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Painting: how to cover dark colours!

Last modified: 2020-02-27 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Amanda Harvey

New year, new you! As the old saying goes, at the start of the year many homeowners change various aspects of their life in favour of adopting new tastes and styles. This is often reflected in home decor, as trends quickly evolve. When it comes to the colour of your walls, you may have wanted a deep mahogany last year to create a rustic decor.

Now, you might be looking for something clean and modern. But how do you paint to cover a dark colour with a light one? We’re here to help solve this modern dilemma in this informative article!

Here’s how to paint over dark colours

Getting started


source: unsplash

If you’ve attempted this project before, it’s likely that you know dark colours can easily seep through light colours. It may not be noticeable when you’re painting, but once the wall dries you might recognize a bleed through. This is why preparing the surface is of the utmost importance. Specifically, you’ll need to pick up a primer with stain-blocking capabilities.

You’ll want to begin by measuring the area that you intend on covering, as this will allow you to determine how much paint and primer is needed for the job. This can be done by multiplying the length times the width of your wall, allowing for the total square footage of the space. Divide this total based on the coverage area of your primer and new paint. This coverage area will vary from product to product, so make sure to arrive at your local hardware store with all of the measurements.

After picking up your primer as well as paint, clean the area by sweeping away any dust or debris in the corners of the room as well as around the floors. If walls have been stained or appear soiled in any way, it is crucial that you clean them before applying a new coat of primer or paint. If you are washing them, make sure they dry completely before moving onto the next step.

Before opening the cans of primer and paint, move all of your furniture into the centre or outside of the room. Cover the floor with clothes or rags to avoid drips finding their way onto other surfaces. Also, don’t forget to remove anything protruding or stuck on, including nails, hooks or outlet covers.

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Preparing the surface of your walls for painting

Now, depending on the conditions of your walls, you may need to begin by removing traces of old paint, particularly anything that is peeling or flaking. This will need to be done carefully with a paint scraper. Also, look for rough patches on the wall, and using a fine-grit sandpaper. smooth them down. If you find dents in the walls, including nail holes, fill them in with spackling.

Remember, if you are completing any of these jobs, the walls will need to be washed after as well. This is because sandpaper will leave small traces of dust and grit behind, easily compromising the quality of your new coat of paint.

For seams around the window and door frames or other gaps in the surface, use a small amount of painter's caulk. To apply it, hold the caulking gun on an angle and follow the seam moving downwards towards your floors. Make sure to squeeze the gun gently, and using a wet finger, smooth out the caulk every two feet.

Keep a damp cloth on hand and wipe away any excess. Make sure to do all gaps before picking up that paint brush. Also, allow the caulk to dry completely before moving on. Worth mentioning is that in some cases it won't be necessary to complete this step, but it will offer your walls a well-rounded finish!

It’s time to prime and paint!

Salle à manger murs blancs

source: unsplash

We are recommending that you use a little bit of the new paint to lightly tint your primer. This will offer you better coverage over the dark paint beneath. Pour some of the primer into a paint tray and using a tapered brush, start with the perimeter of the wall you're covering. The brush should be used for areas of the wall that are awkward to reach or that you can’t go over with a roller.

Once the corners and hard to reach areas are done, switch to a roller that suits the needs of your walls, either smooth or textured. Roll the primer evenly over walls, moving back and forth in a grid pattern for best results. Allow the primer to fully dry before applying your newly chosen paint. Follow the same methods for applying paint to all areas of the wall, applying two coats of paint to aptly cover your outdated, dark colour!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET A GENERAL IDEA OF HOW MUCH YOUR PAINTING PROJECT WILL COST? Test our cost estimator which calculates according to the room dimension and the number of colours.

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