Sampling Paint Colors on the Wall : Living Room Update

I’m working on our living room update and I’m still trying to pull a room design together the old fashioned way. Eyeing it out with a lot of guessing. I don’t have a fancy mood board to show off. I’ve yet to learn how to make one online, although I do think they are a great tool. One thing I have upped my game on is sampling paint colors.

In the past I’ve grabbed a few paint swatches from the store, took them home, picked one, and then bought the paint. Not this time. This time, I bought eight different samples. Six in varying shades and tones of what I think I’d like and two in lighter colors for the trim.

After reading this post from Lovely Etc. and this post from The Family Handyman on tips for finding the right paint colors I was convinced that sampling a variety of paint color options and actually going the extra mile to sample that paint colors on the wall was in my best interest. That is, if I really want to love the paint color when I finished this room.

choosing-new-paint-color-tips | stowandtellu

The original wall color is the light yellow.  I don’t really like yellow. For a while we lived with it and made the color work for us with these tips. But now we are ready for a change. Even if it ends up being in similar shade.

Sampling paint color on the wall

You might be that person who can pick the right paint color blind folded. Or know someone like that. But if you’re like me and you struggle with this, maybe this process will help.

Helpful tips for sampling paint colors on the wall | how to test paint colors |

I picked several swatches from the paint store, brought them home and held them up. I knew I like one color in particular, but I can’t trust myself. So I went back and chose several tones similar to the one I like.

I ended up buying 8 jars of sample paint. 6 in the color tones and 3 in white tones for trim.

After I brought all the jars home, I opened them and dabbed a big swatch of the paint onto the top of each lid.

From there I could already see that several of the paint colors were too dark. I stopped there and didn’t even paint those on the wall. Why dirty a paint brush?

What worked for me was testing the rest of the colors and whites on several walls in big swatch-like fashion.

From looking at the paint swatches at the store, these colors looked very similar. But by getting the same swatches onto my walls at home, I could see how different they really were.

I could see that one pulled more blue and purple, while the other pulled more green.

Once upon a time I painted my townhouse kitchen gray and it came out looking lavender.  I didn’t do the color sample test on the walls that time. And it just always bothered me that it was kinda purplish.

Once I narrowed down the color I liked the most for my accent wall (top left: Moth Gray/ PPG). I painted it up to the ceiling.  I waited a day to see the paint during morning, afternoon and evening. Just to be sure.

I was also able to pick the color for the rest of the walls (top right: Antique white/ PPG – not the light yellow, but just below that).

Last thing I did was hold up a swatch of the paint color I’m using on the dining chairs (shown below in the before stage.)  I painted a piece of wood the color that the chairs are going to be. Seeing how the chair color coordinated with the wall colors is what really sealed the deal.

Eight jars of sample paint cost me about $25.00, but honestly I feel like it was totally worth it. And painting it up to the ceiling gave me a better vision of how it will look.

Nothing is guaranteed. These are both greigy colors. Trends change so fast. I’m pretty sure greige is already out of style for many. But this is what I like, so I’ve chosen my colors.

Choosing the paint colors wasn’t completely random. I used Pinterest to find inspiration. Along with certain pieces in my living room that I plan to keep, as well as new “used” pieces that I have recently shopped for and am in the process of making over. And like I mentioned swatches from other furniture colors I’m planning to use.


Dining chairs – This photo shows the before, but these are finished. I’ll have post up this week.

New round table with table top extension – Starting makeover now.

Leather recliner – Yes, it is orange and it needs a cleaning and conditioning, but I got it for free.

Tips for testing paint colors on the wall | sampling paint colors on the wall |

I’ve taken all the artwork and such off the walls in the living room. Hole patching starts asap and I’m planning a painting party two Saturdays from now.

Crossing my fingers that I can pull this off.

Hope you are having a great day ~ Amy

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8 Responses to Sampling Paint Colors on the Wall : Living Room Update

  1. Anne May 17, 2017 at 6:54 am #

    Of course you can! and besides you can always repaint if you hate it 😉


    • Amy May 17, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

      Exactly. The thing I couldn’t stand the most wasn’t the yellow color (although, yay, it will soon be gone,) it was the super flat finish of the paint. Like chalk walls every where, ugh!! lol. Thanks Anne.

  2. Donna Pocius May 17, 2017 at 7:12 am #

    I am looking for to seeing the make over.

    • Amy May 17, 2017 at 7:47 pm #

      Thank you Donna. I’ve been thinking on it for a while my biggest goal is to make it cozy and have a table to sit and eat at so when Kevin comes home, or people visit, we’re not the TV tray family, LOL. Xoxo Amy

  3. Sharleen May 17, 2017 at 9:36 pm #

    looking forward to seeing what you do there Amy.. have a great day yourself

  4. Doreen@foxdenrd May 18, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

    Definitely don’t be a tv tray family! lol

    It’s so weird how light changes colors, sometimes significantly. You’re doing the right thing by checking everything out before you dive in Amy. It will look perfect!

    • Amy May 18, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

      So true Doreen, the lighting makes all the difference and I just don’t have the vision to see it on the wall in my head. Even now, I’m still scared…but I feel much more confident having tested the colors on the walls. It’s just paint, right?


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