On-trend interior finishes

Dale Telling, Commercial Manager at Fassa Bortolo UK, looks at the latest trends in interior finishes and why some of the most traditional surface coverings are making a comeback.


Interior finishes have a number of essential roles to play in any design project. Whether it’s durability or design aesthetics, the finish applied to surfaces is an important factor to build into the project from the start. The finish is often dictated by the style of property and the condition of the substrate. Heritage sites, for example, may have issues with worn walls or uneven surfaces and will require a different internal finish to retain the period features of the property, while new-build sites may have more opportunity to experiment with different materials and visual effects. Cost and durability are also key determiners, with some projects specifying surface solutions that fall within specific budget parameters or finishes that can withstand heavy use or work well in damp environments.

Surfaces with character

After the practicalities have been addressed, it’s then when the focus turns to the design aesthetics. Smooth and sleek, or raw and textured, the options are endless when it comes to creating a stunning surface covering that echoes the overall style of your project. Current trends have seen natural materials reign supreme with surfaces offering a tactile quality and structured three-dimensional effects. Timber, exposed concrete, polished concrete, natural stone, marbles and metallic are all strong contenders when it comes to interior finishes bringing the trend for natural materials to life with a huge range of renders, plasters, tiles and cladding now available.

An age-old surface covering made for the 21st century

Polished plaster is making a comeback when it comes to surface solutions, allowing designers and architects to personalise interior spaces, bringing a whole new dimension to commercial and high-end residential projects. These days, plaster tends to be viewed as a practical substrate that delivers a professional, smooth finish ready for paint effects, wallpaper and tiles to be applied. Still, we’re seeing a real movement towards decorative plaster now being used more widely. A surface covering found in many historical buildings, plasterwork has been widely used across Europe to transform interiors; creating stunning features that are regarded as works of art.

A surface covering for all projects

Ideal for use in boutique properties, hotels, wellness facilities and upmarket commercial spaces, decorative plasters deliver a stylish, sophisticated aesthetic and a whole host of different looks. Time-worn finishes and industrial-style concrete effects sit alongside smooth stone effects with a polished appearance. The colour options are vast from neutral shades and delicate pastels through to bold, jewel tones, with mesmerising shimmers, elegant metallic finishes and light-reflecting marbles also on offer. Whether the end design scheme is grand and impactful or understated and elegant, decorative plasters cast light and shadow to create walls that change their appearance with the light for a feeling of movement.

Current trends in decorative plaster

The options are endless, with a style of plaster to suit all projects. Popular styles currently include stucco finishes, which offer high-shine, reflective surfaces, creating a dynamic, visually impactful space. This style is often referred to as Venetian plastering, which is a traditional plaster often mistaken for opulent polished marble, perfectly suited to period buildings and historical sites.

Natural effects are also in demand with scratch-effect plasters used to create uniform, structured lines, or rough textures similar to cement for a raw, industrial look. Stone effects remain very popular, bringing a feeling of the outside in. The finish is neither smooth nor rough, instead gently textured, making it well-suited to a whole range of properties.

Neutral colours are perennially popular with warm brown, beige and cool greys very much on-trend still within interior design. The spectrum of colours on offer is far and wide, with vivid jewel shades also available. Think deep blue, vivid yellow and rich terracotta for a stunning wall covering with a difference.

Why choose a decorative plaster?

Hard-wearing, easy to apply to irregular surfaces and available in such a wide variety of colours and textures, it’s clear to see why decorative plaster has once again become the surface covering of choice for the modern-day architect and designer.

Decorative plasters are all about design and practicality. Well-suited to irregular surfaces, they are designed to add strength to walls, while providing excellent insulation and sound-proofing properties. One of the main advantages of decorative plasters is the ease of maintenance. Unlike some surface coverings which can be hard to clean, polished plasters are low-maintenance and hard-wearing, keeping their good looks for a long time – if properly cared for. Most minor blemishes can be wiped clean with a damp cloth without smearing or tainting the colour. Although costlier than paint, the ease of upkeep makes it the perfect choice for public spaces, rentals or commercial projects.

The chosen application tool depends upon the desired finish, but decorative plasters are most commonly applied using a round edge trowel for easy workability. There is also the option of microfibre gloves, square paint pads or various brushes to create alternative textures and visual effects.

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