What’s old is new again!  Limewash has been making an appearance over the past few years and we’re loving it.  Whenever this all natural wall finish is used, it immediately adds more depth, texture and richness to any room in the home. Plus it’s environmentally friendly!  This week we’re talking all about how to transform any room with Limewash Paint.  We explore the health benefits, the best areas to use it, and how to make any style of home feel timeless.

Years ago, plaster was associated with a more historic or maximalist style.  But today we’re seeing limewash paired with more clean, minimalist interiors which makes it both soft and refreshing. 

Limewash Paint

Image via Portola Paint & Stephen Kenn

WHAT IT LIMEWASH?

Plaster and Limewash have been around for centuries, thanks to the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Basically, if you’re familiar with Venetian Plaster, you have the right idea.

Limewash is the thinner, lighter alternative, made with 3 simple ingredients: Limestone, Water and Color Pigment.  Voila!

How is Limewash Made?

The limestone is crushed, heated and ground into a putty by mixing with water to form a textured paste or a thinner wash (depending on the amount of water used).  Add in a natural color pigment and you’re all set! 

 

Limewash Paint Axel Vervoordt Dining Room

Image via Axel Vervoodt

IS LIMEWASH HEALTHY?

Breathe in…Breathe out, my friends.

Sustainability has been our focus for decades and we are advocates for creating a healthy home through Green Interior Design.

Now that more people are paying attention to wellness, our homes should be no exception. In fact, we spend 90% of our time INSIDE.  For this reason, paying attention to the materials we surround ourselves in is vital.  Literally.

Limewash is an all natural, non-toxic and eco-friendly paint finish that emits zero VOC’s.  In other words, it’s completely safe to breathe.

In addition, Limewash has a high pH level, which makes it hypoallergenic and naturally resistant to bacteria, mildew and mold.  Improving indoor air quality and absorbing odors is a home run in our books.

As a highly durable paint finish, Limewash is really easy to maintain and lasts between 5 to 7 years before it needs to be refinished.  Left alone, it will gradually add more patina over time.

 

ARE THERE CONS TO LIMEWASH?

Maybe a little, but it’s worth it!

Using a specialty wall finish like any Plaster is of course more costly and labor intensive. 

Depending on how porous the surface material is, plan on the need for 3 to 4 coats.  And instead of a paint roller, Limewash is applied by hand using a brush and trowel.  

The beautiful result has a timeless, artisanal look and feel.

Material and Labor Costs are slightly more than paint, averaging about 20-30% more for the Limewash mix, and 50% higher when you hire someone to apply it for you (which we highly recommend).

Limewash Paint Kitchen

Image via Architectural Digest

WHERE SHOULD I USE LIMEWASH?

The possibilities are endless!

Both interior and exterior walls are perfect for limewash, especially porous surfaces like brick, cement, stucco or stone.  Make sure to add a mineral based acrylic primer when covering drywall in order to have an extra layer of base support.

When choosing a space for your finish, think about how light enters your home.  A plaster wall is beautifully spotlighted when it’s near a window or a light fixture.  One of the best characteristics of Limewash is how it changes with the light to create shadows and illuminate texture.

Starting with a small area is a great way to dip your toes in.

For example, a focal point in any home is the Fireplace or Kitchen Hood, and applying a specialty finish in either space would be absolutely stunning with only a small commitment.

If you’re all in, apply Limewash in the Living Room or Dining Room to give it that soft and cozy vibe.

As mentioned earlier, because Limewash is breathable and non-toxic, it’s perfect for areas where you spend the most time, like the Bedroom, Home Office, Home Gym, or Children’s Bedroom and Nursery. 

Limewash Paint Bathroom

Image via Yellowtrace and Studio Ko

WHAT HOME STYLE WORKS BEST FOR LIMEWASH?

Traditionally, we’ve seen textured plaster used on interior walls of homes that are, you guessed it, more traditional.  However, the modern take on this trend is looking on the light side of plaster, turning the bland walls of some contemporary homes into a warm and inviting space.

Any style of home works great with a limewash interior finish, especially the more modern take on historic styles, like Modern Mediterranean, Contemporary, Coastal, Wabi-Sabi Organic or Hygge, Modern French Tudor, Belgian, Modern Farmhouse, Contempoary Cottage, or Modern Ranch Style.

Limewash Paint Interior Walls

Image via Daytrip Studios

CAN LIMEWASH BE USED IN A KITCHEN OR BATHROOM?

Let me introduce you to my little friend, Tadelakt.

WHAT IS TADELAKT?

First of all, Tadelakt is fun to say.  And Tadelakt plaster finish is ideal for wet locations like Kitchens and Bathrooms.  Unlike Venetian Plaster, is doesn’t have any of the thickening aggregates like limestone, granite, marble or glass, so it goes on clean and smooth.

One of the best places to use Tadelakt is in the shower or on a kitchen counter for example, because these are areas where you won’t need grout.  As a result, there’s no need to worry about maintenance involving mold growth, discoloration, cracking or disolving.

 

Grout Free Limewash Takelakt Bathroom Shower

Image via Limestrong Artisans

Tadelakt Plaster Bathroom

Image via Bentley Hagen Hall

Limewash Bathroom Walls

Image via Pinterest

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TEXTURES OF PLASTER?

There is so much variety and potential when using Plaster.  Depending on the type of plaster, the finished look could be smooth or textured, polished or matte – and everywhere in between. 

We prefer the clean and subtle nuance of Limewash paired with modern interiors.

Plaster Texture Finishes

Image via Limestrong

DOES LIMEWASH COME IN DIFFERENT COLORS?

Limewash pigments come in a variety of organic colors.  The colors we use most often are earthy neutrals like white, taupe, grey and charcoal.  Of course, when looking to make a statement, colors like emerald, cobalt, black, terracotta or blush are perfect choice.

Looking for more color inspiration?  Check out our most popular posts on How to Choose Paint Colors for Your Home and Color Trends for 2021.

Limewash Colors

Image via Portola Paints

Dark Limewash Paint Bedroom

Image via Stephen Busken and Studio Life/Style

Peach Pink Limewash Bathroom Wall

Image via Blakes London

Grey Limewash Interior

Image via Lady Minerals

Blue Plaster Wall

Image via EcoOutdoor and Bauwerk

Limewash Tadelakt Bathroom

Image via S Wiley and Dwell

If you’re interested in more ideas for creating your own sustainable home, check out the 2nd edition of the book Green Interior Design: The Guide to Sustainable High Design.
Best Book on Green Interior Design
How to Transform Any Room with Lime Wash Paint

TRANSFORM ANY ROOM WITH LIMEWASH PAINT | by Sara Plaisted