Let this be your guide to painting over dark colors without driving yourself crazy, because if you do it wrong, there's a rubber room with your name stenciled above the door.

So, you finally made it through the earth tone stage of your life. You're ready to move along from all those ghastly dark blues, browns, and rusty reds and tone down your walls with some softer colors.

Here's a list of what you'll need:

  1. Five gallon bucket
  2. Sponge mop
  3. Formula 409
  4. Painters masking tape
  5. Newspaper
  6. Power roller painting system (or, paint rollers if you plan on doing it by hand)
  7. White primer paint (enough to cover all the walls twice)
  8. Finishing paint (your choice of color and enough to cover all walls twice)

(NOTE: See added list at bottom)

Preparation is really the key to just about anything you want to paint, and if you skip this step, you may as well have never even started.

Pour the bottle of 409 into a 5-gallon bucket of warm water. Try not to stir it around or it will foam up. Now, dip the sponge mop into your cleaning solution and start mopping down the walls. The purpose of this exercise is to remove any grease and dirt. This is part of your preparation stage and is very important, so make sure you do a good thorough job. If you plan on painting the ceiling, you'll need to clean that as well.

Once everything is dry, it's time to start masking. Mask off all windows, baseboards, corner, that's what the painters masking tape is for. Don't try to use a different tape, you'll just ruin the job.

Once you've got everything masked, it time to start applying your white coat primer. I recommend KILZ as one of the better brands of primer to use. If you add it on liberally enough, two coats should do it. But after each coat, wait for it to completely dry before adding the next coat. If you can still see the dark color after two coats, you will need to add another. Keep adding coats until you only see white.

After you've added your primer coats and the darker color cannot be seen, it's time to start adding your regular finishing paint. Again, I prefer the automatic roller system because you can get the job done in record time. If you have correctly cleaned and premiered your walls, the brand of paint you use is really up to you. Home Depot has some really great paint at affordable prices.

After you have enough coats and your wall is looking great, it's time to remove the masking tape and paint the baseboards and ceiling molding, if you have any.

This is really a personal choice, but I prefer to use enamel paint for base and molding. A shiny enamel paint really sets off the walls, and enamel paint is long lasting and easy to clean.

ADDED LIST: If you plan on keeping the same carpet, tile, or whatever you have, it is strongly suggested that you use a tarp, or drop clothe before you begin any of your work.

If you will follow those steps, painting over dark colors will be fun.

Happy painting!

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