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How to paint over dark colors with light paint

Updated February 21, 2017

When it comes to covering dark-coloured walls, not all paints are created equal. Light-coloured surfaces cover easily with dark paints, but putting a light colour on top of a dark one requires priming. Primer is a paint and sealant that brings surfaces back to a neutral colour, over which it's much easier to paint. The most popular primer colours are white and grey. Use grey primer to cover an already-dark surface.

Prepare for painting by taping off the corners of the ceiling, wall plates and trim along the bottom of the wall.

Fill a paint tray with primer.

Apply primer with a paint roller. Do not spread the primer too thin. Roll the primer onto the wall until you have completed one, even coat. Use a paintbrush to apply primer to corners and near trim, where a paint roller will not easily reach.

Allow the primer to dry. If the dark colour still shows through the primer, apply a second coat.

Wait for the primer to dry before pouring the light-coloured paint into a fresh tray.

Spread the light paint over the primer with a fresh roller. Use a paintbrush to carefully paint corners and near trim. Apply one coat and allow it to dry. A light second coat may be needed to evenly cover the wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Blue painters' tape
  • Paint tray
  • Gray primer
  • Paint rollers
  • Paintbrush
  • Light-coloured paint
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About the Author

Jonathan Shaffer has been a freelance writer and blogger since 1999. He has written concert reviews for prominent music blogs and magazines, including "Connections Magazine" in Orlando, Fla. Shaffer holds an Associate of Science in the recording arts from Full Sail University and is working on a Bachelor of Business from Valencia College.