The Color Match Failed Me

The good news is that after our crazy weekend (which you can read more about here), I was able to spend all afternoon and evening working on the studio. And I felt great the whole time! The bad news is that all of the work I did yesterday was completely wasted because the paint color was all wrong, and for some reason, I didn’t even think to double check until late last night. 😀 I’m definitely off my game right now.

I had quite a time trying to decide on what paint color I wanted to use in the back entry of the studio, which has been painted this very bold Kelly green for a few years now.

That’s an old picture, and since then, I’ve sanded and painted the floor. (More on the floor sanding and painting process here.) But I considered many different colors for these walls. You can see some of those options here, including pinks and corals and purples and teals and yellows. I cast a very wide net at the beginning.

But after all of that, I came back to green. Green is life. Green is nature’s neutral. I just needed to find a less in-your-face green for the walls. I finally decided to take the wallpaper that I had created for the studio half bathroom walls (you can read more about my custom wallpaper here) and have this green color matched for the back entry walls.

And I put together this image to show what all of the elements would look like together. I think it’s perfect! Those of you who are regulars around here have seen this several times already.

So yesterday, I opened up my color matched paint, gave it a good stir, and then started the cutting in around all of the doors, the cased opening, and in the corners. It was a bit challenging because it’s a small area with a large light fixture hanging in the middle, and I had to maneuver my big 10-foot ladder around to get the top areas. But I managed. I got the first coat on, stood back, and thought, “What the heck is this color?!

There’s absolutely nothing fresh and lively about that color. It looks like pea soup. Now if I had been on my game, I would have stopped at that point (or way before) and double checked the color to make sure it matched the wallpaper. But for some reason, it didn’t even dawn on me to do that. I chalked it up to this just being the first brushed on coat, and the original color under it throwing the color off.

So I started the second coat, and it wasn’t getting better, but for some reason I convinced myself that it’s just because I’m seeing the new color against the old color, and I just need to trust the process, finish the second coat on the cutting in, and the roll the main parts of the walls, and that will make the color magically look beautiful.

So last night, after hours of working on this (because I’m still working very slowly and being extra careful on that tall ladder so I don’t injure myself again), I finally decided that there’s no way this is the right paint color. It just can’t be. I would never choose pea soup green for my walls, and trusting the process wasn’t working. So I finally got a roll of the wallpaper, found the right green, and checked the color.

NOT.EVEN.CLOSE. These colors aren’t even in the same ballpark. The only similarity is that they could both be called “green”. But that’s where the similarity ends. How in the world did their color match system read that pretty, fresh, lively green, and produce such a dead, dull, pea soup green?

This is a first for me. In all of my years of DIYing and decorating, and with all of the custom colors I’ve had mixed over the year, I’ve never had a color match for paint go so horribly wrong.

So today, I’ll be starting this whole process over again. And this time, I’ll be double checking to be sure they give me the right color before I start the work, and certainly before I make fifty trips up and down that tall ladder.

But you know what? I’m not really all that bothered by it. It’s as much my mistake as it is the person at Home Depot who did the color matching and mixing. I’m the one who made the very rookie mistake of not double checking the color before getting started. So when I saw that last night, all I could do is laugh and roll my eyes at my ridiculous oversight.

But most of all, I’m just so thankful that I was able to work all afternoon and all evening with no pain, and that I get to do it all over again today with no pain. I’ll take repainting walls and being able to climb a ladder with no pain any day over suffering pain and being stuck in bed. So I’m just thankful that I can do it all over again today.



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  1. So frustrating! But at least you didn’t get it ALL completed and you can redo it. That is about the worst room to have this happen though…so many doors in such a small space!

  2. My daughter bought a house recently. She wanted to repaint the interior. I suggested she buy some of Home Depot’s paint samples and try them on her wall before commuting to the colors. She did. I asked which colors she picked. She said that the one she’d originally liked the best was awful and looked nothing like the paint chip. After looking at it, I told her that I thought they’d mixed the wrong color. She took all four of ghe samples back, and three of them were tinted incorrectly. They made up new samples, credited her for the incorrect ones, and didn’t charge her for the correct ones. Always check the colors on the paint they give you.

    Glad you are feeling better.

