Picking the right color can be a serious challenge when painting your home. Normal paint charts compound the problem. How on Earth can you visualize how an entire room will look based on a tiny little paint chip? You can’t, choosing off a chart requires a leap of faith. The other factor to consider is lighting. Choosing a color in a paint store under fluorescent lights is never a good idea. Always look at the color in the room you plan to use it in. Select colors both in natural lighting and at night before deciding. Colors can change dramatically with different types of lights. CFL, incandescent, and LED bulbs all let off a different type of light resulting in a different appearance.
The best way to get a feel for how a color will look in a room is by using paint samples. You can either buy a quart or (depending on the brand of paint) buy a sample jar. The best way to apply these samples is to a color sample board. Both Home Depot and Lowes sell 24inch x 24inch drywall squares. Apply two coats of paint to the drywall square and hold it up to the wall in different areas of the room. This will give you the ability to move it around and get a feel for how the color will look in bright areas and in shadowy corners.
Painting Samples on the Wall
Another option is to paint samples directly to the wall. This is another great way to get the feel of how a color will look in a room. Before doing this there are some things you must consider prior to applying sample paint to the wall. First, figure out what type of paint your walls are currently painted with. Are they builders flat, or satin? Buy the sample in the same sheen as the wall. The biggest problem I, as a painting contractor, run into with wall samples is a satin sample over builders flat. What happens is the satin samples create a more sealed surface than the flat on the rest of the walls. When it is time to paint with the color you selected the paint will soak into the flat paint yet lay on top of the satin causing them to dry differently. When this happens it will cause what painters call flashing. What that means is when looking down the wall those sample squares will be slightly visible through the finish coat of paint. There are two ways to correct that problem. Either prime the entire wall to create uniform surface or mud over the sample spots then spot prime with flat paint. Below is a picture I took yesterday showing how the satin sample paint accepts paint differently than the flat paint currently on the wall.
How to Apply the Samples
Another problem we run into is a poor application of the color samples. If putting your samples in the middle wall do not use a brush. The goal here is to match the texture that is already present on the wall. No one wants to have thick brush marks dead center in an otherwise smooth wall. Those brush marks will show through once the painting is complete. Instead, use a small tray and a 4inch mini roller to apply the color sample. This will keep the texture consistent and clean up is easy too.
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