Selecting the perfect paint color for your home can be a daunting task. With so many paint brands and color options to choose from, it can be hard to settle on just one shade. Two of the most popular paint brands in North America are Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore, but can you really color match between the two? The short answer is yes, you typically can get paint colors matched between brands. However, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
The Challenges of Cross-Brand Color Matching
While Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore both offer extensive color selections, each company uses their own proprietary color formulas and systems. This means that even if two paint colors have the same name, like “Swiss Coffee,” the actual pigments and compounds that make up the color can vary between brands. So when you request a cross-brand color match, you’re asking the paint store employee to try to match the color visually using their own brand’s color system.
Color matching between brands is not an exact science. The person matching the paint color will do their best to formulate as close of a match as possible, but it may not be perfect. Slight hue, tone or saturation differences are common. This means you could end up with two shades that look noticeably different on your wall, even if they are supposed to match.
Factors That Impact Cross-Brand Color Matching
There are a few key factors that can impact the accuracy of cross-brand paint color matching:
- Paint base – Most paint brands offer colors in different bases like flat, eggshell, satin, etc. The base can affect the tone and appearance of the final color, so it’s important to match the sheen.
- Lighting – The store lighting where the paint is matched can impact how the color looks versus in your own home.
- Application method – How the paint is applied (brush, roller, sprayer) can subtly alter the look of the color.
- Surface – The shade may look different depending on if it’s applied to drywall, plaster, brick, wood, etc.
- Batch differences – Slight variations between batches of the same colored paint are common.
The more of these variables you can control, the more accurate the cross-brand color match will be. For example, having the store match a Benjamin Moore color in satin to Sherwin-Williams satin base will eliminate sheen differences. Prepping your surfaces the same way before application will also help the colors match better across brands.
Tips for Cross-Brand Paint Color Matching
If you want to match a Sherwin-Williams color to Benjamin Moore (or vice versa), here are some tips to get the closest match possible:
- Bring a sample – For the most accurate match, bring a dried paint sample of the original color you want matched.
- Match sheen – Be sure to get the match made in the same paint base (flat, eggshell, etc.) as the original color.
- Request an inline match – Ask if the store can make an “inline” match, meaning they put your sample directly into their color matching machine.
- Match light – Have the color matched in the same type of lighting you’ll have in your home.
- Buy a sample pot – Get a small sample pot made first to test the color at home before committing to a larger quantity.
- Apply to test boards – Brush out samples of both colors on test boards/poster board and compare side by side.
Taking these steps can help ensure you get as close of a cross-brand color match as possible. Testing the matched color at home is also essential so you can see how it looks on your actual walls before finalizing.
Popular Benjamin Moore Colors Matched to Sherwin-Williams
Some popular Benjamin Moore colors and their closest Sherwin-Williams equivalents include:
|Benjamin Moore Color
Remember that while these shades are meant to match as closely as possible, there will likely still be subtle differences between the Benjamin Moore original and the Sherwin-Williams version.
Popular Sherwin-Williams Colors Matched to Benjamin Moore
Some popular Sherwin-Williams colors and their closest Benjamin Moore color matches include:
|Benjamin Moore Match
Again, expect some minor differences between the original Sherwin-Williams colors and the matched Benjamin Moore shades.
Should You Just Stick to One Brand?
Given the challenges of cross-brand color matching, should you just stick to using colors from one paint brand? In most cases, yes – choosing colors from within the same brand’s catalog will give you the most consistency and accuracy. If you love a specific Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore color, your best bet is to use that brand throughout your home for the most cohesive look.
However, there are certain situations where you may need to mix paint brands:
- Adding onto existing paint colors – If half your home is already painted in one brand, it’s easier to have additional colors matched than to redo everything.
- Specialty paint needs – Sometimes a certain paint line or finish only comes in one brand.
- Availability issues – One brand may be sold out of a color you need.
- Regional brand preferences – Using what’s most popular and readily available in your area.
In these cases, cross-brand color matching is your best choice to ensure consistency. Just be aware of the potential for minor differences between the colors.
Does One Brand Have More Accurate Matches?
Is one brand – Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore – better at matching to the other? From anecdotal reports, Benjamin Moore colors seem to translate more accurately into Sherwin-Williams. However, a lot comes down to the individual store, lighting conditions, and employees doing the color matching. Some stores may have more expertise and better tools for achieving accurate cross-brand matches.
Your best bet is to inquire with the specific paint store you plan to use about their confidence and success matching the color and brand you need. Don’t be afraid to ask for samples of their matches to colors from the other brand. Seeing actual test samples painted out is the only way to truly evaluate accuracy.
Should You Match Stain or Paint?
For wood surfaces like cabinets, doors and trim, you may be wondering whether to color match a stain or a paint between brands. As a general rule, painted finishes will be easier to match closely than stained ones.
Paint sits atop the wood surface, masking the natural grain. This allows the color to appear more consistent between brands. Stain, on the other hand, penetrates and reacts directly with the wood. The same “color name” stain can look very different across wood types and surface prep methods. It also makes visual cross-brand color matching of stains harder for store employees.
If your project involves matching stained or painted wood elements between Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore, paint will give you the most accurate match between brands. For staining, your best bet is to stick with products from the same brand.
Blending Cross-Brand Colors in One Room
What if you need to use paint colors from both Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore within the same room? This is common if you’re matching existing paints or combining painted walls with stained trimwork. Here are some tips for blending colors successfully:
- Match sheens – Use the same sheens for both brand colors, like satin walls and satin trim.
- Create cohesion – Choose colors for one brand that coordinate well with the fixed color from the other brand.
- Repeat hues -Even if tones vary slightly, keeping to complementary hues will help the eye blend the colors.
- Add white – White trim is a foolproof way to bridge color differences and tie everything together.
- Don’t spotlight differences – Avoid side-by-side swatches that spotlight color variations. Focus on the whole room.
With some care taken in the color selection process, you can absolutely use both Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore palettes to create a cohesive look.
Cross-Brand Color Matching for Exteriors
Matching exterior paint colors between brands follows the same principles but has added challenges. Lighting conditions constantly change outside, and weathering impacts paint over time. If tackling an exterior cross-brand color match:
- Match sheen – Make sure exterior paint types match (flat, satin, gloss).
- Match application method – Both colors applied with similar spray or roll-on methods.
- Account for fading – Boost saturation slightly on the new paint to account for future fading.
- Match primer and prep – Similar primer and proper surface cleaning for both brands.
- See in natural light – Evaluate the match outdoors before final approval.
Due to weathering factors, exterior paint is even harder to color match between brands with 100% accuracy. But following best practices can get you quite close.
Hiring a Professional for Cross-Brand Paint Jobs
For large cross-brand matching projects, or if you need absolute color consistency, consider hiring a professional painter. An experienced pro will have the skills and tools to achieve the most seamless match possible. Benefits of hiring a painter include:
- Access to professional grade color match tools
- Ability to mix custom in-between shades
- Better at masking minor color differences
- Matching application methods across surfaces
- Advice on best practices for your specific project
Pros have the time and expertise to really dial in the perfect cross-brand color match for your home’s needs.
Cross-brand color matching between leading paint companies like Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore is certainly possible. However, expect some tolerances in achieving an exact match due to differences in proprietary color formulas. Following best practices like bringing samples, controlling lighting, matching sheens, and testing samples can help get you as close as possible.
In most cases, sticking with colors from one brand will deliver the most seamless, consistent results. But for situations where you need to blend existing or specialty paint colors between brands, don’t be afraid to work across Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore palettes. Just take steps to minimize noticeable color differences through strategic color selection and professional painting techniques.