US company Backdrop is aiming to ease the process of choosing the right paint, through a curated selection of colours and adhesive samples for testing on walls, along with an essentials kit and a redesigned can.
Launched this fall by Natalie and Caleb Ebel, Backdrop is a platform that seeks to alleviate the pitfalls of selecting paint, and to encourage people who would otherwise be discouraged from the process.
"Paint is looked at as a hardware store purchase and not a design purchase," Natalie told Dezeen. She and Caleb live on Manhattan's Upper West Side and have moved apartments many times, always opting for a fresh coat of paint to transform a room.
"We used to live by the hardware store, and we'd always walk by and see people in front of the colour wall with like 3,000 colours, almost pulling out their hair," Caleb said. "It became a running joke, how overwhelming it [the process of choosing paint] is."
Backdrop's website allows decorators to pick colour samples for $2 each, with free shipping. Adhesive sampled in the selected shades arrive by mail, so users can stick them anywhere around their home to test the colours in different rooms and lighting conditions.
"What's really important is that is moveable because light changes in a room," Natalie said. "We think this is the best way to sample paint."
Once the perfect hue is chosen, the paint is ordered online. Backdrop offers a calculator that helps users work out how much paint is needed, by inputting the dimensions of the room(s).
The new iPhone tool that works as a digital tape measure comes in handy for this, Caleb recommended.
Also available is an 11-piece kit, with painting essentials like a bush, rollers, handles, trays and tape.
Natalie said that the service is intended to "giving you everything you need, so you don't have to step into a hardware store".
"I grew up painting with my dad, he was a sheet metal worker, and we lived in a very blue-collar home in the Midwest," she said. "We painted my bedroom like 4-5 times before I was 16 years old. It was a very comfortable process for me, but I also saw the pain-points in it as well. It is the cheapest way to transform a space."
Backdrop paints come in a rectangular can with a screwable cap, rather than a traditional cylindrical canister that needs a screwdriver or key to open. The revised paint tin also has a built-in handle to make it easier to carry and pour, hopefully making the process cleaner overall.
Backdrop has launched with 50 colours, which were chosen by the duo with the help of their community, from Instagram surveys and market research based on geography. "All my friends in the Midwest and Kansas City have a light grey [in their homes]," said Natalie. "If you're over a certain age, it's a beige."
The colour names were chosen to be memorable and representative of the true hue. "We've had customers purchasing paint based just off the names, like Surf Camp, West Coast Ghost, and Peyote Picnic," Natalie said.
The duo also wanted to alleviate "the white problem", created by too options for the base shade.
"There should only be four to five whites in a palette: a pure bright white, a cool white, a warm white, an off-white that's warmer and an off-white that's cooler," Natalie said.
Descriptions are also displayed with the colour names to better understand how each will look, with examples like "deep, dark peach" or "soft, charcoal black".
Photography is by Tom Newton.