12+ Paint Apps and Color Tools

Digital Tools to Visualize House Paint Colors

hands on a cellphone taking picture of sky with palm tree at sunset
Capturing Nature's Colors. Juan Silva/Getty Images (cropped)

Paint color apps and other digital tools are great at helping you preview color combinations. Especially helpful are the house paint color apps to use on your own house, interiors and exteriors, before spending a lot of money on paint and labor. For many years, these tools have been offered to professionals by the paint companies. Now, the market is wide open. The house paint colors software, online tools, and paint color match apps listed here are inexpensive, and most are free. Use these digital painting tools to explore possibilities — with or without your smartphone.

White House at Night, a 1890 painting by Vincent van Gogh
Artists Know Color. Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Master artists know color, and Loomatix knows this — the company even uses Van Gogh in their advertising. Remember the color of that incredible sunset, when the light bounced off the clouds and the sky became an amazing shade of blue with swirls of cayenne? Wouldn't that look amazing in the kids' bedroom? Or what about capturing that shade of green you saw along the walls on that cottage in Notting Hill? Or the sky in a Vincent Van Gogh painting? Now, with the Loomatix Color Grab app and a smartphone, anyone can point to the natural world and capture that color in digital code. It's a free download, and they keep pushing the envelope to develop new products.

Signage for Benjamin Moore paint store, with brightly painted Victorian style home in the background
Benjamin Moore in San Francisco, California. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The giant paint manufacturer Benjamine Moore has some nifty products for professionals and do-it-yourselfers. The Personal Color Viewer® is a free paint color visualizer tool that lets you sample the look of interior or exterior color in your home. See how it works with one of their photos — bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, exterior siding. They're all there. Then, if you register to use it, upload your own photo to see different colors on the walls of your own space. With this application, the Benjamin Moore Factory has you covered.

In addition, Benjamin Moore sponsors education and training for professionals through the construction industry's premier online trainer, AEC Daily. You don't have to be a professional needing to earn continuing education credits — anyone can learn about
Color and Paint in Environments for the Aging, Color Foundations, Creating Healthy Environments with Advanced Paint Technology, and Origins of Color and Pigments, and every course is for free.

A window cleaner attends to a freshly washed window of a terraced house in Liverpool, England while the neighbour's favourite colour is obviously red - the colour of his home and the car parked out front
Expanding Color Schemes. Richard Baker In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images

Martin-Senour Paint Company has an old fashioned approach to choosing paint colors — buy samples. Their color sampling program is one of the tools in their Idea Center. If you want to know the theory before the practice, explore their Understanding Color and then How to Use Color, featuring, of course, Martin-Senour® Colors. The Idea Center could use more regular updating, but the company is also busy with marketing their automobile paint. Color support tools provided by NAPA and Martin-Senour assist with selecting automotive finishes — but why not try these tools on home uses? And why don't they combine the two websites? On another front, why not paint your house the color of your car? Take charge of your property!

Free House Paint Apps

Man in colorful cap holding up a smartphone
The Popularity of Mobile Device Applications. Artur Debat/Getty Images (cropped)

You've got your smartphone. You've got your tablet. Now download some of the ever-growing numbers of free mobile apps to help with your next house painting project — available from the iTunes Store or Google Play:

Palettes. Blend and mix complicated color palettes to create just the right shades for your painting and decorating projects. Developer Rick Maddy offer three versions: Free, Basic, and Pro. Beware, though, because the free version runs like a Pro at first, then reverts back. For more complex tasks, get the advanced version for dollars more.

Paint Tester. Take a picture of your room that needs painting, then virtually try out different color schemes. This Luminant Software is available for iOS and Android devices.

Project Color™ by The Home Depot. Works like the Paint Tester app above, but with an orange Home Depot apron. This app has received consistently poor reviews, but many people depend on The Home Depot. Maybe it'll get better. The Google Play download may be more up-to-date than the iTunes version.

Home owner repainting the facade of his house using scaffolding
Painting Is Labor Intensive. plus49/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Painting your house is labor-intensive, so wouldn't it be nice if you could "'See' the finish before you start!"  Resene EzyPaint virtual painting software will let you view thousands of colors manufactured by this New Zealand paint company. Use the easy, free version on EzyPaint online, or download the more sophisticated version which includes a drawing and mapping tool that lets you fine tune the areas you want to color. The Ezypaint software programs are available for older PCs and Macs.

