5 Must-Have Paint Apps
Mobile apps that take the stress out of paint-color matching
Choosing a paint color for your home can be nerve-racking. You can spend hours in the paint section comparing swatches and trying to find the perfect match. Thankfully, a wave of paint-color apps is making the task easier by letting you paint your wall virtually or match a paint color to a photo. Even better, these apps are free and Android- and Apple-compatible. Here are some of the hottest paint apps available.
The app allows you to explore Valspar paint colors available at Lowe's, ACE, or independent retailers. The paint calculator helps you estimate how much paint you'll need for your project.
Users can upload photos and get advice from a color consultant via live video, audio, or e-mail. The app also provides how-to videos to help get your project off the ground.
What's missing? Two major complaints about this app: You can't save your paint colors, and there's no search, so navigation can be tricky.
By Behr Mobile
Behr's app comes with an explore-color function that let's you search for a shade by name, number, or color family. The color-match function lets you take a picture or select an existing one from your library, and the app will match that color with an existing Behr color.
A notable detail is that you may get different color-match results for the same color sample. Mind you, these colors are extremely similar, but you should always put some on your wall first and look at the real paint color you are trying to match before making a purchase.
The app's preview function allows you to virtually paint a handful of rooms by simply clicking on a color and then the wall you'd like to see the color on. It's handy to see what the paint looks like in a room but tricky because it's not your house and the design elements will be very different.
The Behr app also lets you save projects, colors, pallets, and paint calculations so that you can come back to your work later. While it's great for exploring color and helping you to start color matching, it doesn't have the ability to personalize the look of the space where you're testing your colors.
Paint My Place
Paint My Place is the only app in this roundup that is not connected to a major paint company, so you can explore across three brands: Benjamin Moore, Dulux, and Farrow&Ball.
You can take or upload an existing photo of the space you're going to paint, then select the brand and color range and paint it virtually.
The "painting" part is a little difficult because you either have to use your finger to spread the color, which make it difficult to be precise, or use the fill function, which also has a tough time staying within the lines. I tried "painting" a photo of my kitchen wall and got paint all over my table and also left a large unpainted space around the chairs.
Of course, this function is designed to give the user an idea of what a color is going to look like—you can focus on the details later—but I found myself extremely distracted by my messy on-screen paint job!
A major downside to the app is the ads. The app is free, so you get what you pay for, but it's is constantly asking you to upgrade to the paid edition, something the other apps do not bother you with.
The paid version of the app suggests colors for the space in your photo and allows you to work with multiple colors. Paying $2.99 for the upgrade will also let you save and share your work. Another downside: The app is available only on Apple devices.
By Benjamin Moore
The app will match the colors in any photo and also show the next four closest shades. Color Capture and Paint My Place were tied as the highest-rated (four stars) of all the apps we compared in iTunes.
As you are scanning through the various Benjamin Moore colors, you can save, e-mail, post to Facebook, or tweet out the color you find. Why not let your social-media followers help you decided between two colors?
Many users noted that the colors look much different on the screen than they do in person. This is fairly universal with digital paint samples. The brightness and resolution of your screen can make the color's appearance vary from digital to physical.
With Sherwin-Williams's Color Snap, you can create color palettes and match colors to a photo in your phone. The great thing about the app's color-match feature is that it will automatically pick out the colors in the photo that it can match and create a palette with those colors. The app also allows you to click on a certain color to match, and the palette will include a selection of complementary colors.
You can view each color in a room example. This feature, similar to those in other apps, is a plus because it let's you see what the paint looks like on a wall—but it's not your wall.