People have been applying lime-based paint to interior and exterior walls since the days of ancient Rome, and there are lots of reasons why they’re still doing it today.
Limewashing is economical, it uses natural ingredients, it’s able to add depth and texture that’s hard to surpass with any other type of paint and every coat it creates is unique. It creates a chalky, mottled appearance that evokes Old World Mediterranean villas, desert adobes and tropical hideaways.
It is particularly popular for brightening darker brick or stone surfaces to make them more contemporary. It’s also a great choice for minimalist interiors by adding nuance and contrast to relatively bare walls.
And it can give any room a more luxurious, curated vibe.
Limewash paint is composed of crushed limestone fired to a high temperature and mixed with water to create a thick, putty-like substance. After it’s aged, water and pigment are added to turn it into a paint that glides onto any porous surface such as untreated brick, plaster and concrete. A primer will be needed before using it on nonporous planes.
Here are just a few ideas for getting the most out of this versatile finish:
It’s all in the application
The cloudy appearance of limewash comes in large part from how the paint is applied to the surface. If you’re not a fan of the splotchiness that’s often associated with it, you or a professional can simply brush it straight up and down for a subtle but luminous effect that brings an organic feel to any room.
If you’re looking to add more texture to your look, the limewash should be painted in broad crisscross strokes to create the contrast you want.
If you want to let a little of the original color show through, say with a red-brick fireplace, scrubbing it with a rag can create that distressed look.
Magnify color’s impact
Limewash is available in more colors than ever, and no matter which you choose you’re likely to get more bang for your buck than with other paint products, given the marbled appearance it can take on.
Neutral hues are always popular and the easiest to work around, and limewashing can make them a little more intriguing. Bright and saturated tones look more natural and accessible, and darker colors definitely are moodier and cozier (note that all limewashes look darker when it’s first applied than they will be after they dry, so don’t freak out when you first see it on your walls).
Keep it natural
Limewash has been embraced largely for its organic nature, which means you won’t be dealing with chemicals and the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and the other negatives that come with them. It also looks especially appropriate behind furnishings made of natural materials such as wood, stone, rattan, seagrass, canvas, cotton, leather, plants and florals.
This will reinforce your commitment to environmentally conscious living as well as a beautiful, harmonious home environment.