After working at home for a few weeks now, I am getting intimately familiar with all the features that I love about my house, and I am seeing projects that I would like to tackle.  Before we moved into our house, we overhauled the interior with new lighting, dark hardwood floors, extra white trim and Spring Morning paint on the walls which Benjamin Moore describes as ‘a buttery, creamy pale yellow’.  Fast forward nearly a decade and it is time to modernize the space. If you would like to do the same in your house, I am going to share some tips that will help you select the ideal color and make your home more stylish, all while respecting social distancing norms.


Even if an interior designer selects your paint color, it is best to test the color at three times of day so you can see how the paint looks in each room in the morning, afternoon and evening light.   Another thing you are testing is whether the paint works with the fixed furnishings in your home like flooring, back-splashes, light fixtures and counter tops.  I learned this from Jacob Owens Designs who presents tutorials on proper paint color selection on his YouTube channel.

Where to get paint samples

In the old days, we would walk into Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore or Home Depot to select our paint chips and the store would mix up some paint samples for us to try at home.

Here is how you do it now:

Sherwin Williams- Sherwin Williams has samples for $8 and they can be picked up curbside at your local store.  However, customers have complained that the paint is not ‘real paint’ and that it only comes with a sheen.

Benjamin Moore-At, you can order paint sheets or one pint paint samples for $10.99 each.  Free shipping when you order 4 or more.

Home Depot-At $4 or $5 per paint sample and free shipping to your home, this is an affordable option and the one I used.  I ordered five samples which came in 8 ounce plastic jars that were clearly labeled, taped shut, and individually bagged ensuring that none leaked in transit.  You can select any sheen you desire, so you can test wall and trim paint. site offers peel and stick paint samples made with real paint.  The samples are re-positionable which could be very convenient. They can send samples of Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Farrow & Ball, and Home Depot paint for $5.95 each and their website features the most popular paint colors.  Customer reviews are mixed but it is worth noting that many of them had ordered two and three times.  This shows that picking the right paint color is a process, no matter how you go about it!

How to sample paint

I started my project in my two-story foyer because it flows into my sitting room and is open to the upstairs hallway. The paint color has to be spot on in this area because it encompasses so much space and it is the first impression when entering my home.  This area will set the tone and dictate the color story for the rest of the rooms.  I started by painting all five of my paint samples on the foyer wall and was able to see how the paint worked with the dark hardwood floors, the white trim and the carpeting going up the staircase.  What surprised me is my neutral buff colored carpet did not work with several of my samples—some caused it to look drab, flat, or even rosy.  This is a fixed furnishing and one I will not be changing, so it is essential that my paint color work with the carpeting.

If you have an open floor plan, you may also choose to test directly on the wall, like I did.  However, if you are going to paint several rooms, it may not be practical to paint colors on the walls in every room.  A trick I learned from an interior designer friend of mine is to paint a white poster board with your two finalists and take the sample board to each room to test in various light conditions.

Even though I know paint sheets and peel and stick options are available, I still recommend buying actual paint samples because it allows you to paint an entire wall, see the actual texture on the wall, and paint a poster board for testing other rooms.  I will be posting photos of my paint sampling on my blog at  If you decide to dive into this project, I would love to see your project photos!

Tracy Wick, SRES, MUP is an Associate Real Estate Broker and Estate Settlement Specialist helping Families and Fiduciaries prepare and sell inherited homes. Find more articles on home buying, selling, elder transition and estate settlement at or contact her directly at 248-912-7407 or