How To Match Paint To An Exact Shade

The actual work of painting isn’t very fun, but choosing new paint and seeing the difference that it makes is one of the best parts of remodeling. But even if you’re matching paint, going paint shopping can be fun.

Why Is Matching Paint Important

The one thing that can turn it from fun to frustrating is not being able to match it. Matching paint is a science but there are quite a few ways to match paint. But first, let’s take a look at why matching paint matters. 

Why Is Matching Paint Important? 

Matching paint can be important for a lot of reasons. These reasons are not easy to see at first and will come across as more than a feeling than a fact. Accepting the reasons you want to match the paint is a huge step. 

It could be a psychological reason, an aesthetic reason, or something else entirely. Only you can find out why it is important to you. Here are the reasons you probably want to match paint instead of getting new paint. 

Nostalgia 

There are some colors that you just love the memories that are attached to them. You may have concrete memories of why you love the colors and you may just know that you love to reminisce when near them. 

The reason isn’t important. What’s important is that this color makes you feel like a kid again. Or perhaps newly married again. Nostalgia is a magical medicine that should be used as often as you feel healthy. 

Connection 

Some colors you just connect to. They make you feel a certain way and you feel at home when looking at them. This connection is important in your own home which is why we strive to find that color again. 

Finding out what you want from a paint color, or what you like about your old paint color, can help you find out where to go from there. It is okay to feel an emotional connection to a paint color so go ahead and relish in it. 

Color Theory 

This is similar to connection and nostalgia. It involves the harmony of certain color combinations. Even changing the shade of one color a hair can affect the entire dynamic of a room. So of course exact shades matter. 

Learning what you can about color theory can really help you find the right shades for you. It can help you learn the psychology of colors, why you like the ones you do, and which shades will go best with them. 

Even Coats

Getting a different color or shade and painting over an old color won’t always come out even. You will need to re-prime the wall or object. If you choose the exact same color again then re-priming isn’t usually necessary.

That’s why matching paint is the cost-efficient thing to do. You will have to use less paint and sometimes only need one coat of paint to get the job done. In a few cases, you can even get by with a pint for touchups. 

Compliments 

Let’s face it, we all like compliments. Some people take the compliments better than others but the truth is that everyone likes them. They are designed to make us feel good about ourselves. So if your pint has gotten compliments, you may not want to let it go. 

This is completely normal and okay. As long as it doesn’t compromise your own taste then go ahead and enjoy the compliments and don’t stress too much when searching for that match. It will come in time. 

Methods To Matching Paint

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There are many different ways to match paint. The paint can be matched to a specific paint you bought a decade ago or it can be matched to a piece of furniture. These are both considered matching paint. 

Here are a few ways to match paint both from the walls and from objects. They are consistent for the most part with some of them being more reliable and others being more affordable. So let’s get to them!

Take A Photo

Taking a photo of what you want to match works fairly well. You can take a picture without a flash and in natural lighting for the best results. This can get you a good match if the paint isn’t that distinct. 

However, the wrong lighting can completely change the color. Taking a photo is only ideal if you don’t care if it is an exact match and instead just want something close. For that case, it can work great. 

Ask An Associate 

A good way to match paint is to simply ask an associate. Tell them about the color if you know the brand and the approximate shade. Show them a photo and tell them the differences in person. Or simply as for a suggestion. 

No matter what method you use, an experienced associate can be very helpful. Just make sure you get one that specializes in mixing paints and they may be able to get a special mix for you that is customized to your specifications. 

Download An App

There are a few apps that you can use that allow you to take a picture of the item or wall and it will tell you what the paint is. This isn’t consistent but they are working better and better every single day. 

Some apps only do certain brands of paint so you may need to download a few and compare the results to find your best match. You may even find something better than what you were looking for in the first place. 

Draw From Your Memory

 If the exact shade isn’t important, then there’s nothing wrong with using your memory to match the shade. No matter what you have been told. Especially if you are just going to paint over the entire wall or piece of furniture. 

You can use keywords that work for you to remember how the paint shade made you feel. Because if you are willing to draw from your memory then chances are that you will want a feeling more than a certain shade.

Chip Some Paint

If you are repainting something, then chip a piece of paint off of the item. Then you can take the paint it, match cards, or ask an associate to find the closest match possible. This may be the best way to find an exact match.

Because the paint cards are displayed with dried paint. Which is what a paint chip is! You can also hold the paint chip under the light where the cards are displayed as that is a common interior light found in most homes.

Invest In A Color Matcher

Color matchers may be an investment but they are worth it if finding an exact match is important to you. You can buy them online for under $100 and they are often paired with an app. But they work better than standard apps.

They are usually small and can fit in your pocket or purse. Use them anywhere to find the exact color you are looking at and a variety of options that are close matches. These are also fun to play around with. Try playing a guessing game!

Mix And Match

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If you can’t find the exact match to your old paint then maybe you should consider something else. You can create a pattern on your wall with another color, one close to the old one or one that will contrast it instead. 

There are many ways that you can make patterns. The best way is to use painter’s tape to create designs and paint over them. But other options include sponge painting and more. Get creative and create something new, covering any imperfections. 

As far as the sponge technique goes, you don’t have to be creative or precise. You just have to sponge the new paint onto the wall with a painting sponge. This is very simple even a child could do it! So it’s an easy and effective route.

Other than these two methods, there are a dozen other ways. You can buy stencils or freehand the second color and add a mural. This is fine to experiment with but it’s better to have a solid plan and a steady hand first. 

Just Start Over

How To Match Paint To An Exact ShadeView in gallery

If you aren’t deadset on the paint color you had before, consider taking advantage of the situations and getting a fresh start. Add a coat of primer to the wall and then start painting with the new paint. 

You may need a few coats of the new paint, depending on the color and how dark it happens to be. But in the end, it is easiest to start over and use a new paint for your project, which is fun anyway!

But if you are trying to match an object or piece of furniture rather than another paint then you are in luck. A slight shade difference won’t be noticed and in fact will look even better with the extra depth added.