You wake one morning to realize that the dark and once trendy paint colour of your walls no longer suits you. You find the perfect house but the walls are covered in deep blues and rich reds that you abhor. Your adult child finally moves out leaving you with a room covered in grim black. Don’t despair! With the right tools and techniques you can paint a light colour over dark walls, but there are a few things you should know before you jump into the project.


Choose good equipment: Quality brushes and rollers play a big part in how a paint job turns out. Ask your local paint store for advice regarding the best equipment for your specific project.

Prepare the walls: Fill holes with spackle, then sand smooth. Scrape off chipped or peeling paint and sand these spots. Wipe walls with a microfiber cloth to remove dust. Use a mild detergent and damp cloth on stains and smudges. Allow the walls to dry before painting.

Buy the right primer: Ask the experts at your local paint store to help you find a primer with high amounts of binders and pigment as these ingredients help block the dark colour beneath. A white primer will produce a better result than a gray or dark primer. Consider an all-in-one primer and sealer. Depending upon how dark the walls are, you may need two coats of primer to ensure the dark colour beneath does not bleed through. Try adding some of your new paint colour to the first coat of primer to help to set the right tone from the start. Let the primer dry completely before you start painting.

Do a test patch: Purchase a small amount of your chosen colour for a sample patch. This is an inexpensive way to discover how hard or easy the area will be to paint.

Apply a quality paint: High-quality paint contains large amounts of binders and pigments that do a better job of covering a dark wall. Aim for brands with solid reputations such as Benjamin Moore. When you’re painting, roll in big “M” or “W” shapes rather than just up and down. This approach reduces roller lines and gives the paint a few seconds to dry rather than immediately covering it. Not sure how many coats you need? Keep applying layers till you’ve covered the dark colour beneath. To be sure, hold a light up to the wall. If you’re able to see some of the dark paint, you need another coat.

A final tip: Colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel are called contrasting colours. These are the best choices to cover up each other. For example, red covers blue while purple knocks out green.

Putting light paint over a dark wall is possible with the right products and the right steps. Follow these suggestions carefully and your project will meet or exceed your expectations! For all questions or concerns, talk to your local paint supplier. These experts have the knowledge, experience and products to help your paint job turn out great!


Need advice on covering a dark wall? Looking for quality tools and paints? Call Calgary’s independent paint and blinds store West Hillhurst Paint + Design at (403) 270-9696 or email at kyle@westhillhurstpaint.com. Our knowledgeable professional design associates provide high-quality paint and stain, a wide selection of blinds, advice for home projects and excellent service. We carry Benjamin Moore products. Call for a consultation today!

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