When you buy a can of paint called Trenchcoat Khaki you can pretty much expect it’ll be close in color to the coat Columbo made famous. But when you pick up a can of Quiet Veranda, Opera Glasses, Lounge Singer or Toll Booth, you may not expect to see variations of the same hue—something we used to call tan. These days it seems paint makers are trying to sell you a story rather than a can of paint.
“For a long time we had to connect the color name with the general color reference,” Sue Kim, the color trend and forecast specialist for the Valspar paint company, told the New York Times. “But now we’re exploring color names that are a representation of your lifestyle.” What’s next, Dirty Socks on Floor?
Consumer Reports has noted this trend before in our ongoing tests of interior paints. The experts we spoke to were split on whether the kooky names were easier to remember or whether plain vanilla names were easier to place in the palette. But whatever the paint’s name (or number), you’ll need to focus on the color:
- Don’t choose until you’ve developed the room’s overall scheme. It’s harder to find fabric, carpeting, and furniture you like than it is to find the perfect paint color, and paint can be cheaper and easier to change.
- Narrow your choice with online color-selection tools, which are offered by major manufacturers.
- When you shop, bring colors from fabrics you’re trying to match.
- Look at paint-sample strips with a range that includes your choice; that way you’ll see whether you’re in the right color family.
- Consider whether you want a “warm” color (yellow undertones) or a “cool” one (blue undertones). Each lends a different feel.
- Buy sample jars, apply the paint, let it dry, and see how it looks in different light.
- Choose a high-quality paint. Coverage, gloss type, and resistance to fading are factors to consider. Behr paints (available at Home Depot), Valspar (at Lowe’s), and Kilz (at Walmart) are among those that did well in our past tests of interior paints.