ask the experts4 min read

How to try your paint & wallpaper samples at home

Neutral paint samples in living room

WordsNatasha Bradley


So you've decided to decorate and you've got your hands on some Lick paint or wallpaper samples to help you pick the perfect palette for your space...huzzah! But there’s a bit more to just slapping one up on the wall when making a decision on which colour/design to go with. Natasha our lead colour specialist has put together a quick guide on how to try your samples at home so you can find the colour you love with ease. Let's begin.

Shop wallpaper and paint samples

1. Move them around

If it's love at first sight then read no further. Order the colour and get decorating.

However, you don't need to rush to make your decision just yet. Firstly, try moving the sample patch onto each wall in your space, including the window wall.

The colour will look completely different, each time, depending on how much light is bouncing off it. The more natural daylight reflecting on the surface, the lighter the colour will appear. Colours near windows will appear a lot lighter than the wall surrounding them, as the window wall is more likely to be in shadow.

With Lick peel-and-stick samples you can easily place them at various points around a room before you make a decision. Make sure to try them against key pieces of furniture, at different positions around the room, and look at them at different times of the day too.

2. Pay attention to the lighting

The colours will change throughout the day, so make sure to view these at the time that you are most likely to be in the room... so not necessarily 5 minutes before you dash off to work, especially if it is going to be a space used mostly in the evenings.  

Continue to move your sample around at different times of the day.  Colours will look different in the morning light and they will change when viewed in the afternoon light. They will look very different again in the evening with electric lighting on them so make sure you are happy with the results at all times of the day.

As a general rule - the natural lighting of your room is dependent on which direction it faces. If you have a south-facing room, in the UK, then the colours will appear lighter during the day, whereas if you have a north-facing room then the colour will appear darker during the daylight hours. West-facing rooms are cooler in the morning and brighter in the afternoon so your paint colour will look darker in the morning and lighter later on in the day, and east-facing rooms are the opposite - i.e. lighter in the morning, and darker in the afternoon.

But it’s not all about natural light - your choice in lighting fixtures is also an important factor to consider when testing your samples. If you find that all the colours you are choosing don’t quite look right during the evening, it could be that the colour of your light bulbs are affecting the paints and making them appear cold. This often happens when cool white LED bulbs have been installed. Even some of the warm white LED bulbs can be on the cool side if entry-level ones have been purchased. This is highly likely to make all the colours in the room feel slightly less inviting, not just the paint colour.

3. Two's a crowd

Your eye is more effective at processing a single colour at a time. You will read a mix of all the colours differently depending on which colour it is placed next to. Therefore, we always suggest placing the sample patches onto the wall and viewing them both individually as well as collectively as part of a palette.