Choosing a paint color used to mean spending an afternoon wandering the aisles of paint chip samples. The thousands of options in the rainbow-colored rows can be a bit overwhelming, though, so we’re happy to try anything that simplifies the color selection process. Thanks to a handful of smart designers and paint companies, there's a better way to shop for paint. Take a look below at a few of our favorite tools and decide which is best for you and your next paint project.
Call her a revolutionary with a roller. Interior designer Nicole Gibbons has started Clare, a paint company that simplifies the often overwhelming process of choosing a color. “Decorators don’t have 3,000 favorite colors. They have a short list they know and love and could recommend for any space,” she says. Pulling from that knowledge, Gibbons assembled a collection of 55 colors on a user-friendly website that includes images of each color in different lighting conditions and detailed descriptions that note undertones.
The Clare Color Genius tool asks a series of questions and lets you upload photos of your space. Based on your answers, it picks the best color for your room. (Consider it a paint-style quiz.) Stickers let you try out the colors before you buy ($49/gallon in eggshell or semigloss). The $2 8-inch-square repositionable stickers allow you to try colors in different spots, lighting conditions, and combinations. And there’s no need to pick up the paint at a store; it’s delivered to your door.
Related: Top Paint Colors
PPG is a trusted paint brand in the design industry. Thanks to their new free digital tool, you don’t have to even leave your home to choose from one of their many colors. VisualizeColor.com is a PPG-owned website that allows users to upload real images of their home and digitally “paint” the walls. The tool works well, though you may have to spend a few minutes editing small details like trim or nooks. The digitized paint samples even keep the room’s shadows, so you can see what the colors look like in different lighting settings. The site also has stock rooms and exteriors you can paint if you’d rather use a room designed for the tool. Once you’ve found a color you love, use the map feature to find a PPG Paint retailer closest to you.
Related: Best Exterior Color Schemes
If you think of yourself as a color connoisseur and find inspiration in color everywhere you go, the Color Muse tool might be right for you. At $49.99, this is definitely a pricier tool you have to commit to, but it can do some pretty cool things, even after you’re done painting. The tool is a small, handheld scanner that connects to a free app. Place the scanner on a wall, painting, or material that inspires you, and the app will find the exact color match. Color Muse is not connected to any paint company, so it can search a large collection of colors across multiple brands. Aside from choosing paint colors, this tool can also match color in beauty products, clothing, and furniture.
Related: Designers’ Favorite Wall Colors
Coolors.co has over one million ready-made color schemes at your fingertips. This fun website is perfect for someone looking for color inspiration before painting their room. The free online tool randomly generates color schemes for users to view and customize. While flipping through combinations, you can pause on a specific color you like and then see more color schemes around that hue. Export and share palettes that you love, or upload an inspiration image to generate a custom color scheme.
Related: Pick Colors That Go Together