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Backdrop, the direct to consumer paint company you may have seen splashed across your Instagram, is staying true to their name and going beyond the interior paint palette to become a one-stop online shop for DIY wall decor with cabinet paint, wallpaper, color consults — the works. I, for one, am super excited.
A year ago, sick of staring at my builder-white walls, I impulsively ordered paint from a few different paint companies, with no real plan except wanting to change…everything (for what it’s worth, don’t do this. Make a plan!). After months of stop/start house projects and navigating an unexpectedly steep learning curve on drywall repair, I find myself returning to the rectangular Backdrop paint can again and again. A clear favorite has emerged.
The color selection at Backdrop, which they periodically add to, hits a nice sweet spot, with a broad range that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Instead of a million versions of greige, their focus is an economy of on-trend colors that are striking but still really usable: for example, while they have five white paint options, there are ten pink ones. Perhaps the best part of their site is that instead of a dinky digital swatch, each color page has a description of that color’s undertones, a picture of the paint itself, a painted wall with shadow, and then (and this is my favorite part) a gallery of images from real life projects.
Rather than just buying the idea of a color (paint names are fun, but what does “Miami Parasol” really mean?) you get a double-dose of inspiration and a sense of how a whole wall or room will look, in various professional and non-professional lighting situations.
I find this actually makes it easier to pull the trigger on some more adventurous color choices, like the soft charcoal TV wall in my living room (in “After Hours”). Even though it was my earliest painting project, looking over it with the critical eye of experience a year and a half later, it still looks surprisingly well-done — and believe me when I say this has everything to do with the quality of the paint and not with any intrinsic skill I started with.
Since I first tried Backdrop, they’ve expanded beyond interior paint and now also offer exterior paint and cabinet and door paint, which I’m seriously thinking of getting to go over some doors I painted with another paint brand that I’m just not happy with. They have 12”x12” adhesive sample swatches for $3, with half-gallon cans going for $45 and gallons for $69.
They also just launched a whole new endeavor with their Wallcoverings, a selection of ‘painterly’ graphic printed wallpapers that compliment their most popular hues, starting at $28 a yard and sold in five yard rolls.
All Backdrop paint ships free, is GreenWise certified, low-VOC, ultra-low odor, and, in my experience, has excellent coverage. Their primer has become my go-to, and their painting supply selection is nicely curated and high quality.
Also, this is a small thing, but I’m such a fan of their paint container: it’s rectangular, with a fixed handle, and a wide mouth lid with a screw cap for pouring. With other paint brands, I ended up decanting paint from the can into squeeze containers, because I hate the whole pry the lid up/wipe the drips/mallet it back on dance.
Backdrop offers a $50 color consultation via email if you’re having trouble pulling the trigger on a big change, and have a service to connect you with professional painters at trade pricing for larger projects (and busy people). So go ahead, browse their gallery, and give in to your dreams of finally painting your bedroom the color you wanted when you were a teenager. But you know better.
Janie Boyton lives in Brooklyn with a mini Australian shepherd and a large pile of books. She researches and writes about 19th-century commodity culture and cool things to buy on the internet, usually not at the same time.
This story was originally published May 20, 2022 12:45 PM.