Get the Right Colour by Painting Samples at Home.

This is a “post inspiration” look at picking the right colour

So much has been written about the inspiration part of choosing colour. Television shows, colour consultants, magazines, they all do plenty to inspire. Add to that, colour forecasting and all trends, decor magazines, the “colour of the year” campaigns, and you have almost unlimited sources of ideas.

Okay. Inspiration accomplished. Now what?

Now is the time for some serious house painting. Let’s get to it and put all these ideas into action. Take that piece of fabric, the magazine, or even hold on to that mental image of what your wall should look like and…step away from the monitor! The colour on your monitor will not look the same when you mix it at the paint store. It will definitely not look the same when you apply it on your walls.
This is the case for colour visualizer type software from paint manufacturers. To be fair, they all have a disclaimer such as: “colours on monitor and printed colours differ from actual paint colours”. In fact, that disclaimer line should read: “the colour you are looking at is not even close to the one you are going to buy”

The Paint Store Visit.

There are two distinct choices here, the Big Box retailer and The Paint Store. As a painting contractor in a city the size of Toronto, we have a retail choice at every neighbourhood we work in. Our number one choice is always the local paint store. The level of service and the knowledge you get in a paint store is superior to the one you get from Big Box stores. If the scope of the job is bigger than you can handle, they are also a good source of reputable painting contractors.

Look at the thousands of swatch colours displayed there! With all these colours, literally at your finger tips, finding that special colour you have in mind should be a breeze, right? Not exactly, but you are on the right path. Find some swatches that are close, even ask the store for some help in doing that. Keep in mind that the moment the swatches leave their well lit space, they don’t look the same any more. Make sure to look at a few and narrow your choice to 5-10 that look close to the colours you were hoping to get.

Take the colours home and place them on your walls.

Ask the paint store if you can take these samples home with you. In fact you may want to borrow or buy a complete colour fan deck, that includes these colours. If you are able to narrow your choice at this point, ask the store if they have larger swatches of these colours in some colour grouping.

Next, take the colour samples to the area or room you want to paint. Look at them during different times of the day and under different lighting situations. Hold them against drapes, bed coverings, the floor, artwork. If possible, narrow your choice to 3-4 colours. Quite often this is where the colour search ends. It is sometimes (but not always) a good idea to ask the opinion of a family member or friend. Making sure you value their opinion and their sense of style.

Bring Some Paint Home and Paint Samples on Your Walls.

Bring home the paint and paint samples

The problem with swatches is that they don’t give you accurate information about the colour they display. Paint has texture, sheen and depth. Swatches are mostly done with printer’s ink on paper. If you have the time, buy some real, sample paint and paint it on the walls that matter the most. It will definitely make your choice of colour more accurate. We find some of our customers don’t have the time or are not as handy with paint tools. For that reason, Ecopainting can provide that service. If you end up doing the samples yourself, we have some tips for you.

Painting The Samples (tips from your painter)

Colour samples may have enough paint
Make sure to buy enough paint

Some sample pots are very small and they don’t go very far. If you want to spend the money, buy a quart size of the paint instead. The difference in cost is not that great and you can use most of them again: The correct colour will be useful, the lighter tone is good with the first coat, or just to paint a closet. The correct amount will also allow you to paint the samples well.

Use the right sheen sample paint

When a homeowner proudly tells us that they did their own samples, sometimes we cringe. Quite often, the home is new and the existing builder’s paint is flat and chalky. Sample pots come in an eggshell or shinier sheen. Painting colour samples all over a flat surface will create what painters call “flashing”. These are shiny areas that can be noticed where the samples were applied. Sometimes they are visible even after many coats of finish paint. Priming the surface with a good primer may be the only way to fix this problem. When buying a quart of the paint, you have the option to buy the  paint that matches the existing sheen of the walls.

Use the right tools

Using better quality rollers or brushes is a must. Stay away from the “homeowner” type all in one packages. They are not inexpensive as they may create more work for you or your painters. A mid priced brush and a good quality small roller should be ok. You don’t need to be a professional painter of course, but still keep some basics in mind:
Avoid heavy brush strokes and roller marks & drips. Your painters will need to sand and sometimes patch these.
If the colours are way different than the existing, be thoughtful about where your samples go. The paint may not hide your sample marks and spot-priming may be necessary. A full primer coat with a good quality primer will remedy this problem.

By following some of the above tips, the decorating process can be very enjoyable. By painting colour samples, choosing the right colour becomes much more likely.

Ecopainting works with colour consultants and we have experience painting colour samples.

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