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How to Care for Painted Walls

Document Them 

Take photographs of them as you have found them. Maintaining an accurate record of the original wall in ‘as found’ condition is for the historical record and for the future care of the walls. 

Register your walls with the Center for Painted Wall Preservation (CPWP). We are developing a publicly accessible digital archive of nearly 500 early American paint-decorated walls. Register yours with us to add it to the growing body of knowledge on this treasured art form.       


Learn About Them 

Paint-decorated plaster walls are beautiful details in historic homes— but they are also very vulnerable. You can care for them by learning more about their historical significance, their materials, the processes used for making and maintaining them. It is also helpful to investigate the early history of the house— painted walls were created in and for a specific environment. Understanding more about who lived in the house with your walls can help you fall deeper in love with their history. 

Seeing other painted walls is another excellent way to get to know your walls better. If you have stenciled walls, you can see similar patterns and motifs used on other walls. If you have muraled walls, you may be able to find work by known artists that have a similar style. Check out some of the walls that are on public view or join us for one of our events.



Hire Professionals 

Trained and qualified professionals can help you treat your walls properly. Whether it is to reinforce structural weaknesses or clean up the surface of your painted decorations, hiring a professional helps to ensure the value of your walls is not diminished in the process. 


Support Us 

The CPWP provides advice on care and structural issues; connections to a trusted network of conservation, preservation, and paint analysis technicians; documentation of painted walls; attribution assistance; extrication support; presentations on painted walls; and an archive of case studies and images. 

We have an all-volunteer board of leading painted wall experts, architectural historians, and decorative arts professionals. The experts and others help homeowners and organizations document and care for their painted walls. 

Help us continue our important work by donating today!

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