What You Need to Know About Buying Paint Online

Blonde woman with braids painting a white wall grey with a paint roller

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These days, nearly everything you need can be purchased online from the comfort of your couch. From paper towels to to higher priced items such as motor vehicles, the world is becoming more and more digital. You've probably already purchased some furniture online—mattresses, couches, chairs, and more. But as easy as it is to outfit your home from your computer, what about buying paint online?

Many of us simply don't have the time to drive to the hardware store, pick out a color, and wait for it to be mixed. Instead, more and more paint retailers have begun to offer their products online, saving you time and the hassle of dealing with brick and mortar stores during your next renovation. But buying paint isn't as simple as purchasing a new duvet cover, and there are some key things you should keep in mind if you decide to order a can from your computer.

How to Buy Paint Online

If you're interested in buying paint online but you have no idea where to start, the process is surprisingly similar to simply heading into your big box store. Many of the most well-known paint brands that you already know and love (Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, Valspar, and more) can be purchased online. For example, Benjamin Moore sells paint samples and fan decks online, and allows customers to purchase cans of paint for pickup at a local store. Some retailers, such as Home Depot, also allow you to select your color from popular brands and either ship directly to your home or pickup at a store nearby.

Beyond the traditional brands you already know, there are many new players in the paint space that have really embraced the digital era. Millennial-focused brands like Clare and Backdrop are now sold exclusively online and offer a more curated buying experience. No matter how you decide to make your purchase, there are endless options for buying paint online.

Above view of paint cans filled with different colors
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How Do You Pick Colors Online?

One of the biggest hesitations people have about buying paint online is how to make a decision when you can't see the color in person. Many paint retailers have tried to make the paint buying process even easier by introducing tech-driven solutions to help you make the right choice. Many brands, like Sherwin-Williams and Behr, have virtual "try on" studios where you can visualize the paint in your room through an app. In a sense, this actually helps you picture your new paint color in a room better than if you went to the store and looked at a sample.

Additionally, some retailers even offer color-matching technology to help take the guesswork out of the paint buying process. This is especially helpful if you're matching preexisting paint on your walls. For example, ColorSmart by Behr allows you to upload a picture of your room to its app, which will automatically match the paint color for you.

But Can You Return It?

So you had good intentions with that bold teal paint, but in reality it's a bit too garish and bright for your liking. What can you do? Depending on the retailer, you may even be able to return your already-mixed paint. Online sites Clare and Backdrop both stand behind their products, and will refund you for your original payment if you're unhappy for any reason. Other big box retailers tend to follow their in-store policies and typically will not allow you to return custom-tinted or mixed paint.

If you're concerned about returning paint, it's a good idea to order a sample beforehand. While the paint tinting process is incredibly scientific and precise, you may want to try out the actual color on your wall, with your own home's lighting—and that's okay. Nearly every brand of paint will offer a sample so you can test in advance.

It's also always a good idea to estimate the exact amount you'll need before ordering so you aren't leftover with too much extra that you're unable to return.

What to Keep in Mind

Picking a paint color can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. One of the best things about paint is that it's reversible, so there's no reason not to try that trendy sage green or the bold yellow you've been dreaming about in your kitchen. Paint is a great way to transform a room, and can make a space feel moody, calming, soothing, or energizing with just a single coat. And, with technology making the paint buying process easier than ever, there's no reason not to experiment.