I always seem to struggle with picking a paint color from the small samples you get at the paint store.  Once I pick one, it seems to always happen that it looks so much different on the wall than it did on the sample.  More than once, I’ve wound up re-painting the room because of it, which is a lot of extra work.

For our next project to pick paint colors for our dining room and foyer, I wanted to make sure I got the right color the first time, so I started looking on the Sherwin Williams website to see if I could order the larger paint samples you can get from decorators to get a better idea of the color ahead of time.  It turns out that anyone can register as a DIY decorator on their site for “Professionals” and order 3″ x 4″, 7″ x 8″, or 8″ x 11″ samples of any Sherwin Williams color … for free.

I signed up and ordered 8″ x 11″ samples of about 12 shades of tan I was considering for our entry way and also the samples for a couple of colors we already have in some of the rooms in our house so I could get a better idea of how everything would look together.  My top color pick for the foyer before ordering the samples was Softer Tan (SW 6141), which I’d read online had a bit of a green cast, but I just couldn’t see it from the small sample I’d gotten at the paint store.  Once the larger sample came, the green tone was pretty evident.  Now, I’m debating between Nomadic Desert and Latte, which are two really neutral tans from the same paint card … I just haven’t decided how dark of a color to use yet.

The color we chose for our powder room a couple of weeks ago was another case where I wished I’d have had the larger paint sample to start with.  We painted the walls Techno Gray (SW 6170), thinking it would be a light gray color, but it turned out to have so much green in it that I would describe the walls as more of a sage than a gray color.  We like the color just fine, but it definitely wasn’t what we were expecting when we picked it.  After seeing the larger sample, it was pretty obvious it was more of a green color than a gray.

Considering how easy it is to order the samples from Sherwin Williams and how quickly they come (ours arrived in just a couple days), the larger paint samples are a huge help for visualizing what a new paint color will look like.  Definitely something we’ll be doing again …

Filed Under: Painting


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