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  • Writer's pictureKiersten

My Top Three Methods to Help Decide on a Paint Color

I'm working on making our primary bedroom a cozy little oasis and have been looking at different paint colors for an accent wall. Oddly enough, I've told three different people about my favorite online wall paint visualizer last week so I thought I'd share this tip with you all while I'm still in planning mode! The greatest thing thing about paint is that it is one of the cheapest ways to transform a room, and if you don't like it, you can do it again! But, I know not everyone finds the same enjoyment in painting so getting it right the first time is helpful. So, here are my three primary methods for deciding on a paint color.

1) In-Store Paint Sample Chips

One of my favorite things to do is browse through the Home Depot or Sherwin Williams paint sample wall. I usually have an idea of what color family I want before deciding on a paint color but seeing it in person and taking samples home helps to make sure the lighting in your space is going to read the same as the paint sample in the store. I'm not a paint brand purist - it usually depends on the size of the project and how much paint I may need. Our Home Depot is pretty close to our house and next door to Target so it's usually where I start out of convenience. Or if I'm looking for a quick gut decision, this is where I start.

abbey shopping for paint samples at Home Depot
My best helper

In-store paint samples are great because they're free, but they're little. If I'm having a hard time deciding, I usually tape them up to the wall that I want to paint so I have to walk by it a bunch before deciding. I did this in our workout room before deciding on how dark of a grey I wanted.

grey paint samples hanging on wall

And I've been thinking about a new paint color for the laundry room cabinets too and had these chips taped up for MONTHS. This project has fallen down the line on the list though so I haven't pulled the trigger.

assorted paint samples hanging on white cabinet

Or if I'm trying to match a particular color - like a color on a fabric or rug that's too big to take to the store, these little guys work great for bringing home options.

grey paint samples against rug

2) Peel & Stick Paint Samples

For bigger projects, and ones that I potentially may hire out help with, I really want to get the color right. When we moved into the house and was trying to decide on the right white to carry through the trim and all common space walls, I found the company Samplize where you can order large 11-12" squares of peel and stick paint samples. The larger area helps you see the color better than the in-store samples, but best of all, you can move them all over the house.

hank with peel and stick white paint samples
Flashback to 2020 before we painted the entry!

Some people buy small paint samples and actually roll color on the wall to decide, but my planning process takes so long compared to actually taking the time to do the project, that it would drive me crazy to have misc paint colors on the wall. This helps give you that effect, moving the sample to different areas of the house or sides of the room to see how the light hits it. With grey and white, I think this is most important because of all the different undertones that can come through. Whether you want warm or cool tones, or as pure as you can get... seeing color in your home's light is the best bet to making sure you will like the final coat.

paint samples on kitchen cabinets

Sherwin Williams now offers the peel and stick options direct if you are a die-hard SW lover. What I like about Samplize is I could order a variety of brands. As you can see in the kitchen photo above, they've changed the size of their samples from square to rectangle, but still a good size to help visualize.

3) Virtual Color Visualizer - ColorSnap by Sherwin Williams

This is the online visualizer I keep telling everyone about! Sherwin Williams has a great feature on their website that allows you to upload a photo of your room to try out different colors! It's called ColorSnap and it's addicting once you get the hang of it! They have versions that are optimized for web, or have app based models for iPhone and Android, and and app for iPads. Make sure your photo is well lit, and natural light is best. Our primary bedroom is the perfect example... I got a new rug with a lot of blues and grays in it and have been working on ideas for an accent headboard wall. Swipe to see a few different options I'm considering (and you're getting a sneak peek of the new rug!)

I've found this works best on walls and objects that are lighter in color already. I tried it on our dark kitchen cabinets, but am not getting the same effect when attempting to turn them white. The color I selected in this photo is White Flour which is the same color as our walls and trim, and the visualizer is more of a screen overtop the cabinets. It's more muted and not true to the color.

SherwinWilliams ColorSnap Visualizer photo with white painted kitchen

Check out the online visualizer the next time you're planning to paint to see if a virtual paint job can help you make a decision!


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we're kiersten and zach

Follow along with us each week as we work to make the very 2000s home we bought during the middle of a pandemic more “us.” We’ll share everything from quick fixes to more permanent changes, along with projects you can do in your own home. Zach will also share all his lawn and garden advice as he starts over on the yard.


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