I am testing paint colors as you recommended, against white walls. Even the light colors look too dark!
First, colors almost always look darker when painted on the wall than they appear to be in the color card. Secondly, you say you are painting your color patch tests on white walls, which is excellent, as the white won't "skew" the actual hue of the color. At this point you need to really see the color; looking at it against white will enable you to do that.
Keep in mind, though, that any color will look "dark" in contrast to your white walls. This is how color plays tricks on our eyes. It is feasible to have the shade of your choice lightened a bit, but even the lightened shade will probably look dark to you, as your eye has become accustomed to the white walls.
Hint #1: Test a slightly deeper version of your color near your existing "patch tests". It will give you a frame of reference, and allow you to see that what you thought was dark only seems that way in contrast to the white.
Hint #2: Don't trim doors and moldings in pure, bright, optical white. Use a deep, creamy-colored white. There are some amazingly beautiful "deep whites" available these days. Here again, less contrast will give your walls a lighter appearance.
Hint # 3: Knowing what fabrics you are going to use in the room before selecting your wall paint color is highly adviseable. It's even better if you know what rug will be in the room. Having these fabrics and colors oh hand when testing wall paint colors will enable you to achieve the color which will compliment the room perfectly.
~ Karen Saloomey
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