All of these mobile apps allow you to use *your own photos* meaning that you can get an idea of how a paint color will actually look in your room, in your home — not just a gorgeous stock photo. Like before, you’ll get better results if you have a clear, well-lit photo with minimal distractions against the wall. Especially if you’ll be redecorating, clear the wall to get a better virtual paint sample. But if you’ll be leaving Grandma’s hutch there, it’s okay to leave it for the photo, too.
And remember — even if these apps only give you certain brands, any paint color formula can be mixed in any brand, so don’t let that limit you!
These apps were given a test drive on both Android (Galaxy S5) and Apple (iPhone6) where available.
This post is part of a series about great painting and paint color tips. You can see the other posts here:
- Tips and tricks for painting
- How to test a paint color before you buy it
- Mobile apps to try out paint colors
- Creating a paint color palette from a photo
- 5 tricks for choosing the perfect paint color
DIY Mobile Apps to Test Paint Colors
Get it: Google Play (pro upgrade available, 99 cents)
- Test paint color on multiple surfaces using your own photo
- Benjamin Moore Classic and Behr Premium Plus colors (upgrade to pro, 99 cents, for more options)
- Easy to use, although a little bit trickier to pick paint colors
- Wall auto-selection is very good
This app was my favorite on Android, and it’s one that I will leave on my phone, for fun — and one that I would definitely feel alright about spending 99 cents on to get more color options, if I was wanting to test out more. Easy to use, and virtually no “clean-up” required to get a good match on the area to paint.
- Apply paint colors to your own room photo
- Good for iPhone, lacking options for Android
- Only RGB values of paints, not matched to brand/hue
This app is okay for Android, but much more robust and useful for iPhone. The Android app is very limited — there’s only a slider to choose colors, which makes it very hard to get a good color match — so I’d say meh for Android users. The iPhone app, on the other hand, offers many more features (even in the free version that we tested). You can choose a color from a photo of your choice or from a palette, and then select your own room photo to apply the color too. The default wall selection is decent, and there’s a slider to adjust how much of the wall you want the color to cover. You can also achieve a more accurate result by using tools such as brush, eraser, and tape, if you’re willing to put in the time.
Paint My Place
Get it: iTunes (upgrade available, $2.99)
- Use your photo to test paint colors
- Images cropped to square
- Not all features showed or worked for me (free version)
- Repeated upgrade invitations were frustrating
I really wanted to like this app, but the free version was a little disappointing and I’m not sure I’d invest $2.99 to upgrade and unlock additional features (even after being asked after every step). It’s well-reviewed, though, so maybe I was just having a bad night!
- Try paint colors on your own LIVE camera feed
- Image and color quality is lacking, but kind of a fun app
This app threw me for a loop (thus the garish color choices!) — you don’t upload a photo, but rather it pulls directly from your camera. So you can choose a paint color, apply it to the wall, and then walk around your house for a little virtually painted tour. Not super useful since you have to be in the room you want to paint (as opposed to lounging, traveling, etc) but a fun app nonetheless.
My Room Painter (from Crown)
- Virtually paint walls, wood, or metal to update interior and exterior
- Easy and accurate paint application
- Better on iPhone than Android
This is another app that is better for iPhone users than for Android. Both apps worked, but I ran across several glitches in the Android app in just a few minutes of using it. You can select your color from the library or from your own photo, and then easily apply it to an area of the photo. Different areas are easily differentiated, and the app overall is easy to use.
Mitre10 Virtual Wall Painter
Get it: Google Play
- Easy to use, effective for testing out colors
- Limited colors
The color selection on this app was quite limited, but the app itself was easy to use and effective.
Honorable Mention: ColorSnap Studio by Sherwin-Williams
(added 6/6/15) I didn’t have an iPad to test this, but ColorSnap Studio for iPad will let you test paint colors on your own photos as well.
Honorable Mention: Valspar Color Connect
Get it: iTunes (iPhone/iPad)
- Browse colors and connect with a Valspar professional for help in mocking up a room
This is kind of a bonus and outlier, since this app doesn’t allow you to test colors yourself. Instead, you can live chat or email someone at Valspar to tell them what you’re looking for and send them a photo, and they will do the virtual painting for you. A nice feature if that’s the kind of help you want!