Paint Color Match, Strike Two

You know those projects that you plan, and you think to yourself, “That’s a one-day project for sure. Two days at the most.” But then you start the project, and everything goes wrong? Yep. Me, too. And this studio back entry is turning into just such a project. (Decades of HGTV shows, where a whole room, or even an entire home, can be done in 30 minutes or an hour, have really given most people unrealistic expectations. I’m here to give a little dose of reality. 😀 )

I shared yesterday about how I took the bathroom wallpaper in to have one of the green squares color matched for the back entry walls, and that process failed because the color I ended up with was nothing like the color I wanted to have matched. So yesterday afternoon, I took the paint back to Home Depot to see if they could try again. I was certain that I could get new paint and get the back entry painted by the time I went to bed last night.

So I explained the problem to the young woman at the paint counter. She took the wallpaper, tried the color match thing again, and again it was way off. Interestingly, it was way different from the first attempt, but it was still way off. So then she started tweaking the formula, adding a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.

About an hour later, there was still no match. I have no idea what it is about that wallpaper that makes it so hard to color match. I have never experienced such difficulty in all of my years of DIYing. But another challenge was that she was making these tweaks to a small sample container of paint. So when she finally did make a sample that looked pretty close, she didn’t know how to re-create that color in a gallon size.

I couldn’t stand there any longer and watch this painful (and non-productive) process, so I just had her take the sample that looked the closest, paint that color onto a surface, let it dry, and then color match that solid paint color so it could be mixed into a gallon of paint. I knew it wasn’t going to be exactly right, but I had hopes that it might be close enough to just go with it.

Well, it’s not. It’s just not what I had my heart set on. Here’s the original color match fail, the second color match fail from yesterday, and then the piece of wallpaper that I’ve taken in twice to have color matched. Those three colors aren’t similar in the least.

I know that wallpaper sample doesn’t really look like a fresh and lively green in the picture, but in person, it does. It has a lightness to it that these color match attempts just don’t have. And it also has just a touch of blue that the color match attempts clearly don’t have.

At least they didn’t charge me for the new paint. Once I realized that finding a color match wasn’t going to be possible, my main goal was to walk away from the store with paint that I could work with and experiment with. Y’all know how much I love playing with paint colors and mixing my own custom colors.

So I’m going to start with the new paint color as a base, and then start adding colors from my paint stash to see what I can come up with. I’ll definitely be adding some white (or lots of white) to brighten up the color. The last thing I want is dark and dreary in the back entry when the opposite wall looks like this…

And then, to my eye, it looks like it needs just a touch of blue or teal added to it. And thanks to my last project (my 72-color cabinet), I have a few of those in my stash to choose from.

But in other news, look what I bought!!!

I finally caved to the suggestions and bought scaffolding. And it did, in fact, make the job so much easier! I was able to do the cutting in on the top parts of these walls in a fraction of the time that I took using a ladder.

I don’t know why I waited so long to purchase this. I have a list of tools in my mind that I bought, and then looked back and thought, “How in the world did I live without this?!” Perhaps I’ll share my list one day. But after just a couple of hours of use last night, this scaffolding is now on that list.

I can be very stubborn sometimes (or all the time 😀 ), and sometimes that’s to my on detriment. And digging my heels in the ground, convinced that a ladder is just fine and I don’t need scaffolding, as definitely to my on detriment. Now I’m actually looking forward to the ease with which I can finish up painting the walls and ceiling in the main part of the studio. And I’m also looking forward to gold leafing the light fixture in the back entry. I’ve been dreading those two projects, especially the hours I would need to stand on a ladder to gold leaf that light. But now, I think it’ll be a fun project!

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  1. Hi Kristi,
    Do you have a paint color deck that you could match a color to your wallpaper? If not, I’m wondering if you could go to Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore and use their color deck to find a match and then have that color made into Behr paint. Just a thought. BTW—the studio is gorgeous!

