How to Use Paint Samples to Pick the Perfect Paint Color

Sherwin-Williams peel and stick wall paint samples.

The first step to beginning any interior paint project is selecting the right paint color for the job—this can be quite challenging with the abundant choices of colors, finishes, sheens, and products on the market. How do you know you’re choosing the perfect paint for your project? Using tools like color swatches can be helpful to start narrowing your color search, and even tools like the Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap® Paint Color Visualizer can be incredibly helpful to see what the color will look like in the room. But even swatches and room visualizers have their limitations.

Swatches look significantly different than actual paint on a wall—and look different in the store. You’re taking a very small piece of cardstock and applying it to the large surface of a whole wall, or better yet, an entire room. Lighting, room size, your furniture and decor all impact your decision. To truly determine the perfect color paint for your project, paint samples are a vital step in the process.

Follow this “how to” guide for the best way to use paint testers to find the best shade for your walls.

Selecting the Color to Sample

First thing’s first, choosing the hue you want to apply to the walls. Before you even attempt to start sampling actual color on the wall, start with a collection of paint chips. Borrow a selection of hues and place them in the room you plan to paint. Consider them at various angles, at different times of day and lighting, and use your decor and furniture as a backdrop to see which shade will be the best match for the look you’re trying to achieve. Keep in mind that hues even in the same color family with similar undertones will appear differently when applied “in the flesh”.

Once you have narrowed down your search, choose 3 colors to test on a larger area, this way you can see the subtle undertones of each that can be difficult to detect from a small swatch placed side by side. Narrowing down to three sample colors can also make choosing a final product much less overwhelming than if you were to choose several variants.

Paint Testers and How to Use Them

Back in the paint aisle, many retailers offer inexpensive sample paint available for a small cost, around $5-$10 each. This small investment can greatly simplify the selection process, whether you’re a DIY, or hiring professionals.

Even more innovative than actually painting on the wall, waiting for it to dry, and then quickly making a decision so you can cover those swatched walls, Sherwin-Williams offers peel and stick samples. Just as easy as they sound, these 8” x 8” paint “stickers” provide a no mess, no dry time alternative to sampling paint colors and selecting the right one for your project.

If you choose to go the traditional route, make sure to get the samples in the finish you intend to use. The sheen of the final product will affect how the project turns out. Flat is the most common and popular finish; it goes on smooth and doesn’t show imperfections as much as a semi-gloss or high-sheen finish.

How to:

  1. Take the samples home and brush them on the walls at eye level. It is a good idea to paint the colors on more than one wall so you can get the total perspective of how the room will truly look.
  2. Use multiple coats of paint. This allows you to see the true color saturation. For some hues, it may be necessary to use a primer first to get the proper visual.
  3. If you’re not starting from scratch pulling a room together with a blank slate and are re-painting an already lived-in room, you may not want to create a Jackson Pollock in your living room. In this case, the peel and stick samples will come in handy when testing paint options.
  4. Consult the experts. Contact the professionals, whether to consult on sheen, brand, finish, or color paint professionals can be invaluable when working on a paint project.

Keep Your Paint Personalized

The most important thing to remember is the paint color you choose is a reflection of you and your personality. It curates the mood and ambiance of your space so getting it right is critical. Go with whatever makes you feel good, whatever it is that you like, regardless of trends or design fads. Have fun with the process, if you’re enjoying yourself when selecting your colors and staying true to what you like, the rest is as easy as the tips provided here. With the right arsenal of tools and samples, choosing a paint color does not have to be a daunting task!

The experts and professionals at Flowers Painting are happy to assist you in choosing your perfect hue. Contact us today to learn more about our painting services and color options.

About Flowers Painting

Flowers Painting is a full-service interior painting company that services the entire Charlotte metro area including Mooresville, Huntersville, Davidson, Concord, Rock Hill, and more. We recently added our second location in Winston-Salem, NC, and service the entire Winston-Salem area, including Kernersville, High Point, Clemmons, Rural Hall, Tabaccoville and more. Flowers Painting provides full painting services including color consulting, interior painting, faux finishing, textured walls, cabinet refinishing, interior stairs, handrails, and more. To see pictures of our finished work be sure to visit our website gallery.