    1. I never would have thought the paint samples had been incorrectly mixed. Good thing you did and encouraged your daughter to return with the samples. I hope she found colors she likes in her home.

    2. So frustrating! We are having a similar issues with color matching a PPG paint with a Benjamin Moore color (admiral blue)—I think the base color is off. I’m a Benjamin Moore loyalist who has moved to a part of the country where it’s just not the preferred paint store and we’ve hade this problem several times on this renovation. ☹️

  3. Definitely too much yellow in your paint and the wallpaper green is a silvery sagey color.
    But I have to say, glad the in your face green is going away!

  4. I’m sorry I think the green on the wall looks a lot better when the green wallpaper that looks dull and boring but it’s your house by the way did you go back to the paint store and show them their mistake if not I would do that if I was you

  5. Holy smokes – that’s miles away from the colour you had sampled. It’s almost as though the person mixing completely left out the blue in the mix.

    Sometimes though – as you no doubt well know – there are no exact matches. There is sometimes a luminosity in the sample that can’t be replicated in the pigments. It will be interesting to see whether they can get there or not.

  6. I have been having a terrible time with color matching. Sherwin Williams couldn’t match a color so I went to Ace Hardware who stocks Benjamin Moore who told me I wouldn’t leave without a good color match–well I left with no match. I went to another Sherwin Williams store for a different color match–no dice. One color was a tan and the other was a teal. They weren’t even close. And don’t get me started with Lowe’s. I don’t know what is going on. That being said I love your studio so much!!

  7. Have you thought of a nice charcoal or medium gray for doors, instead of black? Still give some darkness and depth, but not to overwhelming.

  8. Hey Kristi! Painting corners sucks. Here’s a thing similar to what I discovered at a DIY shop, that for whatever reason was labelled as a paint roller for radiators. Good thing I don’t care what it’s labelled for, just what I know I could use it for:
    The one I bought was relatively expensive, but it worked amazingly well (I attached it on my extension pole, no ladders)! And then I forgot it out after using it the first time, and it became rock solid… but I will buy another one, it’s an awesome little thing!

  9. Oh my! So frustrating! My brain would be telling me the same as what yours did LOL Show Home Depot this blog post and perhaps they will make it right. Good luck with the matching!

  10. I imagine Home Depot will make it right for you when you show them the discrepancy.
    Meanwhile, check out the Sherwin Williams Color Snap tool. It calibrates with an app on your phone, allowing you to scan any flat surface and recommends the closest matching SW color. I’ve used it for years in my business. It’s fun and so helpful! A caveat: there will always a small variation in Color when you step outside the system (ie Home Depot matching a SW color). All the best. Love your projects!

  11. As someone who works for a competitor in Canada and does colour matching, the machine might not have been calibrated correctly, or the machine is old and starting to fail. But we always open the can and put a bit on the lid of the can and dry it to make sure it’s a good match.
    It’s a great thing, but not always fool proof.

  12. You weren’t wrong with your initial thoughts – a new color over an old one looks bizarre and “off” 99% of the time! I have a pretty good color sense and I’m telling you that unless I’m painting over white, I can’t figure out what the color will actually look like until a whole wall is painted and my eye isn’t automatically comparing it to the old color.

  13. Mistints happen a lot at the Home Depot near me. I know you will work your “I DEFINITELY DON’T LIKE THAT” and get your entry wall out of the pea soup and back into the cool color of green you wanted. Be careful on the ladder.

  14. Ugg! That color is awful! Seems far off from your color sample. Still, painting over green is the worst! Our new house had a dark green accent wall, it took 2 coats of a good primer and 4 coats of paint to keep it from bleeding through!
    Final product was great, but so frustrating and I worried that with so many coats on the wall, that it’d start cracking.

  15. In your followup post, any chance you can answer these:

    1. why 2 coats cutting in before 1st coat of rolling?

    2. any reason for not using your Graco Magnum X5 airless sprayer?

    You taught me how to paint & I bought that sprayer so want to make sure I’m following your procedures.

  16. Kristi, I’m always praying for good health for you and your husband. You provide so much joy with your blog! I look forward to your entries every week and try to catch up on Saturdays. I know you made a mistake with the paint color, but it teaches all us “perfectionists” a lesson that it’s okay. Sometimes we need to see that.