Real Simple

Test It Out

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A swatch is to paint what a threeway mirror is to a pair of jeans: It lets you “try on” paint and see it from all angles. Brush paint onto a 24-inch poster board, leaving a two-inch white border to keep the existing wall shade from skewing your perception. Move the board from wall to wall throughout the day to get the best sense of color. Beth Webb, an Atlanta-based interior designer, says you can also order 12-inch peel-and-stick swatches ($6 each; samplize.com) in hues from four major paint brands. If you’re painting two rooms the same color, test the shade in both spaces, because lighting will vary, says Katie Davis, an interior designer in Houston, who learned her lesson the hard way: “My son’s room is a pretty grayblue, and mine looks purple—even though they’re the same color!”

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