Staring at the Walls – natural plaster & happiness


Natural plaster can’t fix the big problems in the world today but it can help you create a calm, beautiful sanctuary in your home.

Many of us have found ourselves spending more time at home recently and probably more time thinking about what it is to be healthy, both physically and emotionally. With so many uncertainties, many people are experiencing high levels of stress and are looking for ways to stay centered. 

If you’ve found yourself at home, staring at the walls, you may have started to think more about what ‘home’ is, what you want your home to be. What would it take to create more beauty and a sense of calm in your home? What would make it feel more like a sanctuary that reflects your values and aesthetics? 

This is what natural plasters can do. Natural plasters create a rich, subtle background. A natural plaster is one made with sand, a binder of clay or lime, mineral pigments, and no synthetic additives. Whether rustic and earthy or fine and polished, clay and lime plasters add deep visual interest and a sense of solidity to a space. 

Have you ever found yourself inexplicably attracted to a photo of a room without being able to put your finger on what makes it so lovely? It might be the plaster. Look closely at the walls. Do they seem to have varying tones, depth of color, subtle texture? Then it’s probably plaster, the unsung hero of interior decor. Whether it’s bold texture or subtle color variation, nothing creates as much depth of interest on a wall as plaster.

Natural plasters beg to be touched and they feel like stone, whether it is polished marble or rough-hewn sandstone. They attract the eye and can create a calm canvas on which to meditate or an active work of art that inspires. Facets in the sand reflect the light, the depth of the surface creates tonal differences, and inclusions –such as black sand or mica– lend minute detail.

And there are additional benefits beyond beauty. Natural plasters contribute to better indoor air quality. They do not contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and will not off-gas when applied, so you are not building toxins into your home. Clay plaster has the miraculous ability to safely store extra humidity and then release it when the air is drier. This not only makes you feel more comfortable but helps to stop condensation that leads to mold growth. Clay plaster is softer than painted drywall, causing sound to bounce and echo less. Lime plaster has a very high pH, making it naturally antiseptic and anti-fungal. Both plasters have thermal mass which helps you hold on to your heat in the winter or cool in the summer.

Natural plasters are also better for the planet. Clay plasters require very little processing and have incredibly low embodied carbon. Lime plasters have lower embodied carbon than cement-based stuccos. Both types create less pollution than their synthetic counterparts.

No, natural plaster will not stop a global pandemic, fix racial inequality, or restore the economy. But it is very beautiful, it is good for your health, it is not bad for the planet, and it may help you find some precious sanctuary in these difficult times.

If you are interested in learning more, check out our new website dedicated to natural plasters: