How to Preview Paint Colors on a Virtual House

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Your house is a blank canvas when testing paint colors online.
Your house is a blank canvas when testing paint colors online. (Image: house painting image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

Imagine making decisions about exterior paint colors without the need to head to the paint store first. It is possible to test a wide variety of exterior paint colors before you make a purchase and without dealing with the mess of painting test swatches on the siding Some websites provide you with free software tools that make color choices fast and easy. You can know exactly how a house will look before applying a coat of paint by previewing paint colors on a virtual house.

Use a Website-supplied Photo

Snap a digital photo of the front of your home.

Find a free tool for viewing exterior paint colors on a series of provided photos. Look for paint company, remodeling and interior design websites for this type of tool.

Locate the tool's introduction page and follow the directions to view colors on a virtual house. Use the photograph taken earlier to match your house to the house styles provided within the tool. A similar-looking house can give you a good idea of what your house will look like.

View chosen colors on the virtual house as directed. You usually can modify the color palette to change body, trim and accent colors. Some programs allow you to change the image and save color palettes.

Use Actual Photos

Photograph the exterior of your house with a digital camera. Photograph each side (elevation) of the house. Load the photos into the computer and save them with the file extension .JPG.

Choose a website that provides a tool for viewing and applying paint on actual photographs of the house. Some sites may offer this service free and others may charge a small amount for this tool. For example, Behr Paints allows the downloading of photographs when you register for free to use the company's tools.

Load the photographs according to the directions on the website. Behr Paints' tool provides a video demonstration of how to load photos and use them with its software. Pop-up blocking must be disabled to use the Behr online paint tool.

Apply color as directed to your now-virtual house. The Behr tool lets you to choose and modify the color palette. You then select a color and click directly on the area you would like to see in that color.

Save your color palettes and projects and print the results. Behr offers the option of saving all exterior paint color projects.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint manufacturers' websites provide paint color numbers and names for easy purchase during or after viewing.
  • Free website tools may require a viewer to sign up and give personal information, like an email address and a mailing address. These tools usually allow the viewer to save color schemes for viewing at a later time.
  • Always verify paint choices by requesting paint sample chips or visiting a paint store to obtain them.

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