Our Complete Guide to Limewash:

Textured, natural, and completely unique, limewash is one of our favorite options for an accent wall. It’s incredibly versatile and the hand-painted effect can totally transform a space. 

In our upcoming book, For the Love of Renovating, we dive into why we love limewash and how we use this timeless paint in our projects. Now, we’re taking you behind the scenes for an in-depth look at limewash.

Whether you’re looking for a moody and dark plum or bright and crisp white, limewash creates dimension and adds character. Composed of crushed, fired limestone mixed with water and pigment, limewash has a long, rich history in the world of home design. 

Step 1: Picking Limewash Paint Color

When it comes to limewash, keep an open mind–there are so many beautiful tones and pigments on the market. 

It’s important to note that limewash changes in appearance depending on how many coats you apply. Coat 1 will appear nearly translucent, coat 2 provides more depth, and coat 3 can provide that finished look. 

Here are some examples of limewash colors we love: 

The Tips: 

  • Embrace variation! Limewash contains natural ingredients, so it will look different depending on the surface, number of layers, and even the lighting in your space.
  • Try and see your color in person. Visit a showroom or do a test swatch in your home to get a better understanding of how the color looks IRL. 

The Tools: 

Step 2: Prepping for Limewash

Limewash works well on breathable surfaces like brick, cement, stucco, and plaster. Don’t worry–it also works on drywall. 

Before you start limewashing, evaluate your surface. For brick, cement, stucco, or plaster walls that have never been painted, you can apply your limewash directly, no primer needed! 

For drywall and previously painted walls, you’ll need to apply an acrylic primer–at least one coat–before you can start lime washing. 

The Tips: 

  • Clean your walls! We cannot over-emphasize how important it is to give your walls a good once (or twice) over with a dusting cloth. 
  • Buy a quality primer. This will make a world of difference. 

The Tools: 

Step 3: Applying Limewash 

Your walls are clean and primed and your limewash is picked–you’re ready to get painting! 

Grab your natural bristle block brush, put on your painting clothes, and dive in.

Now you may say, “Jordan, Barry, I’m not a painter!” To that, we say, don’t worry. Let us introduce you to the cloud pattern technique. 

This technique is all about natural, soft edges and organic strokes. Starting near the center of the wall, make a center point. Now, brush on the limewash in random directions–up, down, crisscross, diagonal. 

Keep adding clouds until you have a full coat applied. This coat will appear mostly translucent. Let it dry fully and then repeat the process again. 

After coat 2 dries, you can decide if you’d like to go for coat 3. However, this coat is at your discretion. 

The Tips: 

  • Let your layers dry fully before deciding to add more paint
  • Remember, the limewash will look pretty different wet vs. dry

The Tools: 

Step 4: Styling Your New Wall 

Stand back and enjoy your handiwork! 

It’s time to style your space to complement your new walls. Limewash has a very organic, natural look, so we love incorporating other natural materials. 

In our bedroom, we contrasted bold limewash walls with a neutral linen headboard. We opted for simple lines and plan fabrics that enhance the feature wall.

Our advice? Let the limewash stand out! You’ve worked hard to create this masterpiece, so don’t send it to the back seat. 

The Tips: 

  • Save the busy patterns for a different room. Let you limewash take center stage!
  • Add plants–houseplants look so beautiful with the organic vibe of limewash.

For more renovation tricks and design tips, be sure to check out our book, For the Love of Renovation, coming to stores June 4, 2024!