Many people avoid using dark colors on their walls because they don’t want to make their rooms seem smaller. However, as someone who has used deep paint on both walls and ceilings before, I say go for it. And don’t even worry about having to cover them the next time you decide to redecorate. It’ll be easy — as long as you use the best primer and paint for covering dark walls.
Today, I’m going to review several primers and paints that would be great for the job. After my reviews, I’ll also take a moment to tell you about how you can make the most of the products I’ll be talking about. But first, let’s start by answering the most basic question.
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Why Is Dark Paint Hard to Cover?
As I have mentioned, many people are scared to even try using a rich color on their walls. But if you like the way something looks in photos, why not try it in your own home? I love experimenting with wall colors in my house, and I’ve never regretted the choice to paint my walls a risky color. So why do most people hesitate?
Well, as far as I can tell, it all comes down to the fear that they won’t be able to adequately cover the dark paint. However, if you do everything you can to get the tools you need, there’s no reason to fret. As it turns out, one of the things people often forget to put into their shopping cart is primer! Naturally, primer is actually the key ingredient in covering dark walls for several reasons:
- It can smooth over the existing damage in the plaster or the naturally porous texture of drywall, providing a flat base for the paint to stick to.
- If the walls are stained, applying primer as a base will even out the colors, which allows the paint you apply to be all one tone.
- Additionally, if your existing paint is shiny and especially smooth, a primer will let the next layer of paint you apply stick.
Another common mistake many people make is not applying more than a single coat of primer or paint. Personally, I like to do two of each, but if you really need to cut corners, I recommend applying a single layer of primer and following that up with two layers of paint. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about how you can find products that will effectively hide the dark paint on your walls.
Features to Look for If You Want to Find Products That Can Cover Dark Paint
Since today’s article isn’t only about primer but about paint as well, I’ll start by telling you about the types of products that are great for hiding dark paint. I’ll follow that up by talking about the various bases, colors, and finishes you might come across.
Types of Products
Whenever I’m talking about primer and paint, I like to explain them in the order in which I’d apply them. So what is the purpose of primer? Basically, it should:
- Act as a protective layer between porous materials such as drywall, wood, or damaged plaster and your paint.
- Provide an even base for the paint, erasing any stains and differently colored parts of the walls.
- Lock in water damage and potential odors coming from the walls.
Now, if your walls are in pristine condition and fairly light in color, you’ll be able to get away with not using a primer. However, since we’re talking about covering dark paint, I’m sure that isn’t the case. Still, you may be able to avoid the primer and go straight into the paint.
You’re probably wondering: “How can that be true?” Didn’t I just say that primer is a necessity? Well, it is. In fact, primers are often much thicker than most paints, so they alone should be able to give you the coverage you need.
But wait! There’s another option. You can always use two-in-one products that combine primer and paint. These thick and pigmented concoctions might be the answer to all of your problems.
However, I have been known to be a bit of a skeptic when it comes to using paint with primer in it. If I had a choice, I’d always opt to have a dedicated primer layer. Still, I believe that I’ve discovered several products that may have changed my mind today!
If you’re shopping for a primer, you should be aware of the types of bases that exist and what they’re for. You’ll have a choice between two types of primers:
- Oil-based primers are typically used for priming wood, although you could use them on walls too — if you intend to paint with oil-based paint. Still, you’ll probably only use oil primers and paint on the wooden trim.
- Latex primers are more appropriate for drywall, metal, and walls that already have paint on them. This base is less durable than an oil primer, but it’s quick-drying and thick enough to provide even coverage.
Latex, acrylic, and vinyl are popular bases for actual paint as well. However, many people don’t even think about the base. After all, most of us aren’t able to discern the base of the paint on our walls at a glance. Instead, we’re looking for the color and the finish.
Color and Finish
While the color and the finish of the paint you end up choosing are completely up to you, the color of the primer actually plays an important role in covering dark walls. For example, we cannot use the clear Rust-Oleum Primer to cover up dark walls. While this product is fantastic at sealing porous surfaces, the fact that it’s transparent wouldn’t help us at all.
Instead, you need to be looking at white or slightly tinted primers. White primer would give you the fresh start your dark walls need, especially if you apply two coats. Alternately, you can either use tinted primers or add your paint to a white primer if you want to have a base that’s similar to the paint you’ll use on top.
Finally, even though picking through the matte, satin, and glossy finishes isn’t usually something you need to worry about with primers, the existence of two-in-one products means that you can now have satin primer as well. So now that we’ve covered all of that, let’s get into the product reviews.
Best Primers and Paint for Covering Dark-Colored Walls
In my reviews, I plan to present the two excellent white primers I’ve found before talking about two primer paints and the companies behind them. With that in mind, let’s check out the first product on my list.
1. KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer
This latex primer from KILZ is just about the most basic thing you could use to make sure your dark walls can’t peek through. The can I’ve linked to contains a quart of product, although you can also get this primer in 1-gallon buckets by selecting the option on Amazon. A gallon would be enough to cover about 300 square feet, so I figure that the quart should cover about 75 square feet.
