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Is there an app to choose paint colors?

Choosing paint colors for your home can be a daunting task. With so many options to consider like undertones, finishes, sheens and shades, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Thankfully, technology has stepped in to help make the process easier with paint color apps. These apps allow you to virtually test out different paint colors to see how they would look in a room before actually painting it. In this article, we’ll explore some of the top paint color apps available to help you find and coordinate the perfect shades for your home.

What is a paint color app?

A paint color app is a software application, typically available on smartphones or tablets, that allows users to preview, choose and coordinate paint colors digitally. These apps utilize advanced technology like augmented reality, 3D rendering and AI to show you how different paint colors would look on the actual walls in your home. Here are some of the key features paint color apps offer:

  • Digital paint swatches – Browse hundreds or even thousands of paint colors from major brands like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Behr etc.
  • View paint colors in real environment – Use your smartphone camera to virtually ‘paint’ colors onto your actual walls and see how they would look.
  • Coordination suggestions – Apps algorithmically suggest coordinated colors from their database that go with your selected shades.
  • Save color palettes – Choose colors for an entire room or home and save these color schemes to return to later.
  • Paint recommendations – Some apps even suggest specific paint products you can purchase to achieve your desired shades.

By offering these features, paint apps allow you to try out more color options from the comfort of your home before committing to buying paint. This helps remove a lot of the guesswork from what can be a difficult process for many homeowners and renters alike.

Benefits of using a paint color app

Here are some of the benefits paint color apps provide:

  • Visualize colors in your space – The augmented reality and virtual painting features in apps allow you to see colors on your actual walls before painting them.
  • Test out unlimited options – You can experiment with any color imaginable with just a few taps and swipes.
  • View paint colors accurately – Screens on smartphones and tablets display paint colors more accurately compared to paper swatches.
  • Match colors and palettes – Apps make it easy to match colors across multiple rooms and save coordinated palettes.
  • Share and get input – Share color palettes with family or professionals to get feedback before painting.
  • Find paint equivalents – Don’t have to stick to one brand, as apps suggest similar colors across paint brands.
  • Purchase paint conveniently – Apps are connected to online and local paint stores for easy purchasing.

Using a paint app takes a lot of the difficulty, confusion and surprises out of choosing paint colors. Within minutes you can evaluate dozens of color options and coordinate shades across an entire home digitally before you paint.

Popular paint color apps

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what paint apps are and why they can be useful, let’s look at some popular options. Here are 5 top paint color apps to consider using for your next paint project:

App Key Features
ColorSnap Visualizer Access Sherwin-Williams’ collection of over 1,500 colors; use camera to ‘paint’ walls; coordinate palettes; purchase paint
ColorSmart by Behr Choose from Behr’s palette of over 4,000 colors; augmented reality feature; coordinating palettes; buy paint online
Paint My Place by Benjamin Moore Benjamin Moore’s app with over 3,500 colors; AR tool; find local painters
Color Capture by Valspar Valspar’s colors; scan photos to match colors; AR; share palettes; find pro painters
Paintrz Use AR to test colors across brands; generate palettes; get expert advice; no purchasing

These are just a handful of the many excellent paint apps available. While features vary, any of these apps will make choosing paint colors much easier. Consider downloading a few different ones to see which interface and functionality you prefer.

How to use paint color apps

Most paint apps share a similar process for choosing colors that goes something like this:

  1. Select a starting color that you like or are considering.
  2. Use the app’s camera to virtually paint this color onto your walls and see it in your environment.
  3. Browse recommendations of coordinating colors and apply them to other walls to preview palettes.
  4. Experiment, iterate, and save color palettes that you like.
  5. Purchase specific paint colors or palettes through the app or take your saved palettes to the paint store.

However, every paint app will have its own unique tools and interface. Refer to the app’s instructions for exact steps on using its specific features. Some additional tips for getting the most out of paint apps:

  • Use the app on a current smartphone or tablet for best performance.
  • Make sure you have good lighting in the room when using the camera.
  • Start with a single wall or accent area to test colors first.
  • Capture multiple palettes for a room to compare options.
  • Ask for feedback from others before finalizing paint purchases.

Taking the time to test different color combinations using the app can make a big difference versus choosing paint on a small swatch alone. Don’t be afraid to experiment digitally before committing to the real thing.

Paint color app alternatives

If downloading another app doesn’t sound appealing, you can mimic some of the key digital paint color features using just your smartphone’s native tools:

  • Use your camera to take photos of the room you want to paint.
  • Open the photos in an editing app and use tools like filters and color overlays to preview different colors.
  • Share the edited photos with others to get feedback on color options.
  • Save edited photos of favored palettes to reference when purchasing paint.

While this process won’t be as seamless or offer as many robust tools as specialized paint apps, it can still be helpful for digitally previewing colors in your space. You can also reference paint brand websites that allow you to upload room photos and test out their color collection digitally.

Choosing paint finishes and sheens

Previewing the actual paint color is only part of the process. You also have to consider what type of paint finish and sheen you want. Here are a few tips for choosing:

  • Flat or matte paints minimize wall imperfections but are harder to clean. Good for ceilings and low-traffic areas.
  • Eggshell or satin finishes provide some sheen and are suitable for most rooms.
  • Semi-gloss is very washable and great for kitchens, bathrooms, and children’s rooms.
  • High-gloss gives a shiny, smooth finish and is best for trim and doors.
  • Base the finish on room use and lighting – matte for natural light, higher sheens for indirect light.
  • Consider a primer first for dramatic color changes or unpainted surfaces.

Choosing the right paint product for your needs is as important as picking the color. The finish impacts durability and washability. Be sure to get retailer guidance on sheens and primers as well before making final paint selections.

Tips for picking paint colors

Here are some additional tips for choosing paint colors beyond just using apps:

  • Select colors that complement your home’s architectural style and features.
  • Use neutrals in busier rooms and save bold colors for accent walls and smaller spaces.
  • Make sure colors work with the room’s lighting at all times of day.
  • Don’t overlook the undertones of colors like grays, whites, and beiges.
  • Pick timeless rather than trendy colors for a long-lasting look.
  • View color samples at different times in natural and artificial light.
  • Purchase a paint sample to test colors out before fully committing.

While apps make the process much easier, choosing paint colors still requires careful thought. Make sure the shades you select enhance the space and fit your needs.


Paint color apps provide a convenient digital way to explore, coordinate, and preview paint colors for your home. They allow you to virtually try out unlimited color combinations until finding the perfect shades. While extremely helpful, paint apps should supplement rather than replace traditional methods of looking at physical paint samples. Use both analog and digital tools to find colors that you’ll be happy with long after the paint dries.