Why NOT to Paint Sample
Colors on the Walls

Do you know why you should never paint sample colors directly on the walls in your home? If not, keep reading...

There is a right way to sample paint colors before painting, and a wrong way to do it. Applying interior paint color samples directly on the walls is definitely in the second category, and there are 2 main reasons for that.

paint sample colors and optical illusion

The first reason is our perception. Color is perceived in context, and not in isolation - it is affected by the colors used next to it.

For example, take a look at how the yellow color dot is affected by the surrounding color. On the black background, the dot appears lighter, while white background makes it look deeper.

The practical side of this lesson is this: when you paint color samples on the walls, the new color will be affected by the existing wall color. Your existing wall paint color can distort the way you see the sample or prevent you from recognizing the new color's undertones. It's also easy to make a mistake in value and intensity.

don't paint sample colors directly on the walls

When choosing the right paint color for your home, you should compare new colors to the room decor that will be staying, not to the old paint color that is going.

Also, when you paint several samples on the wall, each one will influence the other and make it difficult to get a true sense of what each color will look like on its own.

And here's the second reason. It usually takes 2-3 coats of paint to see the true color of the sample. That creates a paint build-up on the test area, which often remains noticeable after the walls are painted. If you paint sample colors on the walls and do not feather out the edges properly, you may see the paint swatches as relief marks. If the wall is porous, or if you use interior paint samples in a different sheen than your current wall paint, you may see the paint swatches showing through the new paint coat as dull or shiny blotches.

use large paint color swatches

It will take a lot of extra work to get rid of these marks - sanding, priming, and applying additional coats of paint. All this unnecessary trouble can be easily avoided if you use large paint color chips instead. You can move them around the room, compare them in the same spot or isolate the colors from influencing one another.

Plus, if you decide to postpone your house painting project for a while, you won't have to live with blotches of color on the walls - you will simply put the swatches in the closet until you are ready to work on your project again.

Paint Color Cheat Sheets
Paint Color Cheat Sheets

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