A Specialist Look at Types of Decorative Plaster

bespoke decorative plaster moulds

Here at Artisan Plastercraft, we are fully prepared to provide specialist information on our work and the manufactured products we will create for our customers. This allows any property owner or manager the information they need, in order to make an informed decision about the project they are planning for their building. To assist them in the process, we have put together this guide on types of decorative plaster, with particular focus on the most common usage of the term in relation to our services.

Read on to learn more about what you should expect to discuss when speaking to a professional about the different types of decorative plaster, or contact our offices today if you have already decided what you need for your own work project.

What is Decorative Plaster?

Decorative plaster, which may also be called “plasterwork” or “carved plaster”, is a technique in which a plaster building material will be used to sculpt ornamental elements and features into exterior or interior walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. Almost any kind of design is possible for master craftsmen, though decoration for plaster walls and plaster ceilings is most common.

The practice of applying decorative plaster to ceilings and walls dates back to the days of the Roman Empire, though its popularity dwindled for a millennia after this and only experienced a revival in the 13th and 14th centuries.

Decorative plaster has little structural effect beyond ornamental uses. Its primary purpose is to beautify the space it is applied to, and to bring a sense of grandeur or majesty to the room you are building or attempting to restore. It is beneficial to apply these features in the most durable types of decorative plaster, as their longevity guarantees an exquisite finish on walls and ceilings for many years to come.

Types of Decorative Plaster

Decorative plaster moulding and tools

There are many different types of decorative plaster finishes and techniques, each of which may be utilised in a number of ways to bring any property to the heights of its potential and appeal. Some of these, such as sgraffito or roughcast (also commonly called pebbledash), have been made the focal points and ornamental features of plaster walls and ceilings for many centuries.

You may also come across modern techniques which have only been developed in the last one hundred years with the advent of more advanced technology and a greater selection of materials. These include implementing metallic pigments or textured applications which offer a greater dramatic flair.

Decorative plaster is also frequently used as an umbrella term for one particular use of the technique: traditional plaster mouldings. These serve as aesthetically pleasing room decorations, but may also act as covering features for the edges of surfaces, such as the point where plaster ceilings meet walls.

Plaster Decorations and Mouldings for Properties

As part of our service, we are able to offer a variety of plaster decorations and mouldings for properties, including bespoke pieces which we have been commissioned to make. These pieces may be manufactured to revitalise any older property which is in the process of being returned to its golden age, or to compliment the pieces which have been created to complete a newer build or renovation.

Below, we have provided a short guide to some of our most popular decorative plaster mouldings for walls and ceilings:

Arches and Archways

These are load-bearing features, most often found in open spaces such as hallways and above doors. An archway serves to provide an unobstructed view of an interior space, while keeping functionality intact.


Traditionally, this is the lintel or beam which rests on the capital of columns. However, as a modern term it has also come to mean all sides of a frame with mouldings around a door or window.


Also called “capitols” or “chapiters”, these features form the topmost point of a column. Their function is to mediate between the column itself and the load which is bearing down upon it by broadening the area of the column’s supporting surface.

Ceiling Roses

These traditionally round features are designed to enhance the appeal of plain plaster ceilings and light fittings. They may be manufactured in a variety of period and decorative styles, from floral and ornate Georgian pieces to more minimalist Art Deco offerings.


Similar to coving, this moulding type fits in the space between plaster walls and ceilings. Cornices may be distinguished from coving by the fact that they are usually more ornate and complex in their design.


Like cornices, coving is installed in the space where plaster walls and ceilings are built to meet. However, coving is generally uniform in profile and forms a “C” shape with its design. It may also be smaller than cornices, and may not drop down the wall as far.

Our Material Selection for Decorative Pieces

Decorative plaster mouldings may be manufactured from a wide range of material types, including stucco, natural stone plaster, and clay plaster. However, as a professional service with specific knowledge and skill in the production of interior and exterior decorative pieces, we will most often carry out our work using fibrous plaster or jesmonite and glass-reinforced concrete (GRC).

To ensure precision accuracy in the mouldings that we create, we may use computer-aided design (CAD). This allows us to manufacture bespoke pieces to the exact requirements and specifications requested by a property owner or manager.

For a Quote on Fine Plaster Decoration

If you are in need of a reliable, specialist firm with years of experience in the manufacture, application, and installation of fine plaster and ornamental mouldings, please do not hesitate to contact us on the phone or send us a message here on this website.

We are more than confident that we will be able to apply the finishes your property requires to reach the zenith of its aesthetic appeal, as we have done for some of the most famous and prestigious buildings and landmarks found across the UK. Every product we make and every coat we apply will have been prepared in our very own workshops, and made to your requested specifications with the precision and accuracy that such delicate work is owed.

Our members of staff will be fully prepared to discuss everything you need for your own planned project, including offering a free quote for the work that will be carried out. Whether your plans require both interior and exterior render, in order to achieve the finishing touches set out for a new build, or even if your older property is in need of restorative work to save its coving and ceiling roses from the ravages of time and neglect, we are more than certain that we will be able to assist.


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We understand that choosing the right company for your project is important for project success, budget efficiency and your reputation.  We manufacture and install superior custom plaster mouldings, we re-create period plaster features as well as offering traditional lime plastering & lath and plaster.