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How to Mute a Wall Color

Choosing a paint color is not an exact process. Lighting, floor covering and upholstery fabrics used in a room can affect the way a paint color appears. Just because it looks great on a paint chip does not mean you will get the same look at home. If the paint color you selected ends up being too bright on your walls, there is a way to mute the bright color and soften the results. It's a simple process that requires painting a sheer color on top of the walls to arrive at the perfect effect.


Step 1

Purchase a glaze base from the paint store.  Glaze is liquid base that can be mixed with pigments to create a transparent color.

Glaze is sold in cans just like paint and is sometimes placed with the faux finish materials in a retail store. 


Step 2

Select the paint color that will help mute the wall color.  Brown, black and white are all used to mute brighter colors.

White creates a chalky, muted result and will tone down bright pastels.  Brown or black add a sophisticated look to bright reds, purples, blues, yellows and greens.

You can also use the same paint color only a shade or two darker to mute the original color. 


Step 3

Prepare sample boards for testing your glaze before applying it.  Foam core or plywood works fine.

Cut the material into sample sizes of 12 by 12 inches.  Cut as many as you need to create the number of samples required.

Prime the material with the same primer you used to cover the walls.  Apply the same number of coats of paint color you used on the wall over the primer and allow to dry before applying the test glaze.


Step 4

Mix the glaze base with your paint choice.  Glaze is typically mixed one part paint color to three parts of glaze.

For example, one cup of paint color to three cups of glaze will give you a quart.  However, if you find through the sample process that the result is darker than you want, mix a new batch of glaze and add a little less paint color to the glaze.

Create a test sample to see if the results work better for your situation. 


Step 5

Create your test samples.  Roll, rag or brush the glaze over a prepared sample board.

Try each type of application with your glaze to see which one suits your needs.  Add a second application to one sample to see how two coats of glaze look.

These are samples, so be as creative as you want with them, but be sure to write down how you achieved the results so you can duplicate it on the wall. 


Step 6

Prep the room for applying the glaze.  Use painter's tape and drop cloths to protect the floor and surrounding areas.


Step 7

Mix your final glaze choice and apply to the wall.  Apply the glaze in 2- to 3-foot patches.

Step back about 10 feet and view your work occasionally to make sure you are not favoring one area more with the glaze than others. 

Things You Will Need

  • Foam core
  • Primer
  • Glaze base
  • Wall paint color
  • Cotton rags, sea sponges, paint rollers, brushes
  • Drop cloth
  • Painter's tape
  • Painter's bucket to mix glaze in
  • Paint stir sticks

Tip

  • Be methodical about your sampling process and record the amount of paint and glaze you used to get your results on the back of each sample board. This will help you will get more accurate results when you mix your glaze for the wall application.

About the Author

Alex Burke holds a degree in environmental design and a Master of Arts in information management. She's worked as a licensed interior designer, artist, database administrator and nightclub manager. A perpetual student, Burke writes Web content on a variety of topics, including art, interior design, database design, culture, health and business.