enter image description hereI have a wall in my dining room that has had a pine wood bookcase hanging on it for 13 years. Today, I unscrewed it from the wall so that I can paint the wall. But every time the paint dries, a ‘shadow’ remains on the wall exactly where parts of the wooden bookcase were touching it. I’m guessing that something has seeped out of the wood and into the wall.

Photo of the wall. Sorry, the light is poor in this corner. But you can hopefully see the darker, horizontal strips where the bookcase shelves used to be - despite 3 coats of paint. The new paint is the same make and colour as the original. It is emulsion, chalky and has a very matt finish (it is made by Farrow & Ball, New White No.59).

There is no indentation in the wall from where the shelves were. But the paint finish looks and feels different in the places where the shelves were.

It is a brick wall, between my house and my neighbour’s.

The ‘shadow’ was visible on the wall when I took the bookcase down, and is sadly still there.

Can anyone suggest what might be going on here and how I can get rid of the shadow?

Many thanks for any help you can give me.

  • 1
    could you include a picture? what kind of paint are you using? is it drywall wall behind the paint?
    – depperm
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 16:42
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. What kind of (painted) walls are these? And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 16:46
  • 2
    Primer. Prime the wall then paint.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 16:53
  • Did the area behind the bookcase look visually different when you started? Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 17:09
  • 1
    If it's an actual shadow, 40 coats of paint and still the princess will feel the pea. Likely the bookcase left a physical depression in the wall. The only way to remedy that is with a drywall sander or a skim coat, or both ideally. - So which is it: color staining coming through, or the wall is messed up?
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 8:17

3 Answers 3


I use a shellac based primer for things such as this. It has better hiding ability then just paint or regular primer.

Give it two or more coats and see if it hides the problem and then you can apply the final paint.

If you still see a shadow after the shellac primer you could try a coat of bonding primer over the shellac primer.


Texture differences are hard to fix. A quick solution is to add a layer of 1/4 inch drywall. Prime and paint as usual.

  • Seems like a skim coat would be much less work and yield the same results.
    – isherwood
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 18:50

It looks like the problem is not so much anything "seeping through" the paint, but rather different textures that reflect light differently.

You could cover the flat spots with a texturing compound or texture paint that either matches the existing texture or has a complimentary texture. It might take a little practice, but you could blend the texture in to the existing and hide the flat spots.

You can get different textures depending on how you apply it, but you may have to do the whole wall or even the entire room to get everything to match up perfectly. It's not a lot harder than giving the wall or room a coat of paint.

I've used similar products in the past, and they work pretty well. I applied the pre-mixed sandy texture paint with a long-napped roller and saved having to re-plaster rooms and hidden patches in popcorn ceilings.

Once the texturing dries, just paint as normal.

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