Painting Over Dark Colors: A Homeowner’s Guide

As a homeowner, there may come a time when you want to change the color of your walls. However, if your walls are currently painted a dark color, you may be worried about how difficult it will be to cover it up with a lighter shade. You may be concerned that the dark color will show through, making the new color look dull and uneven. But fear not! With the right tools and techniques, painting over dark colors can be a breeze. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to achieve a beautiful, even finish.

Preparation is Key

Before you start painting, it is important to properly prepare your walls. This will ensure that the new paint adheres well and looks smooth and even. Here are a few steps to follow:

Clean the walls: Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down the walls and remove any dust, dirt, or grime. If there are any stubborn stains or marks, use a mild detergent and water to gently scrub them away. Allow the walls to fully dry before moving on to the next step.

Fill in any holes or cracks: Use spackle or putty to fill in any holes or cracks in the walls. Once the spackle is dry, sand it down with fine-grain sandpaper until it is smooth and level with the surrounding wall.

Prime the walls: This step is especially important if you are painting over a dark color. A good quality primer will help the new paint adhere better and prevent the old color from bleeding through. Use a roller or brush to apply the primer in thin, even coats. Allow the primer to dry completely before painting.

Choosing the Right Paint

When painting over a dark color, it is important to choose the right type of paint. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

Go for a high-quality paint: A higher quality paint will often have better coverage and require fewer coats. This can be especially important when painting over a dark color.

Choose a paint with good coverage: Look for a paint that specifically states that it has good coverage. This means that it will be more likely to cover the old color in fewer coats.

Consider using a paint with a built-in primer: Some paints come with a built-in primer, which can save you time and effort. However, if you are painting over a very dark color, you may still need to use a separate primer.

Painting Techniques

Now that you have properly prepared your walls and chosen the right paint, it’s time to start painting. Here are some tips to help you achieve a seamless, even finish:

Use a roller: A roller is the best tool for painting large areas of wall, as it can cover a lot of ground quickly and efficiently. Use a roller with a medium to long nap to help it pick up and distribute the paint evenly.

Paint in thin, even coats: It can be tempting to try and cover the old color in one thick coat, but this will often result in a patchy, uneven finish. Instead, paint in thin, even coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next.
Use a “W” pattern: When using a roller, use a “W” pattern to distribute the paint evenly. Start at the top of the wall and roll downwards, then roll back up in a “W” shape. This will help to prevent drips and ensure an even finish.


Painting over a dark color may seem daunting, but with the right preparation, paint, and technique, it can be done easily and efficiently. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can achieve a beautiful, even finish that will make your walls look brand new.

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