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Tips for Painting Over Dark Walls

You’ve finally bought a house! However, the paint is so, so dark. “It’s only paint,” you tell yourself as you walk through the place, and see during your walkthrough prior to closing. Yes, paint can always be painted over, but going over dark walls is a much different story than trying to paint over light colored walls. Reds, purples, browns, and dark grays are particularly tricky and can be a significant challenge if you’re not prepared. No worries! We’ve put our best painting tips together to help you conquer your dark wall challenges.

Tip #1: Primer Is Not Optional

When painting over dark walls, primer is absolutely not optional. Even if you choose a paint that claims to have a primer built in (it does not, it’s just a thicker paint), you will still need a high quality primer. You don't want to settle for the cheap stuff, you want to choose a primer that’s designed specifically to block pigment bleeding. The greater the color difference between the paint that’s being covered and the paint you’re covering it with, the more primer you will need to use. Plan to paint at least two coats of primer on very dark walls.

Tip #2: Choose Colors in the Same Family

If you like the color that your wall is already, but it’s just a shade or two too dark, well, that’s a much easier problem to solve than going from, say, midnight black to snowfall white. Taming the shade is a much easier proposition, since you’re staying in the same color family, and any small amount of pigment bleed may easily go unnoticed. However, you’ll still need to stay close to the same shade, or else you’ll need to go back and prime like your life depends on it. Again you should still prime before you paint no matter what you do!

Tip #3: Paint More Than You Think You Should

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when applying new wall paint, other than skipping the primer, is stopping before completing the job. With some colors, it can be a little tricky to tell if you have actually finished, but if you see any thin areas at all, you should really apply another coat. There's a chance that you didn’t just have one thin spot. Two coats are often plenty of paint for a regular job, but don’t be afraid to apply a third if need be, or going back later and adding another coat of paint after you’ve lived with it a while and noticed that the paint coverage isn’t really consistent. It’s easy to under paint a wall, especially if you’re trying to get a job done over a weekend.

Or, Leave the Painting to a Professional…

If you’re not sure you’re up to painting over your dark walls, or you simply want to make sure the job is a one-and-done, you could hire a professional painter. They can help you choose colors that will look great in your home, as well as apply a finish that you’ll love for years to come.

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