This sophisticated European painting technique will transform your walls – and Instagram loves it

Decorators have practiced this method since ancient times, but the aesthetic has never looked quite so current

Lime washing walls
(Image credit: Brand - Zinc Textiles, Stylist - Sarah Harwood, Photographer - Alex J Curtis)

Sometimes, the future of interior design is rooted in the past, and with this naturalistic painting technique, this is certainly the case. 

Yes, Instagram is currently falling for the soft aesthetic of lime washing – an ancient painting method that uses century-old techniques to create rustic, textured walls in our modern homes. It is easy to see why limewashing is having a moment; with its nod to century-old style and chic imperfect finish across your walls; this is the home decor trend that oozes with remnants of a mysterious former era. Here, we spoke to paint experts at the top of the industry who share their advice for those who are understandably tempted by its enduring charm. 

However, be warned, once you witness the organic allure of limewashing, you may never return to a world of glossy finishes again. 

Lime washing walls

(Image credit: Kalklitir)

What are the benefits of limewashing?

According to Bronwyn Riedel, Colour and Creative Director Bauwerk Colour, limewashing is best celebrated for its wholly natural characteristics, which bless our homes with raw and rustic tones.  

‘Limewash is made by a perfect alchemy of earth, fire, water, and air. They allow your walls to breathe – as they absorb Carbon Dioxide from the air, just like trees. They also have natural antibacterial properties, Bronwyn shares. 

‘We believe that nature provides everything we need to live in our homes, and we make our paints that work on that principle. What you leave out is more important than what you put in,’ Bronwyn says.

Lime washing walls

(Image credit: Brand - Zinc Textiles, Stylist - Sarah Harwood, Photographer - Alex J Curtis)

‘Limewash is an inexpensive and wonderful way to easily create a perfectly imperfect style of decorating; you can do it yourself in one weekend,’ she adds. 

Limewashing’s close relationship with nature is further emphasized by Audur Skula, Art Director at the Belgium-based limewashing paint manufacturers, Kalklitir

‘The main characteristics are the different shades of natural colors with its matte texture and superb depth that brings a calm effect to a room. The natural colors have a way of adapting to surrounding colors and will absorb the light beautifully,’ Audur adds. 

Lime washing walls

(Image credit: Kalklitir)

What do we need to remember when limewashing?

Audur then offered her top advice for limewashing, suggesting, firstly, that the brush is almost as important as the paint: ‘We recommend using our specially made Italian brushes with extra long hairs in order to get a smooth effect on the wall when painting,’ she shares. 

‘There are many ways you can apply the paint; we mostly recommend the up and down method or the more popular X-strokes method that will create a more cloudy effect. Normally two layers will give good results. However, you can do as many layers are needed or wanted, and it is also possible to change colors if of interest.'

‘In powder form, the Kalklitir paint can be stored for many years; once mixed with water, it will keep for one year in an airtight container,’ she adds. 

Lime washing walls

(Image credit: Kalklitir)

See: Painted wall ideas – have some fun with your walls with these creative paint ideas

Bronwyn similarly recommends using thin layers and suggests painting ‘out in all directions in cloud-like patterns. 

We have a slight incline that this ancient calming technique will endure for many more centuries to come. 

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly loves writing about contemporary styles and trends for Livingetc.