The Secret to Painting Over a Dark Color

Not too long ago I shared with you how we will be doing “the great room swap” this month.  You can read all about that >>>here<<<.  Basically, one son is moving upstairs, one daughter is moving downstairs into that room, and two girls are moving out to dorms this month.  Anyways, when we bought this house both of the smaller bedrooms down stairs were painted dark blue.  The first step in the great room swap was to paint one of those blue bedrooms.  I had been putting this off because this was going to be my first experience painting over a dark color.

Painting over a dark color

Let me show you what we are dealing with here. Tealish dark blue.

BeforePainting over a dark color

Pick a quality paint

My almost 13 year old daughter, “J”, is helping to design her new bedroom. She choose a beautiful neutral color called “White Lagoon” by Glidden.  It is a very pale grey with a hint of blue.  I knew I would want to get a good quality paint to cover over this dark blue.  I headed over to our Walmart hoping that they might have something paint + primer. Keep in mind Walmart is much closer than our big box hardware stores and I was trying to avoid a special trip into town with the kids.

Luckily when we got to Walmart we saw an ad right at the paint counter for a brand new paint that they now carry, Glidden Complete.  This paint boasts “stain blocking, paint + primer” , “excellent scrubbability” AND “exceptional hide”.  All for about $25 a gallon. Perfect!

We asked them to mix us up a gallon in “White Lagoon”. I was really hoping one gallon would be enough but I was not sure because this room is a decent size, and we were painting over a dark color. I figured if it was not enough I would just run back over for some more. Painting over a dark color

Before we could paint the walls…

we had a bit of prep work to do.  And in our case, just because nothing can be simple in life, the dark blue had also bled on to the ceiling and all the trim.

Ceiling                                   Window Casing Painting over a dark color

If you look close you might be able to see in that ceiling photo that there is also some dark pink showing, I can only assume that was the color of the room before the blue.  I felt like the only way to really do this project properly was go around the ceiling edge with white paint and cover all that excess color up.  Fortunately I had the ceiling paint so I did not have match it or paint the whole thing. So I took a brush and went just in the seam all the way around the room.  I didn’t mind if I got paint on to the walls as well, since I would be painting those later in the day.

Unfortunately, I did not have the trim paint and the blue had also bled on to the door/window casings as well as the baseboards. So, I went ahead and used some white semi-gloss and repainted all the trim and doors.  While I was working on that I had my helper get the wall prep done. She started by using duct tape to push the carpet down so that I could paint the base boards.  Next, she filled all the holes in the wall with a quick dry filler and removed face plates from the outlets.  After painting the edge of the ceiling and all the trim we took a break for a few hours to allow that to all dry properly. Painting over a dark color

Painting the walls

Funny little story:  Until we moved across the country we never realized that wall texture can be a regional thing.  Growing up in California we also had textured wall. It was uncommon to see smooth walls. Then we moved to North Carolina and find the exact opposite to be true.  Anyways, for smooth walls I like to use 3/8 nap roller, which is pretty much the standard in paint rollers. Lightly textured should be the same, if you have deep texture I recommend a quick google search or asking the paint counter what they suggest.

Using a roller frame, roller and paint tray you will want to liberally apply your paint.  A nice thick coat will help ensure good coverage, however too heavy can cause runs so be on the look out.  For our project J rolled the walls, often with a poll extender (read: broom handle screwed into the roller frame) while I went around and cut in.  Personally, I prefer to cut in without the use of tape.  I use an angled 2″ brush and just guide it for a straight line.  I was careful to apply a thicker coat here as well, to cover that dark color.

We let our first coat dry for a few hours and after close examination we determined that we wanted to do a second coat of the rolled parts.  This time I let my helper take a break and I rolled a light second coat while she chatted with me about decor plans for the room. I would say someone with more experience than my 12 year old could probably have done this in one coat. Our main problem was that the paint was not applied evenly, particularly up higher than she could reach easily. Anywho, the second coat went on really quick and looked wonderful. The cutting in only needed a little touch up, not a full second coat.

Here is and example of coverage where she could not reach easily.

Painting over a dark color

The Meltdown

Every project has it’s low point right?  In this particular task that came in the form of a paint spill.

After painting the edge of the ceilings, all the doors and trim and then the walls all in the same day I was starting to feel a bit burnt out.  I went to pour some paint into the tray and managed to nearly drop the can and sloshed a good 8+ oz of paint out of the can.  It all landed on the tarp we had spread out but quickly started to pour over the edge onto the carpet.  Que family running to bring me every rag, old towel etc we owned to sop it up.

Hubby was quick to remind me that a) this spot was going to be covered by the bed b) we plan to replace our flooring soon anyways and c) that he once burned our carpet in the living room (don’t move the couch!). What really pushed me over into meltdown mode was that I had to buy more paint because of this spill.  The nice part was while I went to buy more paint my entire family cleaned the rest of the house. I think they knew I couldn’t handle any more chores when I finished this. Maybe I should have meltdowns more often???

Anyways, I was able to get most of the paint out of the carpet with towels and water. Later, I ran our Bissell cleaner over it a few times and it looks just fine.  Hubby didn’t want me to run the Bissell until it was mostly out just in case it would gum up the brushes and tubes of the carpet cleaner.

carpet + paint

I know everyone will ask so here is the newer model of Bissell we use, our model is no longer made. (aff. link *)

Bissell 1548 ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Full-Size Carpet Cleaner

End Results

Overall I would say the secret to painting over dark colors is a good quality paint.  I have been known to go for the cheapest paint possible in the past.  What usually ends up happening is I have buy more gallons and spend more time doing coat after coat after coat. I was very impressed with Glidden Complete and I will definitely be using it again.Painting over a dark color


Breakdown so far:

2 gallons of Glidden Complete @ $25.67 ea (Walmart)

1 gallon Color Place Grab n’ Go Semi-Gloss white $10 (Walmart) for trim

Assorted painting supplies (brush, tray, roller, frame)- No out of pocket this time, we have tons of these supplies on hand.

Do you have a dark room that desperately needs painting?  Or a painting nightmare story?

 Feel free to share those in the comments section below.  

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This post is not a paid promotion meaning I have not been paid or compensated for my review in any form.  This post does contain affiliate links, which cost you nothing extra but pays the blog for the referral.  These payments fund the maintenance of the blog as well as future projects.

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7 thoughts on “The Secret to Painting Over a Dark Color

  1. I love the new color! I always thought you had to completely strip away the old color before you painted the newer one on. Shows how much I know. Lol!

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