Nurikabe (塗り壁) – a wall that is painted or stuccoed (more often the latter here in Japan), as opposed to wallpapered or veneered, etc. “Nuri” means to paint with something, and “kabe” means wall. Nurikabe refers to painted walls (whether with paint or a stucco-like substance) specifically, but by changing the suffix to “tenjo” (nuritenjo), it is used for ceilings as well.

Exterior Stucco Wall

Interior Nurikabe

This particular finish-style can be applied to both interior and exterior surfaces, and is a stylish option that is not as common as wallpaper mainly due to cost. As far as patterns go, there are common patterns associated with certain styles, but your imagination is really the only barrier.

It’s important to seal not only all exterior applications, but walls and ceilings that are close to the kitchen, sinks, and other areas that may get splashback. Sealed stucco can be scrubbed clean, while unsealed stucco will absorb the dirt making a paint-over the only option.


Rustic Nurikabe

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