Need help picking the right paint color?

Paint samples - large versus small samples

So, you’ve decided to repaint your walls. When you head to your favorite DIY store, you’ll likely be faced with thousands of tiny color swatches. How can you possibly choose a color for your walls based on such a small paint sample?

Warning:  Be aware that the paint color on a small paint sample looks darker then the color itself.

Here are some smart tips to help you choose:

When renovating our office, I found myself debating between four colors for the feature wall. To solve the dilemma, I bought poster size 18×24 swatches of each color.  Not all stores provide these, but if they don’t you can make your own using white board paper. The beauty of large samples is that you can move them around to see how the color looks during different times of the day. “It’s amazing how a pretty ‘honeydew melon’ takes on Shrek’s complexion in certain light,” says Tracy, one of our Facebook fans. Ha!

With the poster-size samples, I also held each color close to our furniture to get a feel for how they would interact. The large samples give you a better idea of the color, and are squint-free compared to smaller swatches. Each poster costs $8 and is well worth it.

Another option is to buy a small can of paint (1/4 gallon) to test each color on your walls—just know that you’ll end up with patches of paint on your walls until you choose a color.

Notice how light the colors look in the morning, when daylight shines on the posters, versus in the late afternoon light.

Morning daylight

Late afternoon daylight

Paint samples large dark light

After a week of experimenting with these four colors, I picked “Tortoise,” the orange shade, for the feature wall in our office.

Note: this wall color is from six years ago; we’ve moved to a new office space since then. It’s not a paint color I’d pick today, but the concept is still very valid. Each time a wall at the office (or at home) needs a fresh coat of paint, we either buy or make our own color posters. 

Paint samples we picked the paint colour tortoise from Home Depot

If you want to make your own large paint color samples, check this easy step-by-step  How to.

Making paint swatches

What do you think? Is this something you’d try next time you paint? Please share in the comment box below.

Thanks for dropping by!

Liette Tousignant

 Co-Founder of Under The Roof Decorating


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