Designers always advise testing several paint colors before committing to gallons. But even a few experimental quarts -- typically the minimum amount sold -- add up, especially if you're using a premium brand.
The U.S. distributor for Schreuder, the Dutch company that produces some of the most expensive paints -- including Martha Stewart's high-end label -- has a more-affordable solution. Instead of having to purchase a $30 test quart to dab a few strokes of the famously creamy Martha paint on your wall, you can go online or to selected stores to pick up a four-ounce Sample Pot for just $5.
Eighty-seven colors from the three Schreuder Martha's Fine Paints collections -- Araucana Colors, Colors of the Garden and Skylands -- are being marketed this way, along with 12 designer hues from Schreuder's own label. (Martha's considerably less expensive Everyday Colors are sold at Kmart and Sears.)
"One sample covers an 8-by-8-foot test swath -- enough to tell what a room will look like," says John Lahey, president of Fine Paints of Europe, Schreuder's importer. Online the first pot is free, but there's a $5 shipping fee. Participating retailers are also listed on the site (www.finepaints.com or 800-332-1556).
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