What to Do if You Hate Your Paint Job (Yep, You Can Save It!)
Or maybe you wanted to upcycle a piece of furniture you saved from the curb, but your attempt at a white shabby-chic paint job ruined your previously-very-cool antique find. Don’t worry, all is not lost! Here’s what to do if you hate your paint job.
What to do if you hate your wall color
Did your pink accent wall end up looking a little more bubblegum than blush? How long do you have to wait before you can try again? In theory, a couple of hours.
“Most latex interior paint is going to dry in two to three hours,” says Wayne Rushing, professional painter in Jackson, Tennessee. Although, he adds, “you might wait overnight if you want to be 100 percent sure.”
To prevent the regret from happening in the first place, Rushing recommends testing a spot on the wall or even testing an entire wall with your chosen paint color before painting the whole room.
If you’re changing your paint color from dark to light, you’ll likely need to prime in between the color change. Rushing says to spot test to see if the color will shine through, but assume you’ll need to prime again and then apply two coats of your new color.
His time-saving trick? “I like to get the primer tinted the same color as I’m going to be applying,” he says. That may save you from having to apply several coats.
What to do if you hate your trim color
Thought you’d add a pop of color to your hallway by painting the trim, but now you’d rather just have clean, white lines?
If the trim has been painted with an oil-based paint, which is common, then you’ll want to make sure you use an oil-based paint on top of it. If you’re going from a stain to a paint color, you’ll need to do a little more work.
“If it’s stained, you’ll definitely want to sand it,” says Rushing. “Remove the sheen off of the stained trim by sanding, then you’ll need to prime it.” After that, he said, it’s standard to put two coats of paint on the trim.
What to do if you hate your painted furniture or cabinets
You did a great job painting your dresser. It’s not your skill that’s in question, it’s the paint color. What now?
Rushing says that if you’re just wanting to change the color, you can simply paint over it—assuming that you followed proper protocol the first time around (sanded it down and applied a good primer).
If you’re looking to strip a piece of wooden furniture back down to its original finish, it’s a little bit more complicated. “You’re going to need to strip the paint, but that will damage the surface,” says Jonathan Rios, professional painter and owner of Rios Interiors in New York City. Translation: You’re not going to get the exact wood look you started with.
If that’s what you’re going for, know that it is going to take a little bit of time and effort. A chemical stripper can help do some of the heavy lifting before you go in with sandpaper. Once you strip the paint off, you can stain your furniture the color you want; then, apply a polyurethane to seal.
What to do if you hate your painted tile
You really felt like a DIY master when you painted your bathroom tile. You even did a cool stencil pattern! Or at least, it was cool in your mind but now it looks… off.
The key to re-painting tile so you can get it right? Rios says that the hard part—prepping your tile—has been done, so for best results, you’ll just need to prime it once again with a bonding primer like INSL-X Stix so that the new color can adhere just as well as the color you’ve changed your mind about.
“If you don’t want to go through the hassle of priming it again and it’s a similar color, you can just apply the paint,” says Rios. “But if you’re going from a dark gray to a white, I recommend priming again.”
If you’ve stenciled a design on your tile, he recommends lightly sanding the area you’ve stenciled, cleaning it, and then priming that before going over with your new paint color.
What to do if you hate your painted accessories
Perhaps you previously painted a light fixture a bright color, but now you’re thinking a classic black would better suit your space—or the other way around!
“It depends on the material of the fixture, but you’re probably going to have to use an oil-based paint because they usually have a slick finish,” says Jamie Sbisa, professional painter of over 20 years in Slidell, Louisiana. He explains that oil-based paint will stick to the fixture, while latex might eventually scratch off. While it’s not absolutely necessary, Sbisa says if you’re planning to repaint a fixture, you could use KILZ Primer Spray to prime it before painting the fixture its new oil-based color.
What to do if you hate your painted brick
You painted your brick white. It was the cozy-chic thing to do! But now… you’re not so sure.
In theory, you could apply a paint stripper and dedicate a whole lot of time and sweat to reversing it. But in actuality, it might be easier to learn to love the color—Sbisa says it’s nearly impossible to reverse paint on brick.
“The paint fills in all the pores in the bricks and you’re not getting it out,” he says. If it’s just interior latex paint on brick, you could possibly pressure-wash it out, but if it’s been painted with a sealer coat on top or if it’s oil-based, it’s likely not coming off.
Your best bet for finding something you love? Choosing a new color. If you want to re-paint, Rios recommends painting over it using a Block Filler paint that’s been tinted to your color preference.
What to do if you hate your painted wood floors
If you painted your wood floors and are now thinking you liked them better in their natural wood finish, Sbisa recommends sanding them down with a heavy disk sander—which will be costly and very messy, he warns—staining them, and then applying a varnish finish.
If you just want to change the color, he says you can simply paint right over the top, although it wouldn’t hurt to sand it a bit.
Does it matter whether you’re going from a light to a dark color or vise-versa? “Either way, you’ll probably have to paint two coats and allow at least a day to dry,” he says.
Sbisa recommends using an oil-based paint for flooring since it’s most durable.
Overall, Sbisa says that when painting, take your time and know that it’s always going to take two coats, so don’t jump to conclusions about whether you hate or love something after your first stroke.
After two coats if you really do hate the color, then (unless it’s a brick wall!) you’re in luck: Nothing is permanent and you can always re-paint.
If repainting really sounds like more than you can handle at the moment, you can also change around a few things in your space to help your paint color grow on you.