Tips and Tricks for a Terrific Paint Job

Painting is one of the fastest and least expensive ways to change the look of a room.

Have you ever painted a room and been less than satisfied with the results? We’ve all been there, but fortunately, today’s tech tools make it possible to remove some of the “pain” from “painting.”

Painting is one of the fastest and least expensive ways to change the look of a room. However, the gorgeous color on a paint sample may be underwhelming on an entire wall. Whether you are freshening up your walls in preparation for listing your home on the market or simply in the mood for a change, there are several free tools that can help you choose just the right colors to achieve the look you want, as I found out during a home renovation a few years ago.

Our project involved adding a wall of windows to a room that overlooked our back yard. The windows provided a great natural view, and I pictured blue walls to capture the openness of the sky that was part of that view. Since our painter wanted to use Benjamin Moore® paint, I went online to look at colors. There I discovered Benjamin Moore’s free online Personal Color Viewer®. Talk about a change of plans!

I uploaded a photo of our room, which included a great view of the back yard through the new windows, into the Personal Color Viewer. I defined my wall space using the easy tools in the app and then chose a shade of blue. It was awful! I chose another shade of blue and then another. It quickly became apparent that any shade of blue was going to compete with the view of the backyard landscape provided by the windows. Using my new color sense, I scanned the green palette, selected a medium grassy shade I never would have chosen from the samples at the store, and “painted” my wall. The result was immediately clear—that shade of green was perfect for the room. Blue would have drawn attention to itself and competed with the outside view. Green not only framed the view, it seamlessly unified the interior and exterior to create a relaxing atmosphere in the room.

The Personal Color Viewer is one of our favorite tools that can help you choose the right paint colors for your next project. Sherwin Williams offers a similar free tool, ColorSnap® Visualizer for Web, which allows you to upload your photo and “paint” surfaces with your selected colors to preview the finished look.

Our other favorite is Home Depot’s Project Color® app. Unlike the Personal Color Viewer and ColorSnap programs, both of which work best on a computer, Project Color works great on mobile devices.

To help you chose a color, Project Color has a “See It” mode with three options. You can take a photo to work with, load a photo you have already taken, or see a live view of the space you plan to paint. I like “Live View” because I can simply point my smartphone at the wall, choose a color family, and select a color. The app will overlay the new color on the dominant surface in the view and automatically exclude art and furniture from the view, which allows you an even better sense of how the new color would look with existing features. Once you find a color you like, you can take a photo of the image, go to the Home Depot website to choose the brand of paint, sheen, and quantity you want, and add your selection to your cart. The app recommends that you e-mail the project plan to yourself or print it out. I suggest writing down the paint color just in case you have tech issues at the store.

The app will suggest other supplies you might need for your project, but we recommend that you first take inventory of your painting supplies. Ensure you have plenty of brushes (including extras, if you’ll have help), paint trays, painter’s tape, clean-up rags, and drop cloths to protect your floor or furniture. Make a list of any items you need to purchase, and before you head to the store, measure your space one last time to ensure you know how much paint you need to buy.

We also recommend that you take advantage of our gorgeous spring weather for your painting project. Prime painting season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day because when the weather is nice, you can open up the windows and get some circulation through the room for faster drying times and better air quality. (Choosing a low VOC paint will also maintain higher air quality in your home during a painting project.)

Finally, once your project is done, take some time to appreciate the results. Putting in the legwork in advance will pay off when you get the freshly painted look you want, and you’ll want to celebrate the accomplishment. Make sure to take before and after photos to show off your hard work.

Like any home improvement project, painting can be challenging. However, with the right tools and a little preparation, you can achieve the new look you want and a finished product that makes you proud.

To get additional advice for your next paint project, visit any of our local paint and building supply retailers in the West Georgia area. You also can find more tips to pull off a better paint job at And if you are painting your home in preparation for sale, any of our Duffey Realty agents will be happy to provide advice on painting and other ways you can better prepare your home for today’s real estate market. Visit our website or give one of our agents a call today.

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