I am a creative, competent adult (much of the time). So why
does choosing a paint color make me feel like such a moron? I dread going to a
home center or paint store "to get some ideas." The multitude of choices feels
so overwhelming that I immediately forget what my house looks like.
Not only that, if you take a leap of faith and decide on a
color, when you bring it home and actually get it on the wall...what appeared to
be a nice, rich gold in the sample chip is actually sort of green next to the
And let's not even get into those color "discussions" you
have with your spouse. In my experience, you can make
all sorts of amicable decisions about HVAC systems, appliances, flooring and
toilets, but start talking paint colors and you're sure to become mortal
enemies. "What do you mean you want a red bathroom—are you nuts?"
Luckily, I have found a helpful bit of sanity on the Web.
There are terrific Web sites (we list a few here) that let you upload actual
photos of your own home, which allow you and your spouse to "paint" different
wall surfaces with colors from an extensive preloaded palette or your own
custom-designed color choices.
You have to be technically proficient enough to upload the
photos, but the step-by-step directions on each Web site guide you through the
process. These Web sites are especially helpful in whittling down the choices among different color families (because the color on your screen won't look exactly the same in real life). Once you've settled on a few possibilities, get some samples and paint them on sheets of matte poster board. Then move the boards around the room so you can see what the color looks like in different locations and lighting conditions. The final decision may still be a battle, but at least you'll know the color looks like next to your drapes.
— Elisa Bernick, Associate Editor
Before you pick up a paintbrush, check out these stories on our site:
— Professional painting tips
— Decorative painting tips
Need help choosing paint colors for your home? Check out these Web sites:
- Valspar Paint's Virtual Painter
- Benjamin Moore's Personal Color Viewer
- Sherwin-Williams' Color Selection Tools
- Glidden's Room Painter