It always takes me several tries before I get a color just right for a room. And I need to paint the swatches on the walls. BIG swatches, on ALL of the walls. How can I possibly know if the color is right otherwise? ;) He's very patient with me.
Actually, swatching was forbidden in our family for a little while due to the 15 months (I'm not joking) that I had yellow swatches on the family room walls of our previous house. There was just no picking that yellow! Eventually, we realized that Sam had put energy-saving but yucky-light-warmth florescent blubs in the recessed fixtures. Aha! Not my fault at all! Any yellow I was going to choose was going to wind up sallow and slightly green at night because of those bulbs.
#1 Thing to Remember When Choosing Paint: Lighting is Everything.
So, I agreed that the swatching experience had been less than desirable that time (although, not my fault really), and I understood his negativity toward the whole now distasteful practice when I began choosing paint colors for the new house.
For the first few colors, I painted sheets of card stockish paper from Sherwin Williams. That was an okay process, but with rooms that have constantly changing light, it's a little tricky to keep holding the cards up on each different wall and at many different times throughout the day. The kitchen color and the exterior colors went fairly well with that method, but Shug and Punkin's room was a little "off". When it came time to choose a color for SweetP's room - I mean since I was going to be painting it very, very soon and everything - surely swatching this room would be okay. Right?
It actually took him a few days to notice. He looked at the wall and calmly asked, "Why are there swatches on my wall?". He loves me, I tell you :)
So far, I've tested around 4 colors in SweetP's room. One of them is really pretty, but isn't what I had been envisioning. It never ceases to amaze me how one paint can look completely different in two different rooms. That's why the #1 Rule up there in big, bold red is so important. And it's also why I test colors before I buy anything larger that a test pint. Think about it - what is color anyway? It's the light spectrum reflecting off of objects. When the light reflecting off of any paint changes, the color changes! There's no way to know how a color will behave in any given room without testing it out. Generously. I'm going to try one more color in this room after the weekend - Carrington Beige by Benjamin Moore. Hopefully, it'll be a go :)
By the way, the cardstock sheets from Sherwin Williams are not simply cardstock material. They are specially made so the corners do not curl up when wet and so the thick paper does not wrinkle up at all. It's important that the sheets stay completely flat in order to get a true read of the color against the wall. Any curling or bumps would affect the shadows/light and - theoretically, at least - affect the color. They aren't pricey, and they're very sturdy. I think around $3 per sheet. If you cannot swatch - that's the next best thing :)