When we were asked if we wanted to give the DataColor ColorReader a whirl, we both jumped at the chance but for very different reasons. It calls to Emma’s innate desire to plan, gather elements of the inspirational and then exhaust all possible options before landing on the right colour combination. For Robyn it offers the chance to get creative with the space around her, giving her instant answers on the shades that make her soul sing. An innovative tool that gives you a colour reading in an instant, it cuts out any ambient light for the most accurate results, which is critical when choosing paint. Add to that the fact it scans straight through to your phone where you can get to mood boarding or simply file for a later date and it starts to look like your days of having to rifle through endless colour charts are a thing of the past.

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The colour picker - a white plastic oblong with a button at one end, sits next to a phone displaying a colour paelette of nudes and browns

Emma on using it

So, we all know I love a plan. I’m not somebody who enjoys winging it, and probably never will be. And I’m also somebody who loves a cohesive home that keeps its flow through every room, so for me, a tool like the ColorReader is decorating heaven. Want to know what paint colour goes best with your beloved vintage sideboard? Zap it with the ColorReader. Want to know how to carry your tonal living room theme through to your dining room without using the exact same paint? Browse the Colour Palette for your sideboard paint and pick one that complements it. Just love finding out the RGB colour profiles of things so you’re in no doubt of getting the exact match? It does that too. Genuinely, if you’re a plan-y, process-driven interiors nut like me, this is going to make you feel so safe in your choices.

Robyn on using it

Unlike Emma, I do not love a plan but I do get my inspiration on the go so the ColorReader is absolutely ideal for me. Set the scene: you’re me, you’re in a gallery, the curator has used the perfect blue for one of the rooms. Gone are the days of me sulkily skulking off because there’s no chance of finding out the hue. I simply open my bag and voila – I can match the very shade in seconds. Pop the little cap and open the app, press the reader to the surface, scan and there you have it, an exact colour match. The app is also a veritable playground for people who love to hypothetically, or actually, jazz things up. Whether you want access to the full colour library of certain brands (bliss) or a little guidance on complimentary or clashing palettes, it’s all there at your fingertips. And yes, I did scan the dog…

How to use it

  1. Open the lens cap and click into place
  2. Find a flat surface you want to colour-match
  3. Place the surface in good light, if possible
  4. Lie the ColorReader flat on it
  5. Either press the big button on the reader or hit the Read button on the app
  6. Marvel as your colour is matched
  7. Scroll through the different colour palettes to see whether you’re feeling brights, neutrals or something completely different
  8. Save the palettes down with notes about how you want to use them
  9. Use the colour readings to get the exact Hex, Lab or RGB make-up for each tone
  10. Use the app to find actual paints in the closest matches to those readings
Three mobile phones on a textured black background. Each screen shows a different shade of mossy green or brown

Emma on tones

Unsurprisingly, I wanted to find some lovely neutrals I could use to match up with some of the existing furniture for when I move into the new house. The really nice thing about the ColorReader tool, is that it not only suggests close matches and palettes for the thing you’ve just scanned, it also lets you browse the fan decks of similar tones (think: those big fanned-out paint colour swatches you get in massive home stores). Because I’m indecisive, that feature lets me scroll through lots and lots of reeeeeeeally similar tones, through the colour spectrum, before eventually, probably going back to the tone the tool suggested in the first place. It gave me chance to be inspired by colours I might not have landed on in the first place. I found myself really drawn to some much darker, mossier tones than I thought I’d have liked. Who knows what the new house is going to look like now! The woods..?

Robyn on tones

I’m on a true decorating spree at the moment and, of course, that means I’m looking to combine a lot of colours and consider, and then reject, a whole host of combinations. Whether I’m working out what goes with my potentially orange dressing room or flip-reversing it and contemplating painting the whole place various shades of peach, the ColorReader is there to help. It takes me on a visual journey and lands me in areas I wouldn’t have ever imagined: green and a really dark maroon? Really? Answer: yes, really. It also allows me to consider the power of a more neutral palette and shows me how to be punchy with pale colours, something that doesn’t come naturally but that I’m massively craving, given the overstimulating nature of the world right now.

Emma on ColorReader EZ

You know what, I’ve never used something like the ColorReader EZ before, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect. But I actually think that, for somebody like me, it could be a genuinely helpful tool. If you’re new to decorating and scoping about for ideas, or if you’re unsure of yourself and need a bit of backing-up in the decision-making process, it’s a really helpful little gadget. I tend to always gravitate towards similar tones – beiges, greys, maybe greige on a wild day – and seeing other palettes and colours brought in next to them gave me a little commitment-free creative insight on how I could pull a room together. Even if you’re not going to use every palette for your walls, knowing that this particular shade of rouge goes with this particular shade of beige gives you a head start on finding, say, accessories or upholstery for the room. So I think I shall probably use it quite a lot to help streamline and inspire my decorating choices. And for €69, I think it’s a pretty good price point whatever stage of your interiors journey you’re at.

Robyn on ColorReader EZ

If you wanted to invent a gadget that was optimally thrilling to someone like me then this would be it. I get my inspiration from everywhere and everything. Now I can translate that visual scrapbook into actual decor decisions without letting the memories of that crucial shade dissipate and ending up with something that feels a little off. Whether I’m scanning the perfect skirt, friend’s lounge or café lavatory, I can get answers in an instant, unaffected by ambient light and translated right to my phone. The tool itself is tiny enough that I can just pop it in my bag when I head out, ready to scan at will plus it’s cheap enough to justify as a plucky amateur decorator. It’s an utter joy to freewheel through all the colours on offer via the app and get really inspired in a new way. Leafing through the palettes is hypnotic and you can spend some serious time dreaming up schemes for rooms you don’t even have yet. If there’s someone who loves to decorate in your household then buy them one of these immediately.

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