    1. I was also thinking that you might consider going to Benjamin Moore to use their Aura paint base to try your match.

      I hired a very skilled decorator and stager to pick paint colors for us to repaint our 23 year old house, indoors and out. She showed me the same color done on two swatches, one on Aura and another with a different base. She then showed them to me in our hallway which is rather shadowed and does not receive direct light. The Aura paint looked much better, because it does not have any black. I am wondering if your dark entry would also benefit from using an Aura base, just for that reason. It might be worth a trip for you to find out.

  2. Just curious, instead of relying on the color matcher to mix the paint correctly why not choose from swatches for the closest color and then use the companies formula which might be more accurate?

    1. Exactly what I was thinking. Also in the wallpaper I see several different shades of green, which “green” is it your going with? Could you point out that color on a picture of the wallpaper so we can see it again? I love how everything is coming out so far, loving all the colors.

  3. First, I have to say that I love the scaffold. I have had the same problem at Home Depot, with having paint color matched to either fabric or wallpaper. I went through this when I was getting paint for our master bedroom. I was going for a very dark blue, with a hint of teal. When I got the sample home, and up on the wall, it was absolutely more navy. I brought it back, and at first they gave me a hard time. Then I had them come outside into the daylight, to see how off the color was. I think the problem lies in the fact that they have fluorescent lighting in store.

  4. Could the green behind and above the colour affect the new color, like the reflection of the other bright green throw it? I’d paint it all white then get a few samples of new green then go from there

  5. Could it be because you’re painting over a green base? Even if the new paint has a primer, the old paint may still be either bleeding through or reflecting onto the new color. I think I would try putting down a base coat of primer, then trying the new shades again. Just a thought

  6. Hi Kristie,
    I don’t think one can get a “true” idea of the paint color when you put it on the dark green. It changes the look of the new paint.. I’d suggest priming part of that wall and then try out the new colors. Then the color will be true. This made a world of difference for me when I did it.

  7. Uggghhh! The frustration of trying to match colors. I hope your tweaking will get the color needed, if not maybe try a different store like Lowes, or a local Hardware/paint store to see if their formulas can match the paper. Good luck. Oh and congrats on the scaffolding.

  8. You may already have thought of this – but have you considered matching up your wallpaper to the closest paint chip on the racks and then tweaking from there? You might have less of a distance to go.

    There appears to be a lot of yellow in the matched samples and quite a bit less blue – not to mention the lightness.

    You may not be able to get an exact match – the luminosity of printed colours are difficult to match in pigments – but you can probably get a lot closer than whatever software they are using is giving you.

  9. So glad you bought the scaffolding! It will make your life so much easier, which is the goal for all of us, isn’t it? 😊

    You will get the color you want, I’m confident you will!

    Hang in there and celebrate the victory of the scaffolding and I hope it will stave off sciatica.

  10. We had a green wall (painted by the previous owners) that we were trying to color match many years ago. It was also a struggle.

    I feel like the employee mentioned that there was some black used to darken it and it was throwing things off, but I might not be remembering that right. I just find it interesting that the only time we had an issue (not that we color match much) was also on a green wall!

  11. Picking the right paint color is kinda fun. I was trying to get a bright gray for my kitchen. They were all too brown or blue. Finally added ceiling white and that worked. All Behr paints BTW.

    Good luck with your experiments.

  12. I agree that you should either prime first or paint a whole section of wall where you can’t see any of your original green. Also in your 72 paint swatch project number 17 looks very close also it’s a stripe in your gym by the french door (just after your green stripes) although it does read a little on the bluer side on my screen, I would try it-I love that color.

  13. I’m wondering if you can tweak the green color with your samples, then take it to be matched and extrapolate for larger quantities of paint? Would that work? Curious about your process to get the right match!

    This is really interesting, as I am somewhat red/green colorblind. Greens are so tough for me to figure out!

  14. I agree with using a fan style color deck from SW or BM. I was pleasantly surprised when my local Sherwin Williams gave me their color deck recently. I assumed I would have to buy it! It’s nice to have all their colors (though small in size) it really helped to narrow down what we were looking for.

  15. Did you lock the wheels on the scaffolding? I am so happy that you purchased it, now projects will be so much easier.

