Textured Walls May Be the Secret to Turning Your Home Into an Earthy Desert Dream

Bedroom with triangular headboard.

Design: West & Wild, Photography: Julie Pointer Adams

It’s a season of change, and a new wave of design trends is officially here. As Mandy Cheng of Mandy Cheng Design shared with us last month, textured walls are a style you’ll soon see everywhere.

"Textured (Roman clay or lime wash) walls offer depth and a feeling of the warmth you thought you could only feel in an old Parisian loft, and it is magical at all times of the day," Cheng says. 

The increasingly popular trend pervades homes ranging in style from classic Parisian to modern desert. Now, if “textured” has you picturing popcorn ceilings and stucco walls, think again. Lime wash and Roman clay are more reminiscent of the plaster walls found in mediterranean design, a style that evokes earthy textures and an old-world vibe. 

Warm textured walls.

Design: West & Wild, Photography: Julie Pointer Adams

The look is more simple to attain than you might think. “Roman clay and lime wash create a sense of warmth and depth that traditional paints lack,” says Jamie Davis, co-founder of Portola Paints & Glazes. His company has become well known in the design world for its line of textured products which, unlike traditional plaster, don’t require expert installation. 

There are a few things that set textured paints like Portola’s apart. For one, the application process is different. “Traditional paint is typically going to be rolled or sprayed and will dry without any movement or variation, says Davis. 

Black textured fireplace.

Design: Stefani Stein, Photography: Jenna Peffley

“Lime wash and Roman clay both have a slightly specialized application but both create depth and variation in color. Lime wash is a brush-applied finish that will immediately create a suede-like appearance and make your walls look aged.” 

Davis adds that working with Roman clay is equally as simple. “Roman clay is by far the quickest and least expensive way to create plaster or cement looking walls,” he says. The clay is applied using a putty knife, meaning it does require a bit more time than a roller brush. Davis adds that it’s easy to learn how to apply either finish, so both are great for painting pros and novices alike. 

Another feature that differentiates textured walls from those coated in traditional paint is their ability to make a visual impact without bold color. A bedroom coated in a warm white paint is nice, but add a lime wash in the same warm white, and the room is transformed. 

Green textured wall.


Nervous about adding permanent texture to your walls? Don’t be. Davis shares that both Roman clay and lime wash can be painted over with traditional paint with ease. 

“Roman clay is generally going to be super smooth, like a freshly mudded drywall, so painting over it isn’t an issue at all,” says Davis. “Lime wash will typically have a slight texture from the hand brushed application. You can absolutely paint right over it and or skim coat (a diluted wall compound) over it if you want to make it 100% smooth again.”  

We love the way a bit of texture can add a touch of old-world charm to even the most bland, builder-grade space. Level up the trend by pairing textured walls with décor like antique brass, linens, and wood tones.