2 Techniques for Matching Paint

A large array of paint sample cards.

When painting a room it's important to match paint colors throughout your house for a consistent look. It's also necessary to match paint if you plan on repainting a room in the same color. This can be quite difficult if you don't remember what paint color you used for the room or want to repaint a room in a home that was painted by someone else. You don't want to repaint or retouch with a color that doesn't match perfectly, so here's what to do to match paint colors perfectly.

Take a Sample Paint Chip and Analyze

The first thing you need to do is take a chip of paint off the existing wall, one at least the size of a quarter. Also, make sure it is a clean piece of paint so that you can match the color more accurately. The best method for removing paint is to start at the bottom of the wall and use a razor blade to peel off a strip without tearing the surface of the wall.

Once you have a sample, take it to a paint store or home improvement store. Most of these stores sell paint and have a computer that can analyze pigments that will be available to customers. Once the paint has been analyzed, the store will be able to tell you what brand and colors to buy or what paints to mix to match the color exactly.

Ideally, you should go to the store that sold the original paint, but if this is not an option, go to any major paint supply or home improvement store and try your luck. Technology has improved over the years, making it much easier to match paint exactly.

Once you've matched the paint perfectly, you can bring it home and touch up your wall, or repaint the entire surface.

Another Option

paint color samples and paint supplies

If technology fails, you can try to color match paint on your own by holding sample paint chips to the wall and trying to find a similar or exact match, but this is not the most effective method. You can try it if you have no other choice, but again, you'll probably only find an exact match if you're very lucky. If you think you've found a few similar matches on a paint sample sheet, go to your local home improvement store and purchase a few sample containers to test the actual paint on the wall against the original color.

After the paint dries, you may be able to find an exact match. If you do, just go back to the store and buy a larger container of that color for painting. This can take a few tries, but if you’re patient, you may be rewarded.

Remember, this method is rather difficult because paint goes on a surface and dries in a different color from what you see on a paint chip sample, so only use it if you have no other choices. it may be easier to simply paint the entire wall again.

For more information on interior painting, visit our Decorate with Color page.