  16. Hi Kristi,
    You WILL get the color you want! I have confidence in you 😁🤩 good girl using the scaffolding!
    However my question I have for you this morning is about your washer and dryer. I had just opened your post today and while reading it, my husband and son just called from Lowe’s. We are building a home and they guys were getting quotes on the appliances. They other day while looking at the W/D’S, I remembered your journey deciding what to get and there were those beautiful GE’s. They added it to the quote but I would love an update on how you like them and have they stood up to the wonderful 4.7 out of 5 ratings. My son really loves the blue 💙. I’ve never had front loaders but love the idea of being able to use the tops or have cupboards. Thanks 😊

  17. I never buy paint anywhere but a paint store, Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Ferrill Calhoun. And, I don’t usually use Sherwin Williams because their personnel are usually not as experienced as others. Wish your scaffolding had a side, please be careful.

  18. Congrats on the scaffold! You deserve the best equipment.
    I painted homes professionally for 20 years. Paint matches are always tricky and depend on so many factors — lighting, adjacent colors, reflections, paint sheen, brands, undertones, wet or dry samples, etc. I know you’ll enjoy the challenge of doing the match yourself, but why not find a paint company where the staff is trained better than the Home Depot people? I always trusted Sherwin Williams, but in your town there could be someone at a different paint or hardware store who has the knack, the eye, the experience, the training. Just a thought.

  19. I hope you get the color figured out – that is SUPER frustrating!!

    Just a thought – did you consider trying Lowes or a different store, like Ace, or Benjamin Moore, etc – maybe their color matching would work better with a different machine? I know you swear by the paint at Home Depot though — personally I swear by Benjamin Moore. 😉

    1. Oh, I love Benjamin Moore! Their Aura paint is my absolute favorite for walls, but it’s just so expensive. Behr has always served me well for general purpose all paint. But I got my color mixed myself. I’m very happy with how it turned out. I really enjoy the challenge of mixing my on paints. 🙂

  20. Our neighbor has a scaffold like that he has added a second platform to and uses it like a mobile workbench. He’s always wheeling it out of his garage and when we see it come out we know Sean is getting work DONE. 🙂 Glad you have it now and I could see it being very handy in your carport/work area!

    Good luck with the color match…still frustrating, but glad you don’t seem to be dreading the process as much!

  21. I have found that when I need a specific colour, I can usually find it on the Benjamin Moore fan deck. I don’t buy their paint, but I use their colours all the time.

  22. Have you considered Behr Chervil Leaves? It looks pretty close!

    My tip for these things is You can give it the hex code for the color (which is easily obtained using a dropper tool in an imaging editor or a color dropper web app) and it searches a database of paint brands and gets the closest shade. Your color was #acba9b. That color did not yield any matches in major brands available in the US, but I did find that Chervil Leaves was a close match to the slightly more saturated shade #acbe97

  23. That color problem is nuts! I have had that happen once as well…I finally made the perfect color myself and painted something like you, then matched that. It is amazing how hard it can be sometimes. I know you will get it perfect. I’m so glad you got the scaffold. We have several my husband used for some work around the house. He hates heights, but he made it very secure for himself and it was much better than ladders for the repairs he needed to do.

  24. I know for a fact that you are the genius Kristi. I would like to add my two cents worth on what I would do if this was my project though. I would use Zinsser Bullseye 1 2 3 primer and give the entire entry wall a coat, or maybe 2 coats of that. I know that you already know that it dries fast. Then I would go through my green paint samples and start by picking out the one that looks closest to your desired green color and do some swatches.
    I’m so happy you got your scaffolding. I can’t figure out how it works, but I’m going to check it out. I bet it will save you time on your projects, and save on your back, arms, and legs too.

  25. Prime the dark green over a large area and then add your new colors. The old green bleeds through and will change any color you try to paint over it!
    I was told by a painter, green is the worst to bleed through and change colors painted over it.
    Faith in you getting the color you’ll be happy with!

  26. I was an assistant manager at a paint store and matched a ton of things for customers. I had a thought that if you are going to try to match it yourself and it isn’t shiny enough then try adding a little egg shell or semi gloss paint to the mix. Just a tiny bit. Or take it somewhere more professional like Sherwin Williams. Good luck!