How to Sample Paint Colors

Posted on November 14, 2022

When it comes to choosing colors for your space, it can be hard to choose between similarly loved shades. Ultimately, it comes down to what looks best with the existing decor and lighting in your home. How can you guess which color will work the best? Using a paint sample! You’ll be able to create a swatch on your wall that can help take the guesswork out of color selection. Keep reading for our best tips on sampling so you can make the best possible choice.

paint sample chip cards
Tiny chip cards work well when comparing shades against each other. But to get a true feel for the color in your space, you’ll need to look at a larger sample.

Firstly, when you’re looking at the big displays of paint chips, don’t expect that tiny square to suffice as a sample. You’ll need to see a large area of color to get a true idea of what it will look like. And if you’re painting the same shade throughout multiple rooms, you’ll want to see it in each space. Color is light reflection, so you’ll want to see the color in all variations – in and out of sunlight, different light bulb temperatures, and different times of day.

mixing a gallon of paint
You don’t need to purchase a gallon of paint to get enough for a swatch.

The best way to create a swatch is to use actual paint. Paint stores like Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and even Lowes offer sample sizes of paint. However, remember that you’ll want to paint onto poster board, not directly onto the wall. The color below your swatch will impact how it looks and will sway your opinion. We recommend using 2-3 coats to make it opaque and cutting off any raw paint edges so it looks tidy. If that seems like too much work, you can order peel and stick swatches from Sherwin Williams or services like Samplize. We recommend placing your sample on the door, up against the trim to block out that influential previous paint color.

painting directly on a wall
Don’t paint directly on the wall to avoid the previous color’s undertone peaking through. Remember, this is why professionals use primers.

Last tip, when you’re looking at the swatch card, we recommend going one shade lighter indoors, and one shade darker for exterior projects. The amount of light will impact the color so sunnier, outdoor spots will get washed out.

If you’re ready to talk colors, reach out to CertaPro today to schedule a free estimate and ask how you can qualify for a complimentary color consultation.

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