Feeling in the mood of giving your rooms a facelift? Painting a single wall or a room on your premises seems like a simple DIY job that guarantees to have a significant impact in any space.
When it comes to revamping your interior, you cannot overlook a foolproof process that ensures the color you achieve on your designated areas is what you are hoping for. With so many color choices available in hardware stores, it sometimes helps to take your color for a test drive before you decide on buying it. From sampling chips to evaluating how the color alters when exposed to natural light, there are several essential dos and don’ts you need to take into consideration before you even intend to walk into a paint shop.
Perhaps you have heard through the grapevine that a paint chip color or color swatch never looks exactly the same once it is on your wall. It is partially true. The small paint sample cards may not accurately indicate how the colors would look on your walls. On one hand, you are taking a tiny, handheld cardboard square with your favorite color on it and try it across a spacious flat surface. Bearing in mind that the paint store features fluorescent lights that illuminate and brighten the aisles, your sample color will probably look totally different exposed to your home light fixtures. What is more, we perceive colors in larger quantities in a totally different manner. Hence an entire wall covered in the chosen color might look darker and more vibrant than the sample on the cardboard square. To make sure the pale blue you have chosen is not actually an overwhelming dark purplish blue, read on for more no-fail tricks how to test a paint color to make a good choice.
How to use Color Swatches
1. The Test Drive
The key word is to not just guessing how the color might look on your wall. The most important step in picking a paint color is taking it out of the store’s paint aisle. After choosing a number of hues, bring them home to check how each color corresponds to your home’s surrounding. Sometimes it is also possible, especially with a helpful store assistant, to borrow an entire fan deck of colors and check how the colors illuminate at all times of the day. Bright morning light in comparison to golden afternoon light can cause a dramatic change in how the color is perceived in a room. Some hues are more prone to change when viewed under different light sources. That is why I recommend viewing color swatches in the actual space and lighting conditions. Taupe’s, grays and mauves may look differently in lamp-lit darkness so check how your favorable color looks with a variety of light sources. Another great tip is to check sample boards against the interior decor of your rooms. Some color swatches show coordinating hues that go well with the color on the walls. Do not hesitate to hold the chips against window treatments, sofa covers, artwork or lampshades. It is immensely important to see whether tan walls go well with emerald green sofa cover that you absolutely adore and do not think of changing in the near future.
Bringing color sample home is the best method to know what colors yours are getting before the final decision. To make sure you are satisfied with your color selection, look at them on their actual surfaces and in the correct lighting conditions where you plan to paint it.
2. Applying Paint Samples
After several successful overhauls, I have found that applying paint samples before the final decision on the chosen color and sheen of hue is the crucial part of any house painting job. Even though I must tackle with many squares of wrong colored paint at the end of the renovating project, the practice is certainly worth it.
When you paint a sample board or part of the wall, you can evaluate the color and paint’s finish before spending tons of money on several cans of paint only to realize you loathe the final appearance of the painted area. On more than one occasion I loved how the hue looked on the color swatch where I found it totally disappointing on the flat surface.
With a Color Sample you can:
- try and probe with a wide array of colors before committing to a particular color scheme for a room,
- decide between a large variety of shades and tints of a particular color,
- experiment with different undertones of selected color ( for instance, reds can be bluish or yellowish, like cherry red vs. carrot red and greens only slant in blue and yellow undertones, sea green vs. moss green),
- use undertones to create flow from room to room ( soft teal blue will emphasize and intensify the warm red tones in wooden cabinets),
- identify how a particular color will affect the color scheme in adjoining rooms,
- coordinate your wall color with your carpet and furnishings,
- experiment with enhancing the favorable color with different light sources;
3. Application and Evaluation
There are two ways to evaluate your color selection. You can either apply the hue to the wall or paint a sample board to hold it against designated area. Whichever way you choose, start by asking the Home Department of the hardware store for sample amounts of your favorite colors. Most companies offer miniature containers which might cost a few dollars, but it is a worthy investment.
