5 on Your Side

5 on Your Side: Four things to consider in picking a paint color

Posted March 31, 2011

A friend told me she just finished cleaning her paint brushes and she’s ready to begin a spring painting project! We’re about to begin one in our house, too. But there’s a lot to know before you start.

One of the biggest debates is almost always about the color! Is it too light, too dark? Maybe too bright, or dull?

No matter what color you choose, Consumer Reports says there are some things to keep in mind about paint and painting:

  • Color matching: Find a color you like – no matter what the brand and you can likely get it in the paint brand you want. That’s because most major retailers have color matching technology that can create just about any color. And you don’t even have to bring in an official paint color card. Often it can be a piece of fabric or paper. We recently had a situation where we were trying to match a color we already had but didn’t know the name. After several attempts at sample cans didn’t work, the paint salesman told us to just peel off a small piece of the paint from an inconspicuous area and he’d match it. He did, PERFECTLY!
  • Color tests: those 2 ounce sample jars are great for trying colors. But Consumer Reports says make sure you try the samples on different walls and under different lighting conditions.
  • Finish affects color: Flat finishes absorb light, sheen reflects it. So the same color could appear brighter in glossy finishes
  • Dark colors don’t always hide: Consumer Reports says with darker colors, manufacturers often remove the white pigment that helps hide problem areas. So it might take multiple coats to cover!
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In addition to the stories you see on TV, Monica is always looking for ways to help consumers find deals and avoid fraud. She'll blog about what you need to know here.