The Right Way to Test Out Paint
The most crucial step in painting a room is completed before you even pick up a paintbrush. Selecting the right color from the fan deck is what will make or break the space—but you can’t just trust a paint chip. “Always, always take the time to sample—whether you’re painting a foyer, kitchen, or basement—to see how the colors appear in the room,” says Erika Woelfel, vice president of color and creative services at Behr. If there’s anyone who knows the importance of this process, it’s Woelfel. “Colors can look completely different on your wall than they did in-store due to lighting, surrounding furniture, and other factors,” she explains. It’s not as simple as slapping a coat of paint on the wall; here, Woelfel shares the proper way to test your options.
Start with the finish
“Considering the sheen of a paint is almost as important as picking out the color itself, as the finish can drastically change how the color looks on your wall,” Woelfel says. Consult with the paint department of your local home improvement store for advice. Once you’ve landed on a finish, you’re ready to choose your paint samples.
Remember the power of three
Don’t go in search of a single perfect hue. Woelfel recommends testing out three to five different shades—at least. “Even if paint chips look similar when held side by side, samples allow us to truly see the undertones and subtle yet impactful differences.”
Location, location, location
“Although it’s tempting to paint an island in the middle of a large wall, carefully choose a section of the room that’s influenced by what surrounds it,” says Woelfel. “Painting near your hardwood floors or in close proximity to a leather sofa allows you to visualize the color in relation to other elements. This might mean trying out the paint on more than one wall.” Apply one-foot-by-one-foot swaths of paint (Woelfel suggests doing two coats) close together for easy color comparison.
Timing is everything
“Colors change as the light in our homes moves throughout the day,” says Woelfel. “What you see in the evening may be very different from what you see in the height of the day or in the morning light—so make sure you love your choice at all hours.” Don’t fret if a color doesn’t immediately jump out at you as the one. “Sleep on it—sometimes paint can be love at first sight, but occasionally, it isn’t.”