5 Simple Tricks for Color Matching to Make Sure You Never Paint the Wrong Shade Again

Because there’s nothing worse than being just a little bit off.

Blue paint swatches
Photo: Getty Images

Whether we fell in love with a textile for our home in a super specific hue or needed to do some touch ups without the necessary supplies, we've all been forced to color match paint before. The process can be frustrating, because out of the literally thousands of options, there's only one exact shade that's *the* one. Instead of wasting time and money on trial and error (especially if you're testing in the store), try one of these five simple tricks for color matching straight from paint pros.

Use a Fan Deck

Prefer to keep it simple and not go custom? "You can use a fan deck or paint chip to narrow down the options," says Arianna Cesa, Associate Manager of Color Marketing & Development at Benjamin Moore. From there, they do require a thorough investigation, claims Lisa Rickert, CEO and Creative Director of Jolie Home. "Be sure to hold it up to a wall that gets indirect light, as bright sunlight may wash out the color, making it harder to match. Pay special attention to undertones and whether the color is cool or warm."

Paint or Cut a Swatch

If you have leftover paint, simply brush out a sample for the pros to match. Not an option? "If you do not have the original paint, take a small, thin sample from the wall in an area hidden by furniture," advises Rickert.

Pick a Premium Brand

According to Nicole Gibbons, Founder and CEO of Clare Paint, not all paint is made the same. "Every brand uses their own formula, and some have richer pigmentation than others," she shares. So if you're color matching to get cheaper paint, don't expect the same depth of color and richness.

Mix it Yourself

If you're the DIY kind, consider taking matching matters into your own hands. "The best way to do this is to purchase samples of the colors you think will generate the correct recipe and test it out with teaspoon amounts at a time, counting each teaspoon as a part in the recipe," explains Rickert. "Remember the color wheel and use complementary colors to reduce the brightness of a hue and make beautiful grays and browns." Just like art class!

Start Sampling

Before signing off on your new favorite color, take it for a test drive first. "Be sure to view the paint in the space you intend to use it, since many factors like lighting can affect how the color casts," Cesa says. (This includes the temperature of lightbulbs!) Depending on the color and brand, you may need to prime the area first. "Priming will ensure that you have a uniform basis the best and truest color shines through," shares Gibbons.

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