How to Paint Walls a Dark Colour

Using a dark colour on your walls can add a layer of depth and cosiness, in what is otherwise a neutral room.

And dark walls don’t necessarily make a space look smaller, contrary to popular belief. If done right, they can add the illusion of more space.

You don’t have to paint every wall, of course. Just adding an accent wall can transform your room.

When painting a room with a dark colour, it is easiest to hire a paint sprayer. Cover all of your furnishings and remove anything you can take out of the room, and then the job can be done in minutes. No messy paint trays or rollers are needed.

A paint sprayer will also give you an even finish. Streaks can appear if using brushes or rollers, and dark paint is really unforgiving, so a paint sprayer will help give a smooth result. Pick a high-quality paint, too.




If using a paint sprayer, use eye protection and wear a mask. Disposable coveralls and gloves will also protect your clothing and skin. Buy any PPE you need from Speedy alongside your hire products.

However, and whatever, you choose to paint, we have some tips below on how to bring your room into the dark side.


Tips for Painting Walls a Dark Colour


  1. Choose the right colour

When we say dark, we don’t mean you have to go for a real bordering-on-black hue. A light navy blue, natural green, or even a dark beige, can still give your room a darker feeling without feeling too weighted.

You can then darken it a bit with décor, or by using dark rugs and moody lighting.



A lighter hue is great if your room doesn’t get much natural light. However, if you do have big windows and lots of sunlight in your home, don’t be afraid of really dark colours. The light will balance it, and the darker you go, the less likely the light will be to wash it out.


  1. Prep

Dark colours can be unforgiving. If you have uneven walls, or walls which need filling in, they can be more obvious under dark paint than light colours.

So, you’re going to want to identify all of your holes and marks in the wall and fill them in, before sanding down once dry. Remove picture hooks and fill in, too.

You may also want to hire a drywall sander to prep your surface if you have large uneven areas of plaster.

If you need to remove wallpaper, read our guide on how to remove wallpaper first and hire a wallpaper steamer to help make the job so much easier.


  1. Use bleed-proof masking tape

Masking tape is really essential when painting, to give you a smooth paint line. However, it can sometimes be a missed step if you think a steady hand is all you need and are happy to go over any paint which has got onto the ceiling or skirting boards afterwards.

However, dark paint can be trickier to cover with white. So, rather than rectifying your mistake, you want to avoid it altogether.

Good quality masking tape which is completely bleed proof will be key here.


  1. Blank out previous colours

It is easier to go from light to dark than it is from dark to light. But you should still bring your walls to a neutral colour before painting.

This will help you get the colour exactly right. Painting over an existing colour could mean your dark paint doesn’t look the right hue or lacks the colour depth.

So, unless your walls are already neutral, paint them first with a plain white base coat. This can be cheap, everyday paint.

Then, your dark colour will be the colour it is meant to be.


SPEEDY TOP TIP: if your old colour is particularly bright or bold and it will take a lot of white coats of paint to cover it, you may want to use a dedicated primer or undercoat instead. Choose a dark primer or grey if going from light to dark.


  1. Decide what to paint

If you have low ceilings or a small room, dark walls don’t have to make the room look even smaller. Painting skirting and coving the same colour can give the illusion of taller walls.

On the other hand, if you have really tall ceilings or a large room and want to give the illusion of it being smaller and cosier, painting your ceiling the same dark colour can really help.

Remember that you don’t even have to paint the whole wall dark if you don’t want to. A half wall, with the bottom half dark and the top cream, can still have an impact without looking as imposing, as can painting up to the picture rail on tall walls.

You can also just paint coving or chimney breasts. Feature walls will never go out of date if you style them right.

Painting radiators the same colour can help bring it all together, and painting doors instead of walls could be a good idea if you think fully dark walls will be too much.


  1. Pick an accent colour to lift

Have you chosen to paint your walls dark blue? Pick another colour to complement and lift it, using décor.

Yellows, greens, and neutrals are all great options. Plants, lighting choices, and mirrors can really lift it, as can large wall prints.





Thank you for reading our Speedy Hire blog, we hope you found these tips on how to paint your walls a dark colour helpful.

If you will be using a paint sprayer, read through our blog on how to use a paint sprayer first.

To hire all of your DIY and decorating equipment, all you need to do is open a Speedy account to order online or visit us in-store.

Speedy has more than 200 local service centres across the nation, hire counters in selected B&Qs and nationwide 4-hour delivery. It has never been easier to hire the tools and equipment you need when you need them.


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