Choosing the right color for my walls

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I want to paint my house and need some tips on the best way to try different colors (samples) to see how they would really look on my wall and based on that pick the one I want.

  9 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 13, 2018
    Home Improvement stores sell removable paper for paint testing

  • SandyG SandyG on Jan 13, 2018
    Home Depot has paint samples in 8-ounce containers for $3.50 +/-. Buy colors you are interested in and paint a 3 x 3 ft sections on your walls. Be sure to paint corners, up next to ceiling and around windows so you can see the color in different lighting.

  • Dfm Dfm on Jan 13, 2018
    a painter friend told me to get a poster sized sheet of foam core board...paint with my 1st choice of color- tester size, when dry, put it in different spots in the room i was painting. lighting plays a key roll in how good it looks. natural light changes through the day. so leave it for a few days to see how it looks and if you if you like it.

  • Nancy Nancy on Jan 13, 2018
    If you are talking about interior walls, this is what I do: ask local contractors to give you large-ish pieces of drywall (2'x3') from their leftovers. Get sample size paint, paint drywall and then place drywall around room on different walls at different times of day to get an idea of how the color will look.

  • Slw21358627 Slw21358627 on Jan 13, 2018
    I learned years ago that you paint a large piece of newspaper and hold it up to the wall (obviously after it's dry). I recently spoke with a decorator and was told that "neutrals" are your best choices/definitely not pastels. So, I will also be doing some painting at my house.

  • Jeanne Johnson Ortego Jeanne Johnson Ortego on Jan 13, 2018
    Maria, you're already on the right track because you realize the colors will look different in your home than what you see in samples in stores, magazines and websites. These are my suggestions, and the process my daughter and I went through while debating new colors for our home:
    Pick your favorite color families. You can use a painting, picture, or fabric to find colors that will work with your decor. If you're going for a totally new look, find colors that frequently appear in your wardrobe. Base your choices on colors you love.
    You’ll want the multi-colored chips for this step. Take them home and see how they look with your furnishings and finishes. Narrow your choices down as much as possible.
    Get the largest samples of your “maybes” that you can find, even 2-4 of the same color to put together to create a large piece. Some samples have sticky backs, but for others I roll up painter’s tape and put it on the back, then stick them to the walls that you want to paint in different heights and lighting.
    This step costs a little bit, but is totally worth the money not to pick a color that you end up hating: Buy samples of your favorites (3-5) after you’ve narrowed it down. You can always use them later for contrasting colors or accents on projects. OR, you can bring in a piece of fabric that has your color choice on it and have it color matched into a sample.Take a sheet of sheetrock, prime it, then cut it up into decent sized pieces, at least 12” x 12”, then paint your best choices on the pieces. (I did this step with an old piece of sheetrock that I had in my shed, and I bet cardboard would work, too.) If you have enough pieces, paint 2 of each color. Label the backs of the large sample pieces you’ve created and then place them strategically around the rooms you’ll be painting to see the effect of different lights and placement of the colors. They’ll look totally different at different times of the day. You can “live” with these pieces for a while, and then decide on which one(s) you want to use. I placed one on either side of a room for a day or two and observed how it changed colors with the different lighting during the day and at night. Then I changed colors, repeated the process, and eliminated choices along the way. After I had narrowed my choices to what I thought I wanted, I put them side by side with “close” colors and repeated the process. Finally, I was ready to pick my colors.
    Since it’s winter here, it’s a good time to go through the process of picking the colors. Painting conditions will improve by the time you’re ready to paint. Good luck with your new colors!

  • DesertRose DesertRose on Jan 13, 2018
    Can you get an inexpensive half sheet of real thin plywood ? Try some sample paints from the hardware store and hold it up to the walls you want to paint. You need a big enough piece to see how it will look with the trim etc., that is why I said a half sheet or so of inexpensive plywood.

  • Sandra Allen Sandra Allen on Jan 13, 2018
    You can also go to Lowes or Home Depot and go into their computer program. You can choose mail and trim colors till you find the ones you like. Here is a link to their programs and videos.


  • Cristine Schwartzberg Cristine Schwartzberg on Jan 13, 2018
    I usually pick colors from furniture or artwork in the room that I love.