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Need To Paint Over Dark Walls? Here's How To Do It

Remember when, a few years ago, you fell in love with those trendy dark interior walls? You know — navy blue, ruby red, deep forest green, and even chic basic black? Those were the days, and though your dark walls made a statement, it could be time to put your home up for sale, or maybe you're just ready for something lighter and brighter this spring.

So what's it going to take to lighten things up?

Painting Over Dark Walls

But hang on; it's not a matter of just painting over the original dark color with the lighter color you desire. That could be a recipe for needing to apply more layers than should be necessary to cover up the dark color.

Let's break down the steps required to repaint dark walls successfully.

  1. Assemble the right equipment.
    Good quality equipment will make a difference. Well-made rollers will hold more paint and deliver a smoother, more polished coat. Are your walls rough? If so, you'll need a roller with a thicker nap to hold more paint so you can fill in crevices. Dark, smooth walls call for using either a foam roller or a roller with a thinner nap, which will provide smooth coverage for indoor walls.

  2. Prep the surface.
    First, clean the walls so that the paint goes on smoother. Then, plug holes with filler. Sand the filler.

    A coat of primer is essential. Lighter colors will be muted if you fail to coat the walls properly. In fact, at least two coats of primer will be even better so that the darker colors don't bleed through. And, if your darker color is red, be sure to go for two coats of primer, as red has a way of really bleeding through primer or a lighter shade of paint. Let it dry before you start painting.

    The primer must completely cover the dark paint. Don't stint on quality: Choose a reputable primer and paint. The better quality of primer has binders and pigments that will better cover the paint underneath. Go for white rather than gray.

  3.  Get your painting area ready. 
    Apply painter's tape to places you don't want to be painted. (Check out this video for tips.) Lay drop cloths around to protect the floor.

  4. Paint it on thick.
    Create thick "W" or "M" shapes with the primer. Dip the roller in the slanted section of the paint tray so you remove some of the paint and avoid lines in the finish. The key here is heavy coverage. Don't be shy: Thick is good. Let the primer dry.

  5. Look for un-primed areas.
    Once the primer is dry, check for areas where the old color shows through and cover them up. When this touch-up work has dried, you're ready to paint.

  6. Paint your walls.
    Choose a good quality paint. Acrylic is highly recommended, as it's better for the environment and works as well as oil-based.

    Apply paint with the same technique as you applied the primer. Let the first coat dry to see if you're satisfied with the results. You may need to apply a second coat or more. Keep going until you get the color you want.

Does all this seem like too much work? There are other options, such as repainting with a dark color you really like or applying wallpaper. However, if you're listing the home, you may really need to lighten up your walls. You can't go wrong with that proverbial blank slate that white or at least lighter walls offer a potential buyer. Plus, it will make your home look neat and well ordered.

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Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 06/26/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 06/26/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of MLSPIN MLS (last updated Sun 06/26/2022 9:26:34 AM EST) or NEREN MLS (last updated Sun 06/26/2022 9:24:05 AM EST) or MREIS (last updated Sun 06/26/2022 9:27:41 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Masiello Group may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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