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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sample Sizes Help Prevent Costly Mistakes

Picking out new colors for a room can be a joyful, creative process for some and a stressful chore for others. You've probably looked at tons of tiny paint chips in the store and taken a few home. Have you discovered they look completely different at home?! Perhaps you've also noticed how different they look when applied to the whole room or exterior. Yikes! What are paint companies doing to help you avoid surprises and help with this process? Quite a bit! They've listened to consumers and are quickly evolving their products to help customers make the crucial next jump before the costly purchase of a few gallons of paint.

Most major paint companies have offered test sizes of paint for some time. The drawback has been that they only offered maybe 100 or so ready mixed samples of their complete line. If your paint color was not one of the sample colors, you'd have to move up to the brand's smallest size, usually a quart. At about $15 a pop, that can add up when you've got a few colors to test!

Benjamin Moore is the latest company to recently ditch their limited, ready made color samples and now custom mix ANY of their over 3,000 colors in a larger, pint sized sample for around $6. Sherwin Williams offers Color To Go samples for $5 in a two pint size. What a bargain! Lowe's Valspar brand also offers 8 ouch samples in any of their colors which will cover up to a 4 by 4 foot area. Even budget paint companies like Dutch Boy have gotten in on the trend with custom mix samples. Not quite there yet is fan favorite, Pratt and Lambert. They offer cute 2 ounce color pots in 140 of their 1,000 plus colors for about $4. Though frankly, I'd pick up two samples or go ahead and splurge on a quart to ensure I had enough paint for two coats on a large sample board.

Most sample sheens tend to be in a paint brand's version of Eggshell or other low sheen finish. Keep in mind that the higher the sheen you will actually use, the darker the color will appear. This visual trick usually evens out as most colors will appear lighter once they are applied to an entire room or wall. Higher sheens also bump up paints costs a bit.