Online Paint Visualizers That Let You See Before You Commit

Visualizing new paint schemes is like predicting the future.  You try your best, but you never feel like you are hitting the mark.

Daubing ovals of paint on your wall, "test painting" entire walls, painting cardboard squares and taping them up--people try everything, but nothing gives an accurate idea of what the entire room would look like.

Is there something better?  Yes--sort of.  Online paint visualizers provide you a different (if not always better) view of how a paint scheme will look.

  • 01 of 04

    Choose the Paint Company You Like First

    Working with Paint Swatches
    Working with Paint Swatches. Michael H / Getty Images

    Before you invest your time in any paint visualizer, remember that these are marketing tools that paint companies offer for free to lead you towards purchasing their products.

    Once you decide on a paint choice, you are given the paint name and identification number to take to the store.  While it is not impossible to cross from one brand to another brand, it is difficult.  A Sherwin-Williams orange will almost certainly have a close match with Valspar, but do not expect an exact match.

  • 02 of 04

    Sherwin Williams ColorSnap Paint Visualizer

    A great and complex (but in a good way) online paint tool from the old and established company that Covers the World, as they like to say.

    ColorSnap, though, does have its problems.  You will encounter a few of those "Now what do I do?" moments where you are left hanging.  But if you can learn ColorSnap's intricacies, it will be a valuable tool for you.

    Choose This If You:

    Need a nearly professional-level paint visualizer.  The drag-and-drop paint palette is useful, too.

    How Realistic?

    As with most visualizers, rooms do not look very realistic.


    ColorSnap requires registration if you want to save a room.  But it is refreshingly quiet about registration, allowing you to "paint" prepared rooms with no interruptions.

  • 03 of 04

    Benjamin Moore Personal Color Viewer

    Benjamin Moore's Personal Color Viewer has not been updated in years and this is a good thing.  

    While color selections are continually updated, the tool itself is similar to the bare-bones software that Benjamin Moore originally incorporated into their site with the now-defunct Swatchbox Technologies.

    Choose This If You:

    Want a tool that is easy, old-school, and simple.  Since this is not a mobile-friendly visualizer, be sure that you are on a laptop or desktop computer.

    How Realistic?

    Rooms have basic shadowing, but otherwise do not look very realistic.


    You can freely design prepared rooms without registration.  If you want to design a color scheme for your own room, you need to register with a password or through a third-party social provider like Facebook.

  • 04 of 04

    Valspar Virtual Painter

    Valspar is Lowe's Home Improvement's house brand of paint.  If you like Lowe's, Valspar is your automatic choice.  

    Valspar's Virtual Painter's greatest asset is that it allows you to change the color of other parts in the room, usually secondary or accent walls but even elements such as furniture.  

    Virtual Painter can be a frustrating tool to work with, though, because you need to bring up a separate screen for the color swatches.  Once you find a color, you then click the "Take To Painter" button and go back to your room.  

    Choose This If You:

    Want a more complex paint visualizer that gives you a great range of choices, and you do not mind pushing through the tool's limitations.

    How Realistic?

    Rooms are shadowed and look quite realistic.


    Mildly frustrating.  It seems that no matter what you do, Virtual Paint is continually asking you to register or log in.