"Resene has a wide range of products, services and tools to suit homeowners doing DIY projects inside and outside," they say, and it's difficult to remember that this website is for products manufactured for New Zealand and Australian markets. The Habitat by Resene magazine reminds us that no matter what hemisphere you live in, inspired colors are universal — and you can buy anything online.

black and white rendering of interior architecture
Bring Color to Interiors. SireAnko/Getty Images (cropped)

Instead of finding the tools associated with a paint product, why not examine what visualization tools are available to any manufacturer? Chameleon Power is a technology company that is not selling paint, so they know what apps and PCs can be made to display — they keep up with the possibilities.

Companies like McCormick Paints have had the good sense to leave the technology to these experts. When you select the McCormick Color Visualizer, select Start Now right away and watch the URL change to https://mccormickpaints.chameleonpower.com. You are now in the hands of the experts. Upload a photo of your house (login required), inside or out, or use an image from the database. Experiment with thousands of McCormick colors, easily identified by name and number. You might not be able to render small details, but this online tool will help you visualize color cominatins before you even touch a brush or roller. With a little experimentation and a more expanisve "Help" screen, you'll be able to "paint" your house in a matter of minutes.

man and woman on couch looking at paint chips in front of an open laptop -- Ashley Hebert And J.P. Rosenbaum Join Valspar Paint To Launch The Valspar Color Project Video Series Benefitting Habitat For Humanity
Valspar Color Project. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Valspar (cropped)

Upload a photo and use the easy online tools to try out Valspar paint colors, which are available at Lowe's home improvement stories. You may find this free tool to be one huge ad for Valspar, but alternative paint color match apps sometimes are filled with unrelated pop-up ads — so what's the difference?

open paint cans, brushes, and rollers -- A general view of atmosphere at the HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams and Lowe's NYC Press Event on May 13, 2015 in New York City.
Colors in Waiting. Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams & Lowe's

The Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap® visualizer tool for the web is now available for iPhone and Android smartphones, and ColorSnap® Visualizer for iPad is yet another version. "ColorSnap Precision is the proprietary technology inside our integrated ColorSnap system," claims Sherwin-Williams

Select from an array of rooms and house styles, then choose the Sherwin-William palette to experiment with color combinations. The match might not be perfect, but this app can help you zero in on the look you want. It's free and fun, as are all of the Sherwin-Williams snap tools — they might even crackle and pop after they snap.

Victorian home with carefully painted architectural details
Landscaping Can Overshadow a Detailed Exterior Paint Combination. Richard Berkowitz/Getty Images

Better Homes & Gardens has always had a lot of ideas about what you can do with your home — so many suggestions that their website has become a sea of confusing options and advertisements. Nevertheless, the dedicated BH&G fan can spend hours in virtual coloring, after registering to receive their advertising. Welcome to Color-a-Home.

viewing 7 open paint cans from the top, in a circle, white in the middle surrounded by yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, and green colors
Open Paint Tins. Justin Allfree/Getty Images (cropped)

Keep in mind that your monitor or mobile device cannot render colors precisely. Here's the fix for that. Since 1994, Logicol S.r.l. has been helping businesses translate computer colors into tints used by chemical designers, commercial architects, and paint manufacturers. Working with IRO Group Limited, the Logicol Color Business Solutions include ColorD3, ® ColorQ3, ® MegaFandeck,® and EasyRGB. You might want to consider visiting the company in person — Logicol is located in the ancient Roman city of Triest in northeastern Italy.

Matthew Sheridan founded Nix Sensor Ltd. the year he graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Mechatronics Engineering. The Canadian-made Nixwas one of the first dedicated color matching systems that really worked well. The factory-calibrated, built-to-last little scanner cube claims to be "the most reliable and user-friendly color measurement solution in the world, and is ideal for industry use due to its speed, simplicity, and digital data storage." Professionals should go straight to the Nix Pro Color Sensor.

Some people want tools that are "brand agnositc."  This means they don't want to be sold a bill of goods — or any specific brand of paint. The folks at colormuse.io/ seem to have the answer with their dedicated scanning device and color matching app available from the iTunes Store or Google Play: After you've captured the color, the muse compares the scan to an inventory of colors produced by the major paint companies like Sherwin-Williams, Behr, Benjamin Moore and Valspar. Both scanner and apps have received good reviews. The Cube by Palette works similarly. So do the Nix Sensors.