interior design

How many of you have been into your local DIY store and picked your paint out purely based on the paint chip? I know I have! Shameful I know, but I used the old excuse of not having enough time to sample, which bit me in the arse when I hated the colour and had to start over!

Here are my top tips to help you on your way to successful paint sampling.

  • Paint chips are a great way to start your paint journey and narrow your selection down, however you should not buy a paint based on the paint chips alone, you have to see the colour in the environment you intend to use it in before you buy and that’s why sampling is so important.
  • Lets start with the basics, always use a roller instead of a brush. Using a brush will show the streaks of the colour (white) underneath and will affect the sample colour.
  • If you already have a colour on your wall and attempt to sample over that colour it will affect the sample and will cause an inaccurate colour representation. Its best to prime the wall ready with white paint so that you can see the colour properly. Another reason not to paint over an existing colour is because a colour changes when its placed next to another colour. This also means that you should avoid sampling multiple options right next to each other.
  • Right, so your wall is primed and you have your roller at the ready, time to mask off an area right?…. Nope you should avoid sampling in a masked off area, if you make this common mistake it will cause you extra work later on. Not matter how many coats of paints you try, that masked off area wont go away and those ridge lines are there to stay! so you find yourself having to sand the area down and starting again.
  • Sample in more than one location to see the different tones created by a change in lighting. Leave the sample for a few days and review it at different times of the day to see how the tone changes with cool light during the day and warm light at sunset. For example between 4-8pm is not a great time to review the colour. So if you have spent the afternoon deliberating and finally finish sampling around that time, then its best to wait until the morning to see the colour again.
  • Its not just the natural lighting that needs to be considered, you should also check the bulbs around your house. It is best to ensure that you have consistency throughout the house using the same bulb to have the same light colour and temperature throughout. Your paint colour will look different depending on the bulbs you have, so also make sure when you buy new bulbs to get the same.
  • Consider the condition of your walls as the paint colour and gloss level will affect how the imperfections show. Dark colours with a shiny finish show more imperfections and a lighter Matte finish shows will show less and will give a clearer colour with no light glare from the gloss.
  • Always sample using 2 coats of paint to see the true colour and make sure to allow plenty of time for the first coat to dry before applying the 2nd coat.
  • Try not to just look at the sample in isolation, it is best if you can sample the colour at different levels on your wall to see how it looks against the fixed elements such as door frames, interior moldings and your floor finish. Ideally, if you can, sample the full height of the room to see how the colour changes as the light changes from floor to ceiling level.
  • If you want your home to flow and feel harmonious from room to room you should consider how your colour palette works as you walk through your home. It would be quite odd if your home was all neutral and suddenly you find yourself in a bright yellow room wouldn’t it!

Happy Sampling!


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