You fell in love with a paint chip. Hey, it happens. But as enamored as you may be with that particular shade of awesome, how appealing will that color be when it’s painted on a wall, fills an entire room or covers the outside of your house? Luckily, before you invest in an entire can of paint, there are ways to test out your love to see if it’s real – and if that love will last.
Isolate Your Color Choice
A color card will have a number of similar but different color options on it. Avoid the temptation to hold them up and evaluate them at once. Instead, isolate the one color you are considering (either by concealing the others or cutting it out). Viewing only one color at a time will give you a more authentic feel for the bigger picture: how it will look once applied.
Stop! Don't Paint Your Sample on the Wall
Always try paint samples in your space before deciding on a color. However, consider not painting your sample directly on the wall. The existing paint can affect or alter the accuracy of the new paint’s true color. Instead, paint a poster board with two coats of your sample. This way, you can tote it around day or night and see how it will look amidst your home furnishings in all types of light.
Light is never consistent; it varies by time of day, season and even the weather outside. Of course, paint color will look different depending on the type of light it is exposed to, which is why samples should be examined in both natural (daylight) and artificial (evening) lighting. This is especially important when choosing interior paint as some colors will take on dramatically different appearances in different light.
Consider where sunlight comes into the room you are painting: does the window face north, south, east or west? North-facing rooms get less direct sun and are cooler so you may want to choose a warmer color. South-facing rooms may benefit from a cooler hue while east-facing rooms need a warmer palette to offset a lack of natural light in the afternoon and evening. West-facing rooms get a warm glow in the evening so a cooler color will help tone down the light.
A Lightbulb Moment
The lightbulbs you use around the house can also influence the way colors look. LED bulbs look good with most paint colors. Incandescent bulbs give off a warmer light that enhances reds, yellows and oranges while florescent bulbs have a cooler glow that enhances blues and greens. Halogen light most closely resembles daylight, so colors stand out more.
Multiply the Intensity
It’s important to remember that any color will look more intense over large surface area than it is on a paint chip or color card. A bright yellow paint sample might inspire you, but painting an entire room that color may require wearing sunglasses! The faint of heart or less courageous may want to lean toward more neutral colors when painting a room all one color, or save the bold choice for an accent color instead.