Skip to Content


If you're ready to paint your home and think you have the color sample picked out, we have ideas on how to test paint colors to be sure it is the one. You've already been to the paint store and have narrowed down all the paint strips you brought home. But do you still want to be sure that you have the paint color that you can live with? Let us show you the best way to test a paint color.

Best Way To Test A Paint Color with a wall of paint strips at Sherwin Williams

Are you ready to get some paint on your walls and have you already followed our hints on How To Pick Paint Colors For Your Home?

We want to show you the best way to test a paint color that you have narrowed your selection down to, so you are sure that you're sure it's the one for your home.

There's nothing worse than thinking you love a paint color and painting your walls with it and hating the finished product, so let us help you avoid that.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission if you purchase using the links below at no extra cost to you. All opinions are all my own.


It's wise to test your paint color on your wall in the room that you're planning on painting. This way you can see what the color looks like at different times of the day and in different lighting.

Are you wondering how to get the paint on the wall for testing? We've got four easy ways.


Proof paint colors by taping four paint sample swatches to a wall side by side in the same color so you can see a larger sample of the paint.

Did you know when you go to the paint store, there isn't a limit of how many color swatches you can take home? Good news, there's not!

One way to get a good idea of what a paint color will look like in your room is to grab four paint chips of that color and tape them together and hang them temporarily on the wall.

We've done that with Mindful Gray from Sherwin Williams on our entryway wall.

Another hint is, if you're trying to decide between two colors, make sure you put the two colors away from each other. If they are too close, they will play off of each other and you will not get their true color.


If you're wondering if your paint will appear lighter or darker than the sample once you paint it on your wall, rest assured it should be true to the color swatch.

When your paint is still wet, it might appear darker. Don't worry. It will lighten as it dries and you'll soon have the color you fell in love with.


Samplize peel and stick paint sample being adhered to a wall.

The company Samplize sells peel and stick paint samples that can temporarily be stuck to the wall so that you can see what the color in the brand chosen, will look like in your room.

The samples have the same effect as paint on a wall surface because they are produced with genuine manufacturer paint.

You can order paint colors from Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and Farrow & Ball.

The 12″x12″ sticker can be peeled off and re-stuck in another area if your room gets different lighting in different areas and you want to be sure that you're making the best-informed decision.


Sherwin Williams color to go paint sample can

If seeing the real thing on the wall seems like what you want, you can do that before making the huge commitment of buying several gallons of paint.

Most stores sell cans of sample paint. It's a very similar process as buying a quart or gallon of paint, you just go home with a smaller version to paint onto your wall.

Here are a couple of things you need to know. If you're concerned about the paint sheen, Sherwin Williams paint sample only comes in a satin finish.

This can have a slight effect on the color of the paint. Not a huge one, but if you'd like to know more hop over and read more about the best paint sheens.

Now take the sample home and paint a big area on the wall. These sample sizes can cover a large area. If you are planning to paint the room anyways, then no worries about painting a few colors here and there.

Just make sure they are not near each other or else they will affect the color. In other words, if you put a green next to a white it will make the white have a green tint.

Now, are your walls already painted a dark or funky color? If so, this will also affect the color of the paint. No need to paint on primer before testing out your paint color.


Paint a sample on a foam poster board

Your sample paint can be applied onto a foam poster board and then leaned up against your wall to preview the paint color.

This is a great option if you will need to prime your walls before you apply paint or if you're building a new construction and slapping sample paint on a wall just isn't an option.

Simply purchase some foam board and use the sample size paint and start painting the board. It is a great way to see and feel the color without a dark or bright color behind it affecting the true nature of the new color.


Here are a few things to remember when proofing your paint color. Make sure you leave the paint up for a couple of days so that you have a chance to see the paint color in different lighting throughout the day.

Asking the experts at the paint store is another great option before purchasing your gallons.

Once we bought Benjamin Moore's Navajo White thinking it was the perfect warm white and ended up with a yellowish-white instead. Undertones and lighting in a paint can really change what paint looks like once you get it on your wall.

You can check out more about the best white paint for interior walls for your home if white is what you're looking for.

If you're not sure what color you want to use we have two great posts that will help you decide. Popular Sherwin Williams Exterior Paint Colors or Popular Sherwin Williams Paint Colors. If you're looking for a “fixer upper” color, check out my post on Magnolia home paint matched to Sherwin Williams.

If you're nervous to paint on your own we have a post with great tips that will have you Painting A Room Like A Professional in no time. You might also want to know What's In My Paint Crate before you get started!

Let us know which paint test works out best for you or if you have another idea we didn't include!

Happy Decorating!

How to test a paint color with real paint


Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Four different ways to test a paint color for your next home improvement paint project so you know for sure you have the color you love and can live with.



  • Tape
  • Paint brush


  1. Attach four samples of the same color to a wall in the room you want to paint. Place the swatches side by side so you can see a larger sample fo the paint color.
  2. Purchase a peel and stick paint sample that has been created with real paint to stick to your wall to validate that it is the right color.
  3. Purchase a sample size can of paint from the paint store and paint a wall in the room you plan to paint.
  4. Paint a piece of foam board with the sample size can of paint and lean it against the wall in the room you plan to paint.


Make sure to leave your proof sample in the room for a full 24 hours to see how you like the color throughout the day.

Make sure that the color you are proofing is on a white wall or background. One-color can affect another color so it is important to test a color on a white background.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Deanna Lynne

Tuesday 8th of June 2021

Thanks for the idea to paint a foam poster board and lean it against the wall to check the color. My husband and I want to choose warm colors for our living room to give it a more inviting atmosphere. We'll use this advice to find the perfect color before hiring house painters for the job!

Linda McDonald

Tuesday 8th of June 2021

I am so glad this is helpful. Good luck!


Saturday 6th of June 2020

This was so helpful, Linda! Iā€™m going to go pick up 4 paint chips to see how it looks!

Linda McDonald

Sunday 7th of June 2020

Hi Alieta! I am so glad this has been helpful! Cannot wait to see what you paint next.

Linda McDonald

Friday 29th of May 2020

Hi Janet! I checked when I got your first comment and this one and my email subscriber says that there is not a [email protected]. Is it possibly under another email?

Skip to Instructions