Since colors often look different in different lights, Consumer Reports suggests buying a sample, painting a patch and living with it for a day or two before buying more. Here are three things to consider when choosing paint:
- Go online before hitting the store. Manufacturer and retailer websites and Facebook pages offer a wealth of tips on choosing colors, including photo galleries of finished rooms and calculators to help consumers figure out how much paint will do the trick. They are also the place to check for deals such as free samples, moving discounts and rebates if consumers are unhappy with the color after it's been applied.
- Find the perfect color. Certain hues are specific to a brand, but retailers can often match colors. Paint-color formula books and color-matching computer technology mean consumers don't have to rely solely on the skills of a sales clerk, though one with a good eye and mixing equipment with clean nozzles may be able to match colors, too.
- Match sheen to surface. The best low-luster satin and eggshell paints offer easy hiding and durability, making them ideal for most surfaces. Flat paints hide flaws better but are less resistant to stains and smudges, so use in low-traffic areas. Semigloss works well for trim and other surfaces that don't need to be wiped frequently, because repeated cleaning will dull most finishes.