Taking Paint for a Test Drive

How to work with sample colors at home

As exciting as it can be to paint a room in a new color, choosing the color (or colors) can be one of the most intimidating parts of the process. Paint has the power to transform a room, so you want to make sure the color you select is one you’ll be happy with.
So, faced with a seemingly endless supply of paint chips, how do you arrive at your final decision? Here are the steps you can take to choose paint colors, and get the results you expect.

Start broad and narrow it down quickly. Assuming you’ve settled on a color family, bring home a dozen or so different hues to contemplate. Then, keep them in the room you plan to plan and look at them in different light to see how they change. Bright daylight, late afternoon light, nighttime with interior lighting. Then narrow your choices down to your top two or three.
color samples
Color Samples, Benjamin Moore


Start sampling. Once you have your short list, get samples and bring them home to try out. Most paint companies offer sample-sized cans, and even if they aren’t free, it’s worth the small investement.

Get ready to test paint. Before you start brushing broad strokes on the wall, you’ll want to set the stage. Make sure the lighting is set the way it will be when the room is in use, so you don’t get a false sense of how the color will read. The color of the existing wall will also affect how the paint reads. If you are painting a dark wall with a lighter color, you might want to apply primer to the area to are going to test, assuming you’ll be using primer in the final project.

Paint away. There are three main things to keep in mind once you’re ready to apply some sample paint. First, don’t go too small. We recommend test painting an area of at least 1′ x 1′. Second, apply two coats of paint. This is the reality of most paint jobs, so two coats gives you the most accurate picture. And finally, test paint more than one wall if you can. Again, lighting has a big impact on how a color will read, so testing it out on a wall that gets a lot of sun vs. one that doesn’t, for example, will give you more information upon which to make your final color decision.


Other options

If you’re hesitant to paint right on the walls, you can try this little “hack.” Apply some of your sample paint direclty to a piece of white foam board (available at any craft or office supply store), let it dry and apply a second coat. Then, using blue painter’s tape, hang the board in the room you plan to paint.

There are also lots on online tools to help you visualize the colors you are considering. The Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer, for example, lets you upload photos and apply and of their throusand of paint colors to see how they will look. An online method will never be as accurate as painting a swatch in the actual room, but tools like these can be a great place to start if you need to narrow down colors from a long list of contenders.

Finishing thoughts

Once you’ve settled on the perfect color, you’ll have one more choice to make – the finish. Different finishes have their pros and cons, and eggshell is often the best option, you might want something else. A flat finish will help hide imperfections, but it will show scuffs and dings more as time goes on. A high gloss finish is durable, but they tend to show imperfections walls. We will always make a recommendation based on your situation.

25% off
The Fine Print: Offer is for interior painting work only. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. All work must be completed by February 28, 2017. Ceilings must be eight foot or less. Accepted and scheduled jobs DO NOT Qualify, but new additional work scheduled by Friday, February 10th will qualify.
Book your interior painting job (including kitchen cabinets) by February 10 and get 25% off and a free ceiling painting for each room you are having painted. Work must be completed in February of 2017 and ceilings must be eight feet or less. Call 508-362-8023 or schedule an estimate online


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