How to paint over a red room

Updated February 21, 2017

Changing a wall from fire engine red to pastel green is a dramatic change in wall colour. Painting over red paint can sometimes take longer than most paint projects if the right steps aren't taken. Some red paints have extra pigment added which may seep through additional layers of paint. The red may continue to seep through over layering colours, no matter how many coats you apply. Use a primer when covering red walls or ceilings to avoid painting several layers of additional paint on the surface. The primer will seal off the red paint and give the new paint an even finish and sheen.


Remove all furniture from the room. Move any remaining furniture 90 cm (3 feet) from the wall. Take down all pictures and wall décor.

Protect all remaining surfaces with plastic sheeting. Lay dust sheets smoothly on the floor. Ensure there are no wrinkles in the dust sheets.

Remove nails if you will not replace the pictures. Fill the nails with filler; smooth a small amount of the compound into the hole with a putty knife. Allow it to dry, and lightly sand to a smooth finish.

Primer and paint

Paint the walls with a water-based sealing primer. Apply the paint using a roller. Make long vertical strokes on the surface of the wall. Cover the entire wall, and it allow to dry four to six hours. Apply a second coat if the red paint is clearly visible and seeping through.

Paint the edge of the wall's perimeter with an angled brush. Glide the brush evenly along the edge of the wall's surface to cover any areas the roller could not reach. Allow it to dry.

Cover the rest of the wall with the latex paint using the roller, applying it just as you did the primer. Add a second coat if necessary. Let the paint dry before moving any furniture and décor back into position.


Tint the primer a light to medium grey if covering the red paint with a medium to dark colour. No tinting is necessary if painting the walls a lighter colour.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Dust sheets
  • Spackling compound
  • Putty knife
  • Fine sanding block
  • Water-based primer
  • Roller
  • Roller frame
  • Paint tray
  • Paint rags
  • Latex paint
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About the Author

Julie Hampton has worked as a professional freelance writer since 1999 for various newspapers and websites including "The Florida Sun" and "Pensacola News Journal." She served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and nurse for over six years and recently worked as the Community Relations Director for a health center. Hampton studied journalism and communications at the University of West Florida.