Advantages of Sample Board Technique:
- a sample board can be made of any hard and inflexible material (cardboard, poster board or scraps of drywall or plywood),
- you can experiment with several sample boards for a prolonged time as you only tape the poster board to the wall, with no need to live with funny shaped blots of paint on different parts of the wall),
- you can carry the painted boards of selected colors with you as consider the color scheme for adjoining rooms,
- there is always the possibility of taking a sample paint board to a shopping trip for other elements of decor that will complement the chosen paint color,
- you can apply on a cardboard your main chosen color, trim color and accent colors to get the best feel of the final result,
- you can move the poster board down to furniture level to see if it matches the decor and furnishings,
- a sample board allows checking how the color alters at different times of day and in the lamp-lit surrounding,
- a cardboard will show how the color interacts with texture as you can see how it looks from a distance,
- finally, the last straw is evaluating how the sample board color affects the flooring, window treatments, and soft furnishings( like deeply hued rugs) in the room;
Wall Sample Technique:
Before painting the designated area, start with a little preparation in order to achieve spectacular and satisfying results:
a)The color sample should be applied on a clean, preferably white background. You will get the truest color if the surface is dry and in a good condition.
b)Paint broad sections of the wall at eye level, using a bristle or a sponge brush (sponge brush is a perfect choice for evaluating color but not recommended for the entire revamping project). Apply two coats of your Color Sample on the patch, and the larger section the better chance to test the color. You can use different areas of the wall to evaluate a variety of colors but once you invest in a primer, it will be possible to paint over the test patch.
c)To get the truest representation of the color, allow the test sections on the wall to dry for at least 3 hours.
d)Once the test patches are completely dry, stand back in the room to see how the color looks from a perspective. You can arrange furniture in front of the test section or hang artwork on the wall, nearby the color patch, to check whether the color complements the decor.
e)The final and most important step is to leave these splashes of several colors on the wall for a while to evaluate how the color changes at different times of the day. An apple green might turn out to appear much brighter on sunny days, or turquoise might prove to be overwhelming to live with. You need to also test how the color splashes will appear in the glow of your lamps when there is no natural light coming through the windows.
Advantages of Wall Sample Technique:
- you will get a more accurate idea of what the finished painting project will look like,
- painting directly on the wall allows you to see how the sample color impacts the appearance of the final color,
- if you have several sample paint cans to test, a wall gives you a chance to see all of them at once from the wider perspective,
- if you hesitate between two or three colors, try painting on opposing walls to create a visual eye trick,
- put your color sample on a number of adjacent walls to check how the chosen hue reacts to different lighting sources,
- you can experiment with the color perception in natural light, with lights on or with candles burning,
- painting directly on the wall gives you a rare chance of getting used to the favorable color selection as you can live with these patches for several days,
- the wall samples can serve as an anchor to see the how the color looks from a distance;
4. Good Advice from the Experts
Once all the inevitable processes are completed and you have made the final decision on the winning hue, do not be shy and consult the experts from the hardware store about what sheen to choose. Based on the designated wall surface that you want to paint, color experts will recommend the best sheen to achieve the color you want. For instance, if you want to refresh your kitchen or bathroom’s walls, you will need to protect the walls from moisture. A hallway or staircase area should have a coat to protect from inevitably appearing fingerprints. During many of my renovating projects, I have found that flat sheen paint will give you the truest and closest color to the sample swatch, whereas high gloss paint or semi-gloss will have a reflective quality that lessens the vibrancy of the selected color.
Testing your color choice in your own home and different lighting conditions is the best and most accurate way to view and evaluate color. Purchasing small containers of demo color sample paints is an economical way to see how your color selection will appear in your home environment before committing the final decision. You can try different color combinations on more than one wall to see how the color looks like as the light changes throughout the day and evening. You will also evaluate how your color choices look with decor elements, such as soft furnishing or flooring.