Why Were Popcorn Walls so Popular in Spain?

In Spain, popcorn walls were big in the 60s. Though there are a lot of critics, there are also a lot of people who regret removing them. Today, we'll tell you all about popcorn ceilings and their current standings.
Why Were Popcorn Walls so Popular in Spain?

Last update: 18 January, 2019

In Spain, popcorn walls became widely used as a result of the Stabilization Plan under Franco’s dictatorship. During that time, many people moved from rural areas to the city.

The exodus lead to a real-estate boom. In response, beehive-like working-class neighborhoods were erected. It was in these very homes where popcorn walls first appeared, and they later spread to the other homes all across the country.

These days, popcorn walls are nothing more than a little nostalgia, reminding many of their grandparent’s homes.

As you’ll read below, despite the fact that these walls were widely used only to be removed later on, today, they’re one of the most requested jobs for home reforms.

In today’s post, we’ll fill you in about popcorn walls, why they were popular and their current situation.

What are popcorn walls?

Although we know them as a “popcorn“, “orange peel” or “cottage cheese” finish, other languages refer to them as “drops” or “little drops”, which describes the technique used to finish them.

stucco 1

The popcorn effect is more of a decorative, painted effect. It consists of applying a thicker paint to walls: tempera paint. Little droplets form in the paint because of its thicker consistency.

A wall can show more or less texture depending on how thick paint is. The end result is a completely bumpy wall.

How did stucco become a trend?

Earlier in our post, we talked about the origins of popcorn walls in Spain, which saw a rural population moving towards the cities in the 60s.

The homes in working-class neighborhoods were the most common type of home to feature this technique.

The reason behind this lies in the fact that it was the best way to hide the imperfections of these residential buildings. It was also a cheap and easy-to-use resource.

Additionally, after applying the tempera paint and creating a bumpy wall that hid imperfections, people could apply any color right on top of it. The extra layer of color meant walls could look perfect, or even modern at the time.

Stucco 2

In Spain, popcorn walls were popular in the 60s and stuck around until 2000, which is when the trend started to drop off. People began to turn away from the textured walls because they linked them with negative connotations.

Popcorn walls then become seen as a mediocre way to fix imperfections or construction errors.

These days…

Popcorn walls were common for many years until their popularity declined in 2000.

However, in Spain, many houses from that time still exist today and there are still homes that use this technique on their walls.

But more and more people look for homes without popcorn walls. People reject them not only because they consider them mediocre, but because they see them as incredibly outdated as well.

In light of this, real-estate agencies and home-owners that want to sell a home state if there are popcorn walls or not.

popcorn walls

Though many people do end up deciding to buy homes with these kinds of walls, they often plan on removing them. In fact, one of the most currently requested home projects is removing the popcorn finish from walls.

But not everyone thinks that way. Recently, some people have been defending them, trying to bring them back.

They claim that these walls aren’t actually a mediocre job, but rather, a memory of the past. Who knows? Maybe the passion for vintage can bring popcorn walls back to Spanish homes.


Just because popcorn walls were common in the 60s doesn’t mean that they can’t come back today. For all of those romantics and vintage-lovers, these walls are a way to treasure the past.

Contrary to what you might believe, a lot of interior designers actually appreciate the technique as a way to add texture to walls.

However, a big downside is that the bumpy walls make it impossible to use vinyl decals, which are really popular these days.

Aside from that, bumpy walls create areas of light and shadow, making walls look rather uneven.

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