Have you recently finished painting a wall and now wondering why it looks different than the paint swatch? It’s not just you; a variety of things might influence whether a newly painted wall looks lighter or darker than you anticipated. Is it true that when paint gets dry it appears to dry darker or lighter?

While painting an accent wall, the paint in the interior and exterior walls may look dry darker, or lighter and it depends on the type of paint and also the environment.

Does Paint Get Darker As It Dries?

Also, the paint will appear darker if it is surrounded by the light color surroundings, or else the previous wall color was a lighter shade.

Paint finishes like gloss may make the paint look darker as it reflects light whereas the flat paint appears to be lighter due to its light absorption property.

Paints typically dry darker due to many factors like light, quality, or surroundings, also, oil, acrylic, and latex paints tend to dry darker than the color on the paint swatch.

But the best method to avoid this is to mix the paint properly and leave the first coat of paint for 8hrs to dry fully. All paints contain pigment, binders, and a solvent.

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So, the deep maroon might appear bright red as due to pigments the paint might look lighter or darker than it is.

Befuddling, isn’t it? Dig down this article till the end to get a comprehensive answer.

What Factors Affect The Paint Color After Drying?

Always apply enough paint coats that take ample time to dry, as it will also impact the paint color’s appearance if we apply a second coat before drying the first coat. Also, many factors affect the paint color which is as follow

1.) Type Of Finish You Want:

The sheen of the paint depends upon the type of paint you are using; is it flat paint, glossy paint, or satin paint. Paints do not dry darker or lighter when dry it’s just the quality of the paint and environmental factors that made it so.

Gloss finish may look darker as paint reflects light so the pigment is unable to absorb more light thus appears darker.

Eggshell and satin paint are light absorbers and stay close to swatch color with a matte or eggshell finish. Also, you can clean up the wall if there’s any stain on it.

Flat paint’s chalky appearance is ideal for the drywall as it can cover a textured wall (mudded one).

2.) Environment Of The Painting:

Undoubtedly, not only the paint but the color scheme of the paint with plants, pictures, and furniture also matters a lot. So, before trying to paint your room walls, try a few samples first of the color you are going to paint to get an idea about how a color looks.

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Always create a cohesive color scheme that means contrast with lighter and darker shades, wait for it to dry, and take a look. Pairing a dark color with other shades will make your paint darker as it is rich in colors.

3.) Lighting In The Area:

Lighting in the area is also another factor that makes the paint look darker than it is. So, natural light should strike with the new paint’s surface, as it shows the true colors of your paint.

Moreover, the sheen and finish of dark colors usually look darker in a room when it dries because of the position light sources differently but it should feel smooth on touch. That’s why it is better to use primer on the surface before painting.

4.) New Or Old Paint:

The paint will fade over time. The pigments will react with their surroundings and degrade slightly with age.

Due to the iron used to manufacture the pigment, colors that are red or similar to red such as orange, have a higher chance of fading over time. It is more susceptible to environmental damage. Also, the sunny room might experience more fading due to many factors like UV damage and much more.

So, Does Paint Get Darker As It Dries?

Simply no, but it depends upon the quality of the paints and also the type of paint you are using. Dark paints tend to dry darker and light paints are slightly darker than they are but it also depends on the contrast scheme with room accessories.

What Are Some Basic Tips To Avoid Darker Than Expected Paint?

Here are some tips for managing paint that would be darker or lighter than desired. This isn’t an extensive list, but here are some points to consider before initiating your next painting project.

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  • Get quality paint for effective results.
  • Always do paint above 60o
  • Always use a primer before painting.
  • Make sure to keep humidity less than 70%, better to be around 50%.
  • Stir your paint thoroughly before use.
  • Better to avoid touching up the paint.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

1.) Does Paint Get Darker When A Second Coat Is Applied?

When you use a second coat of paint it will not make the paint darker but to prevent noticeable dark streaks apply a second coat when the first coat of the paint settles in. Moreover, when you apply a second coat it will not darken and deepen the color but will make the paint richer in colors.

2.) Is There Any Effect Of Heat In Darkening The Paint?

Heat has a huge part in the darkening of the paint as paint thickens at low temperatures but it may crease or wrap at higher temperatures.

So, trying to paint only between 35-100 F and low humidity is also crucial while painting, as in humid areas paints don’t go well and give off paint chips, bubbles, and cracks that might ruin all the area.


Good quality paints and brushes are best if you want to avoid paint that is considerably darker or brighter than expected when it dries out. Do we hope the answer to the query Does paint get darker as it dries? is clear now with a better understanding.


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