to the couch.

Unique Postmodern Plaster Pedestal

We love this pre-2000s vintage plaster pedestal with its rugged tessellated stone exterior—another trend we've been seeing more of in design lately.

Oken House Studios The Boogie Minimalist Textured Plaster Decorative Stool

Custom made by hand in California, this raw organic stool is a unique beauty.

Oken House Studios The Flynn Chunky Plaster Side Tables

Keep it simple with a plaster design that brings visual diversity in material and scale.

Pendant Light From Plaster

If you rent or don't have a space for a fluted wall feature then opt for a similar design in this stylish pendant light.

GIACOMO Pendant Light Chandelier Metal Plastering Brutallist Dome

The Brutalist period is also having a moment and with lighting designs like this who wouldn't want to bring it home.

GHOST Resin Plaster Dome Wall Light

There is nothing quite like a touch of the hand to bring instant warmth and charm to any interior.

Oken House Studios The Finn Thick Plaster White Decorative Bowl

Elevate your tablescape or counter with this beautiful plaster bowl.

Kathy Kuo Home 21-Inch Coastal Beach White Clam Shell Bowl

Give your bookshelf a makeover with this stunning clam shell design and bring in the coastal vibes even if you don't live near the sea.

Studio A Home Modernist Urn Sculpture

A simple urn sculpture can break up the monotony of surface types and shapes in your space.

ATELIER VENTIDUE Decorative Sculpture Footed Bowl

Rough and organic, this handmade piece will have everyone talking.

ATELIER VENTIDUE Abstract Plaster Vase

You can really see the plaster texture and variation in this piece.

Investment Plaster Décor We Love

Crosland & Emmons Drift Pendant

This unique porcelain pendant light with its plaster-like finish pays homage to the human touch. This sculptural piece is guaranteed to make your home sing.

Crosland & Emmons Uppereast Lamp 04

Each light, handmade by the artist, is an original—no two lights will ever be the same.

Vintage Giacometti Inspired Plaster Table Lamp

Lighting is so transformative, but especially when it has a beautiful sculptural base like this one.

Bespoke Gaston Plaster Sconces

These delightful sconces are a conversation starter.

Bespoke Double-Arm Plaster Sconces

Rough and raw with uneven edges and bumps to boot, that's nothing we don't love about these plaster sconces.

Serge Roche Plaster Shell Wall Sconce XXL 1930 Handmade in Paris

Can we have a round of applause for this beautiful French plaster wall sconce? Crafted in the style of legendary designer, Serge Roche this giant shell can be used as a wall lamp or a decorative object.

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