The plaster cracks and chips and once you patch them it is almost impossible to get a nice paintable surface again, short of replacing the plaster with Sheetrock.
Here is a solution that is cheap, easy and fun to do!
We took a bucket of joint compound(bought at our local hardware store for around $10.00). First, thin the compound out with water to the consistency of pudding. Next, roll it on your walls like paint(you will want to patch any holes or cracks you have first, but they don't need to be perfect). You can pick different napes on the rollers to get the desired texture you are looking for. It's really that simple, and once it dries you can then cover it with your favorite color of paint.
We have done this in several of our rooms and love the way it looks! This treatment would be great in new houses too, giving those flat walls a little more pizazz!
Stop over to Kimba's DYI party and check out some other great ideas!
The Junk Mammas