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5 Tips for Painting Over a Dark Color

April 25, 2023

Dark interior wall colors have been trending lately. From charcoal-colored bedroom walls to emerald-colored kitchens, dark hues are certainly gaining in popularity. But, what if your plans of trying something different and painting your bedroom/kitchen/home office a bold, trendy shade didn’t go as planned? What if you took a leap of faith, painted that wall and then…you didn’t love it. 

Fortunately, painting over a dark color with light paint is not impossible, but it does require careful preparation and the right products. Here are a few tips on how to take your dark, dreary shade and make it light and bright again.

Use a Quality Paintbrush and Roller

Using a high-quality paintbrush is essential when painting a light color over a dark color. Since most home interior paint jobs use acrylic paint, you’ll want to look for a brush that is made with natural bristles and is specifically designed for use with water-based paints. This will help to ensure that the brush will not shed bristles and that the paint will be evenly applied. 

When it comes to rollers, make sure you’re getting the right one for the job. Paint rollers come in various sizes, materials, and nap lengths. The nap length is the length of the fibers in fractions of an inch. The nap length you choose will depend on the roughness of the surface you are painting. In general, a roller with a ⅛-inch t ¼ inch nap is best for smooth surfaces, while a ⅜-inch to ½-inch nap is best for walls that are lightly textured. 

Just as with your paintbrush, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting a roller that’s made of the right material for your application. For nonporous services (such as a painted wall that you’re going to be painting over), a roller made of polyester and nylon fibers is best.  

Don’t Cut Corners on Prep

Although you may be anxious to change the color of your dark walls, this next step requires some diligence and patience. Taking the time to do adequate prep will ensure a better-quality paint job in the end. 

First, wipe down your walls with a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust. Use a mild cleaner to get rid of grease or more difficult spots. Remember, the cleaner your walls are, the better the new paint will adhere. Next, fix any deep scratches or holes with spackle. A smooth wall means a better paint job in the end. Finally, remove any electrical outlet covers and tape off baseboards, ceilings, or anything else you don’t want to paint. 

Make Sure to Use a Primer

When it comes to covering up dark paint with a lighter shade, primer is key. A primer will help to seal in the dark color and prevent it from bleeding through your lighter top coat. Additionally, the primer will help the top coat adhere better and provide a smoother finish.

There are many high-quality paints on the market that already have a primer in them. This can be a real-time saver for many home improvement projects, but it’s not ideal for every situation. If you want to cover up a very dark shade with a very light one, you’ll have more success if you use a separate paint and primer. 

Primers come in a variety of colors including white, gray, and dark gray, among others. When you want to cover a dark wall with a light color, choose a white primer for the best results.

Invest in Quality Paint

There are so many different types of paint on the market it can make it overwhelming to pick out the right one. The most important thing to remember is to invest in high-quality paint. Although it will cost more, it will be worth it in the long run – especially when you’re trying to cover up another color. So, what makes paint “high quality”?

There are several factors, with the first being the paint’s pigment. Quality paint will contain a greater amount of high-quality pigments that will provide a richer color and won’t fade over time. The second factor is the binding agent or resin. A high-quality paint will contain a strong, flexible bonding agent that will help the paint adhere to the surface for a longer period of time. The third factor is the quality of the solvents used to create the paint. A high-quality paint will contain solvents that are low in VOCs and will not emit strong-smelling, toxic fumes.

Prepare to Use Multiple Coats

Even if you use a primer and quality paint, there’s a likely chance that you’ll have to apply more than one coat in order to ensure proper coverage. Make sure that you stop and allow enough time for the paint to dry before applying the next coat. If you’re just going from a dark color to a medium color, one coat may be enough, but to go from dark to light or even white, you’ll likely have to apply two to three coats to get the results you want.

By following these tips, you can successfully paint a light color over a dark color. Want more added assurance that you’ll love the results? Give Horner Painting a call. We’ve been doing interior painting in Fort Collins for over 20 years so we have the experience and expertise it takes to complete challenging paint jobs successfully. 

Give us a call today and let us know how we can help!  

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