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How to test paint colors - Kind Home Solutions

The Right Way to Test Paint Colors

Testing your paint colors before you actually start painting is a crucial step to any paint project.  Whether you’re looking at an exterior painting project or interior painting project, you’ll want to test colors to ensure that you’ve found the one you’ll love.  This can be a challenging step for clients and DIYers so we’ve put together a comprehensive how-to for testing and selecting your colors.  Keep reading to learn more!

Choose Your Colors

Person holding up color swatch displaying multiple color options

When it comes to painting, choosing the right colors can be a challenge. Once you have an idea of the color, or color family you’re interested in, you can select colors that you’d like to test out.  We recommend limiting your color options between three to five options.  Colors can get very overwhelming very quickly, especially when you have ten or more swatches painted on a wall. A good guiding rule when selecting a color is to look for a toned-down version of what you envision. So, if you’re looking for a coral color for a bedroom you might be drawn to something like Ravishing Coral SW 6612.

SW 6612 ravishing coral color swatch
Ravishing Coral SW 6612

This is a very true coral color, but when you have it painted on a large surface it can easily overpower the space. Instead, you should look for that color in a more ashy or grayed out tone.  In this instance, something like Persimmon SW 6339 would soften that color and make it a bit more usable. Be sure to check out the Sherwin Williams Color Visualizer tool to help you pick that perfect color for your home.

Persimmon SW 6339 color swatch
Persimmon SW 6339

Pick Up Some Paint Samples

Once you’ve selected a few colors you think you might like, it’s time to buy paint samples.  This step is critical to help make sure you actually love the color you go with.  You should test out the color by actually painting swatches on a testing board or directly on your home.  You certainly don’t need any fancy boards to test colors out, grab some old cardboard to save money.  Whenever you paint samples, make sure you’re getting full coverage so that you can see the true color.  This usually requires two coats, because most most samples are painted with a brush or roller rather than a sprayer.

By using a board, you can move the sample around and see it under different lighting conditions.  Another great option is to use a service like Samplize.  Samplize allows you to order real paint samples online that are drawn up on a large sticker. You can easily move the sticker around your house without damaging walls. Samplize is currently only recommended or testing interior paint colors. Use the code FIRSTFIVE for a discount on your first order!

Where to Paint Your Samples

If you test colors by painting them directly onto a surface of your home you are adding texture to the substrate.  This added layer of paint can cause problems when it comes to coverage so there are some things to keep in mind.  Never test paint samples on a door or on surfaces like stucco.  The application process can change the texture of those surfaces and you may be able to see where the sample was painted even after you’ve covered it.

various colors of samples painted on wall

Your garage door is always a great option as is trim, walls, and siding. For sampling paint colors on brick, we recommend an area that is not highly visible like behind an ac unit or on the side of the house. To help visualize the color, make sure your sample is no smaller than 1 foot by 1 foot.

Review Your Samples

Check your samples throughout the day. It’s important to look at them at different times of the day and under different lighting conditions to get a feel for the color and how it will actually come across within your space. For exteriors keep in mind that the color may look different on different sides of your home depending on how much sunlight each side receives.  Color is just a reflection of light so the things around your house, even the colors of your neighbor’s homes can impact how your paint color will look in real life.  The lighter the color, the more impact the surrounding features may have on how the color appears. 

Trust Your Instincts

Variety of pain samples splayed out on top of eachother

Paint colors are an expression of who you are and your personality.  You’ve got to go with your gut, regardless of what’s trendy or what other people say because, at the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live with that paint color. Professional assistance and input are fantastic and can always be taken into consideration. However, at the end of the day, this is about what you like!  Trust yourself and CHOOSE to love the color you go with.  This is the number one tip we can give you so try and have fun with it!

If you still need help selecting colors, be sure to check out the Kind Home Solutions Design Center to learn more!




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