According to the manufacturer, this latex product can even bind to surfaces that are typically hard to paint, such as PVC, vinyl, glass, or even furniture with a glossy finish. However, I’d still do my best to sand everything before applying this. Just in case you’re not sure how you should apply your wall primer, I’ll have a short guide after these reviews.
If you want to apply this straight from the can, you should keep in mind that it will be a bit thick. Just mix it properly and apply it with a brush or a roller. After your first coat is dry to the touch, wait another hour to apply your second coat. The resulting white base will be the perfect fix for your dark wall problem.
- Latex bonding primer (works on glossy surfaces too)
- Sealing properties
- For interior or exterior walls
- Available in 1-quart or 1-gallon quantities
- White but tintable
2. Glidden PVA Drywall Vinyl Acrylic Interior Primer & Sealer
Now, this 5-gallon bucket of primer from Glidden is on a whole other level, at least quantity-wise. Like the previous primer I showed you, this one has a latex base. It will seal porous materials under it and provide a nice base for the paint to stick to. However, this product was primarily made for priming drywall for painting, which may be why it comes in such a huge quantity.
Still, this primer should be great for all interior walls, including the ones that already have paint on them. The primer itself is fairly thick, which is why it’ll give you excellent coverage if you apply it over dark paint. It’s also quick-drying, as can be expected of a latex primer.
- Latex-based PVA primer
- Sealing and adhering
- For drywall and interior walls
- 5-gallon bucket
- White color
3. Glidden Interior Paint + Primer
Now that I’ve suggested two perfectly great white primers, let’s get into the paint and prime category with another Glidden product. The Glidden One Coat line is full of various colors of 100% acrylic primer and paint.
If you go to the Amazon product page I’ve linked to, you’ll see that their White shade range is available in 22 colors and 3 finishes. The shades are all variations on the color white — leaning slightly toward yellow, blue, green, etc. Additionally, you can choose between an eggshell, flat, and semi-gloss finish.
However, before you get discouraged, these aren’t even the only primer paints the company makes! If you proceed to their store page, you’ll see an assortment of other colors. Clicking on the color range will lead you to the product page with as many as 24 color options. So whichever color you want, you’ll be sure to find at least 20 different shades.
Naturally, these products are all fairly thick because they already have primer in them. That also makes them high-coverage enough to cover dark walls — although you may still have to use more than one coat. Also, all of these colors are available in 1-quart and 1-gallon cans.
- Acrylic paint with primer
- Eggshell, flat, and semi-gloss finishes
- Huge assortment of colors and shades
- Available in 1-quart or 1-gallon sizes
4. Prestige Interior Paint and Primer In One
Lastly, just so that no one can accuse me of favoritism, let’s talk about another brand with an impressive primer paint offer: Prestige. The Prestige Interior Paint and Primer In One offers even more variety than the previous manufacturer, if that’s even possible. The self-priming paint I’ve linked to is in the green family, and there are actually 42 related colors on the product page itself.
There are various finishes to choose from as well. In fact, the flat, satin, semi-gloss, and eggshell finishes are all available in exterior and interior wall paint mixes.
Furthermore, the Prestige store page is very well organized too, allowing you to pick the color family straight away. They have neutrals, grays, reds, blues, purples, and basically any other shade under the sun. Once you select the general vibe you want to go for, you’ll be able to choose the particular shade you’re interested in. What’s more, all of the primer paints come in 1-gallon cans, so you’ll have plenty of product to cover your dark walls.
- Thick self-priming paint
- Flat, satin, semi-gloss, and eggshell finishes
- Great shade range
- 1-gallon cans
How to Make the Most of These Products When Covering Dark Paint
I would be remiss if I let you pick your primer without knowing how to apply it, now would I? If you want to successfully cover dark walls, you need to start off on the right foot. That means getting the room where you have your dark wall or walls ready for painting.
Aside from getting your painting supplies, you’ll also have to make sure that everything is clean and protected from splatter. Then, you’ll also need to know the right way to prepare the walls for painting. As you can see, I have already written handy guides that can help you stay on top of your game. Long story short, you need to:
- Repair the walls with spackle if necessary
- Sand the excess spackle
- Wash the walls with a damp sponge
- Wait for them to dry
After you’ve done everything as I explained in the article above, you can proceed to cover the dark paint with your light paint. You’ll see how easily you’ll be able to achieve all of this if you think about your next move ahead of time. Not to compare painting projects to chess — but it really does require some strategy.
There you have it — my thoughts on four of the best primers and priming paints I could find. Hopefully, the things you learned in this article will be enough to carry you through your next painting project. And, if you were just afraid of not being able to paint over dark walls — I also hope that I have managed to assuage your concerns.
Now that you’ve seen that dark walls aren’t that difficult to cover up, you can finally take the plunge and paint your walls whatever color you like!