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Making the Most of Limewash

Add some old-world charm to a room with this mineral-based paint

A new coat of paint is, hands-down, one of the easiest ways to give a room a makeover. But if you’re looking for that paint to add a little something more than simply a color refresh, consider using limewash paint.

Limewash paint, which gives a room a weathered patina, is made from crushed limestone that’s been heated and mixed with water to form a paste. While naturally white, you can have pigments added into it for color. 

In use for thousands of years, limewash is wonderful for creating texture and adding depth to a room. Use it anywhere from bedrooms and living rooms to dining and powder rooms. (You might want to avoid using it in high-traffic areas, like kids’ rooms, because touch-ups can be difficult to blend into existing paint. Or, consider using a sealer.)

You can even use limewash on exterior porous surfaces, such as brick, drywall, plaster, cement or stucco, because the paint sticks into the surface material. 

Limewash has a high pH level, so it’s resistant to mold and bacteria. And it lacks VOCs, making it an environmentally friendly option when it comes to paint.

Once you’ve decided to go with limewash, keep the following tips in mind for the best results: 


  • You’ll need to use a special primer before applying limewash; you can roll, brush or spray on the primer.


  • Use a brush—as opposed to a roller or spray—to apply the limewash. Apply it in several strokes, using the same brush strokes (i.e. don’t mix horizontal and vertical strokes). That’s because the texture from the paint is created by the brush strokes. 


  • Apply several thin coats, but don’t reapply over paint that has already started to dry. 


  • Limewash becomes darker as it dries, so the final color is dependent on the number of coats you apply (usually two to three).


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