Buying a paint tester? You bet!

You have no idea how often I have seen it happen. You chose your paint color and are convinced beyond any doubts about it being the right one. So you go ahead buy the paint and start painting your room or have your painter do it. And as you see the room being transformed, you think to yourself that it looks somehow too: (choose the right one) dark / light / dirty / bright / cold / warm / yellow / blue or some other thing. You were told that you need two coats of paint so you say to yourself that it just isn’t finished yet and you persevere.  Only to realize after spending your entire weekend painting, that this beautiful teal color you spent about a month to choose doesn’t work in your study. Let’s face it! It looks ugly, doesn’t fit with your belongings, or simply doesn’t convey the feel you were after. It’s a huge disappointment. It looked so beautiful on your swatch. How can it not work?

Well first of all looking at a small swatch simply isn’t the same as having an entire room or wall covered in that color. Colors have undertones that will only be visible on large swatches. By large I mean at least an A4 or US letter size. So next time, even if you are really sure go out of your way and get yourself a paint tester. There are almost no companies who don’t have them. Narrow your choice down to two or three colors. Buying two-dozen paint testers won’t help you making a choice.

Paint a large swatch on a big piece of nice white paper and look at it at different times of the day, with different lighting, and on different walls. Only then will you get a sense of what the color will look like once it is applied on the walls.  And sometimes the color you thought to be perfect will turn out just like you had imagined, but if it doesn’t you won’t have spent too much money and time on something you don’t like!

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  • I have a set of 3′ x 3′ painted samples of 50 neutrals from Benjamin Moore and it is amazing how much it has helped clients select a colour. It’s great that paint stores offer the samples now.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Hi Carol, yes large samples really make a difference as it is much easier to see the undertones of a color that otherwise would barely be noticed on a stamp size swatch!ReplyCancel

  • Lara

    Can you believe, in France it is really really hard to get paint samples. And if you can, expect to pay around 7euros for one (yikes). But I found a lovely, local paint shop that does the brand Ressources (beautiful paints, huge range), who will loan out A4 cards painted up with their colours, and if you really need a bigger sample, they will do an A1 size too. Fab! It does mean that I encourage my clients to use this brand, though, since it is so much easier to ensure I am picking the right colours with their big swatch cards…ReplyCancel

  • Lisa@CozyCondoLiving

    I’ve learned not to paint the sample directly onto my white walls which I’ve done in the past. I change my mind too much and even the white wall distorts the color.ReplyCancel

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