When selecting the perfect paint color for their dream home, many novices will paint sheets of paper or sample boards with various options. Their intention is to get a feel for how the hues look during different times of the day as sunlight changes so that they can choose the best shade. The challenge is that paint does not render itself correctly on anything except walls.
Instead, professionals recommend the following four tips to pick the best paint color.
1. Let there be light. If you haven’t selected your light fixtures for the room you plan to paint, do that first. Overhead lighting alters the way the paint color appears. For example, off-white paint will appear as a soft honey color with most overhead lighting options. Light bulbs also impact shades of paint, so nail down your lighting and light bulbs before you begin your search for preferred paint colors.
2. Test shades by painting directly on the walls. To select the best shade for your home’s interior and exterior, paint on the actual wall. Painted sheets of paper and boards have different textures than walls and do not saturate the colors the same way walls do. Instead, paint tones you want to test side-by-side on the wall and then look at them periodically throughout the day to determine the winner.
3. Try sample cans first. If you’re hiring professional painters, ask if they offer free sample cans of the paint colors you want to test. Most do, however you usually have to ask. Even if you are planning on painting yourself, start with sample cans because once the paint is mixed, you cannot return it. The last thing you want to do is be stuck with a bunch of gallons of different colored paint. Most big box home improvement stores sell sample cans. For example, Lowe’s offers Benjamin Moore® paint samples for just $4.99 per 15.75 ounce can. At other stores, expect to pay between $3 to $8 per sample can. This nominal fee is definitely worth the investment to choose and commit to the right hue before painting an entire room.
4. Paint two feet of two coats. To truly test paint colors, be sure to paint two coats which is the typical amount of coverage required for any interior wall. Paint in large swaths—at least one foot by one foot, to get a real feel for the color. If it’s possible to paint larger test areas, go for it! Just don’t paint tiny two-inch swatches and expect to be able to ascertain which shade is the best. If deep hues are part of your consideration set, be sure to use a primer. Some rich tones, such as those offered by Sherwin Williams, are created in conjunction with specific primers. When you go to buy sample paint colors, ask if there is a specific primer that is supposed to be used to ensure you don’t compromise the true paint color.
Article by: Jennifer Elkow
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