We may not be able to “paint with all the colors of the wind,” as Disney’s animated Pocahontas sang, but color palette apps allow us to come pretty close. Using a mobile device, you can create color palettes from thousands and thousands of different shades, and you can even snap photos to construct custom color schemes, allowing you to color coordinate everything from wall paint to pillows. If you’re planning on painting or redecorating, a color palette app can be a valuable tool in choosing the right paint or decor.

Search “color palette” in your device’s app store, and you will see that there are more than 100 apps available for free or for purchase. This blog will highlight the most common features available in these apps; before downloading one, read the description to be sure it includes the features you want. Here’s what color palette apps typically allow you to do:

  • Build on a photo. Most apps can generate an entire color palette based on a photo. In some of these apps, you can simply point your phone’s camera, and a color palette appears on-screen and dynamically changes as you shift the camera to different objects; once you snap the picture, you can save or manipulate the palette.

  • Customize color palettes. You can create your own color palettes, using your own photos or designers’ recommendations as inspiration. Some apps will also generate color schemes, so you can easily figure out eye-pleasing color combinations—like complementary, analogous, or triad—with the click of a button.

  • Match to a paint color. Pick a beloved hue from an existing photo or take a picture of a color you love, and then use the app to match the color with paint from a particular brand. In some apps, you can even take a photo of the room you want to paint, and the app will process the colors in the room—like linens or window treatments—and suggest paint palettes that would go well with existing decor.

  • Browse specific paint brands. Many paint retailers offer websites and apps that allow you to explore the paint colors they offer, and some apps allow you to browse and compare colors from multiple brands.

  • Visualize a paint palette. Some apps can help you test color choices by applying them digitally to a photo of the room; this allows you to preview a color before spending any money on paint.

  • Save your choices. Most apps allow you to store your palettes for later perusal, plus you can email the color schemes to friends or family members for their advice or approval.

An app is a great way to explore color palettes for your home, but don’t rely exclusively on your phone; sometimes colors on your device may vary slightly from actual paint colors. It’s also important to keep in mind the basics of color theory, like which colors pair well together and which don’t. Before downloading any apps, read this blog for a refresher on different color schemes and for tips on how to choose the right colors for your home, and check out this blog for advice on the 60-30-10 color rule. Any forethought you put into your color palettes can make these apps even more useful.

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Sources: Apple Store; Google Play; Huffington Post.

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