The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done In My Life: Paint Walls Black

No joke, people!  Painting walls black should be left strictly to the professionals ;-) But being that I had a budget for paint, supplies and nothing beyond that, I had to make do and painted our office black myself.  If you are going to embark on such a task, here are a few tips to follow (please feel free to comment with any others you might have).

  1. First and foremost, reconsider doing this yourself.  Sorry, but I have to say it.  Unless you are one of the few who find taping off a wall, painting and then repainting at least 1-3 more times therapeutic in some way, really reevaluate your budget and see if there is room to hire a painter.  You will not regret it.
  2. If you decide to move forward, buy only the best paint and supplies.  This is an absolute MUST.  Buy only the best grade of paint.  In my case it was Aura by Benjamin Moore (~$60/gallon) and thank GOD I went with this one (more on that later).  Additionally, use the best rollers and brushes possible and invest in a brush that extends so that you can go from the top of the wall to the bottom in one clean motion.  For real, this will cost you an additional $4.  Do it.
  3. Use Frog Tape.  This stuff is the best.  Apply it as you would any other painter’s tape and to activate the adhesive, run a damp cloth over the tape before you begin painting.  There is a huge difference between Frog Tape and regular painter’s tape.  You will understand the magnitude of that statement after using it for the first time.
  4. To prime or not to prime?  Since the paint I selected was a primer/paint in one, I opted not to prime my walls first.  If I were to do this again, I would definitely still prime the walls even though the guy at the paint store told me I didn’t need to.  I like to think that primer/paint combos are kind of like those shampoo/conditioners in one (does anyone even use those?) and to achieve the best look, you need to keep the two separated.  However, if you are going to prime your walls first, do save yourself some time and ask that they pre-tint the primer (a little tip I learned on YouTube AFTER I already started painting).  If you are painting your walls black, your pre-tinted primer would be some shade of grey instead of white… and painting black over grey is WAY easier than painting black over white.
  5. Now that you’ve moved your furniture out and taped everything off, paint around the edges and any trim as you would normally.  However, do this once with a paint brush and then again with a small roller.  Any discrepancies in texture, thickness and application WILL show, including places where it has been painted with a brush as opposed to a roller.
  6. Paint the remainder of your wall with a roller and work from top to bottom.  You will need more than one coat so make sure your first coat is applied generously.  After applying my first coat in vertical strokes, I applied a second in W strokes (big mistake with black walls) so I applied the third coat in vertical strokes with a roller extender.  LIFE SAVER.  Being able to apply one row from top to bottom in one smooth motion was absolutely key.
  7. If the paint looks uneven while it’s drying [don’t freak out]……….. but………. it’s going to look uneven when it’s dry.  It isn’t going to look as bad when it’s dry, but it won’t even-out a ton when dry as lighter colors seem to do.  Take into consideration how much paint is on your roller more than ever before.  One stroke with medium coverage next to another stroke with slightly more paint on the roller is going to show.  Sorry, but it’s true.  Technique is absolutely key with black paint.
  8. Lastly, don’t take yourself too seriously (unless you are a professional painter).  It is not going to look perfect in every form of light shining from every which angle, but with some patience and practice, it’ll be pretty damn close… and it’ll be worth it!

More pictures to come!  If you have any questions or advice from experience, feel free to comment away :-)

2 thoughts on “The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done In My Life: Paint Walls Black

  1. Girl – this looks FIERCE. I know how tough painting can be, but by the looks of these snippets I think it turned out pretty well! I’d love to paint our bathroom black someday. Can’t wait to see the rest!!

    Nook & Sea

    • Thanks, Kristina!!! It seriously looks awesome and was so worth all of the work. I’ve been wanting to paint a room black forever and this ended up being the perfect opportunity. We have a little more work to do in that space and then I’ll share some pics of the final product :-)

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