A decorative treatment may be given to smooth plaster walls by paneling. These panels may be made of wood or of plaster molding. Common picture molding often is used, and provides an inexpensive and effective treatment. The difficulty, however, in the laying-out of plaster walls into panels by the use of these moldings is in obtaining proper balance and proportion; for the room should be properly divided with consideration for doors and windows. For good results in paneling the plaster should be smooth. If it is not, a canvas usually is applied in order to hide cracks and other defects. This canvas is then sized. Generally, it is not considered advisable to panel a wall which has a number of openings as paneling in such a case would give the appearance of over-ornamentation. Consideration also should be given to each panel as a unit in itself, as well as its relation in size to other panels. Painting is usually advisable for a wall which has been paneled, and in accordance with other principles of decoration, the moldings and woodwork should be of the same tone, particularly in small rooms. Paneling is inexpensive and is commonly used in inexpensive houses, as it provides a satisfactory decorative wall treatment. The use of canvas is also effective in reconditioning as it hides shabby and worn plaster. If the plaster is too worn, it may be covered with plaster board and then paneled.
Antiquing which has been commonly used has not proved highly satisfactory. The results often are "dirty looking," and the walls do not have the desirable fresh and clean appearance. Antiquing is accomplished both with flat paint and with water color. A common method is to apply a second coat of transparent color over a first coat of flat paint, after the former has become dry. The second coat is then wiped off while still wet. The result is a two-toned effect. Another finish for plaster is a treatment which results in the appearance of natural wood.