10 Paint Apps and Color Tools

Digital Tools to Visualize or Match 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.

  • 01 of 10

    Loomatix Color Grab

    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.

  • 02 of 10

    Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer

    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, or 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.

  • 03 of 10

    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. This app works like the Paint Tester app above, but with an orange Home Depot apron. The Google Play download gets worse reviews than the iTunes version.

  • 04 of 10

    Resene EzyPaint

    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.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    McCormick Paints Chameleon Power

    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.

  • 06 of 10

    Valspar's Virtual Painter

    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, making it difficult to escape the commercial aspect of free tools.

  • 07 of 10

    Sherwin-Williams Color Tools

    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.

  • 08 of 10

    Logicol S.r.l. Color Business Solutions

    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.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Nix Mini Color Sensor

    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.

  • 10 of 10

    Color Muse

    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. It works similarly to the Nix Sensor.