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Easing the pain of paint

A new coat of paint: It can transform a room for a small fraction of the expense of a renovation. The biggest cost? Losing your mind when you face rows and rows of paint chips. Even if you know you want a pale blue for your powder room walls, that still leaves you with hundreds of choices. Or maybe you have no idea where to begin. Anxiety abounds.

If you want to navigate your options with a little less stress, many of the major paint brands (Benjamin Moore, Behr, Sherwin-Williams and more) offer smartphone apps to help. A new one from Valspar, called Color Connect, will pair you with color consultants for free tips and color picks.

Start by deciding how you want your personalized help, based on three options: Live video, audio and photos, or just photos. You can schedule a video chat, submit photos and receive a recorded audio response, or submit photos and receive written recommendations.

Wary of an option that involved someone seeing me, I chose to send photos and receive an audio response. The submission process was a cinch: Pick the room you need help with (bedroom in my case; a tiny, windowless space with off-white walls), snap photos with your iPhone, select existing photos from your phone or upload from Facebook. You can submit as many as five photos and leave notes with each, then answer questions about the room: How is the lighting? Do you have a color in mind? What do you use the room for? And that’s it.

While you wait for your answer (Valspar says it sends responses within three business days), browse more than 3,000 Valspar colors or use the app’s calculator to find out how many gallons of paint you will need. You can also enter your Zip code to find the nearest store that carries the color you’re looking for, and watch how-to videos for painting tips.

Although the interface is simple to use on your iPhone and iPad, it’s not available for Android devices. And there’s no guarantee you’ll like the experts’ advice. (Valspar suggested I try Summer Gray, a neutral tone that I think would pair well with my gray comforter and orange pillows, and complement almost any accent color.) Keep in mind that the tips are free and can help you jump-start your project. The more detailed you are about what you’re looking for or dislike, the easier it will be for Valspar to recommend something you’re likely to test on your walls.

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