How To Paint Light Colors Over Dark Colors

December 7, 2021

There is no question that paint can be transformative for any room in your home or business. It can be a particularly impactful change when a paint scheme is switched from a darker hue to a lighter one. A room can almost open up and become brighter, airier, and refreshed! 

Unfortunately painting over darker hues has some challenges. 

Some of the things you will need when shifting from dark to light colors include: the right painting tools, high quality primer and main color, and, probably most importantly patience and extra time for the painting process

Let’s explore some of the steps that are important to follow when switching a color scheme from a darker one to a lighter one. 

paint roller

Use the Right Supplies 

The success of any paint project begins with having the right supplies for the project. In addition to high quality flat and angled brushes, you will need rollers of varying levels of nap. The general rule is that the rougher the surface (such as a textured ceiling), the thicker the roller nap should be. Conversely, the smoother a surface the thinner your roller nap. 

When making your supply list be sure to include: sand paper, spackle, floor coverings, cleaning supplies, and high quality primer and paint. This is not the time to skimp, especially on primer which will help clever those darker hues hopefully in one or two coats. 

Prep & Prime 

While these two steps in any paint project are not the most enjoyable, they are probably the most important. 

Since dust, dirt, and grime can get in the way of an effective paint job, it is always best to wipe down the walls, ceiling, and corners of the room to remove any debris. A clean slate is the best way to have a successful outcome for your painting project. 

In terms of priming your surfaces, we recommend choosing a high quality primer. Benjamin Moore has a full selection of quality primers for your job. 

The reason we suggest picking a good primer is due to the fact that during normal times one coat of primer would be enough, but when trying to cover darker colors like reds or deep blues, it usually takes two coats of high quality primer. Remember that quality primers contain more binders and pigments, which is what will help conceal the dark color underneath.

paint samples

Time & Patience 

We normally don’t mention these intangible aspects of a paint project, but taking your time to allow the primer to dry in between each coat is extremely important. Avoid tacky primer and unevenly dried walls by giving yourself adequate time between each layer. 

We mention patience as well due to the fact that darker colors tend to be more difficult to paint over quickly. You may find yourself doing an extra final coat to make sure that last bit of cherry red doesn’t show through when the light hits the walls at just the right angle. 

Remember to prepare yourself for the extra time, use higher quality paint/equipment, and you should be fine as you go about painting over darker colors. Let us know if we can help or take the entire project off your hands! 


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