Stunning Swatches!

21 May

Testing paint colors is a really fun process!

I feel a top of the stairs project coming on…  (image via ApartmentTherapy)


Well, it is for me at least. I can’t always say that’s the case for my clients, who have called/emailed/texted me at all hours of the day to tell me how stressed out they are about the crazy test patches on their walls. Thankfully I’ve never had a client who didn’t find the perfect color…even if it took four trips to the paint store for $8 sample quarts, and the very-infrequent, sometimes very-necessary do over. 

Part of what I love about the process is the imperfection of all those blobs on a wall. You know: the spot on the wall where you haphazardly paint six colors, hoping that one will jump out at you? Hopefully, you use primer if the existing color is dark or bright (most of my clients do this, or let me do it). And hopefully you use a real paintbrush like a grown up and not a tiny brush from a craft kit or a spongey-stick thing (you know who you are). Because when done right, test patches are really informative and crucial to the process.

Sometimes I have people tint samples if they find the right hue that’s not quite the right value. Sometimes we mix sample colors together to try to achieve the right feel before choosing another round. And sometimes – sometimes! – we get it right on the first try. But that’s not as fun, is it?

Here are some beautiful color swatch images that get me excited about painting. Admittedly, most of them aren’t done correctly for real swatch tests (at least 12” x 12”! on a white base! two coats!), but many are beautiful enough to leave as a permanent wall treatment. Some of them aren’t even house paint, but are watercolors instead. I’d love to have an office like the second image one day, where I can test anything and everything…and leave it there forever.

Enjoy the rainbow!

Watercolor grid – fantastic! (image via


I love this application. Just LOVE it. (image via a source I’ve misplaced…bad blogger!)


Candy-colored paint and spoons! Love it! (image via


An acrylic sketchbook exercise. (image via


I love this image from Flickr user “angrypirate” – it’s an exterior wall, but shows the right scale for test patches! (image via


A watercolor sketchbook exercise. (image via



Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.


One Response to “Stunning Swatches!”

  1. Lori at The Land of Color June 9, 2012 at 5:20 AM #

    I think you’d “get” and appreciate Chippliqué. I invite you to check it out and let me know what you think.

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