Figuring out the exact color code of a wall in your home can be tricky, but it’s important if you ever need to do touch-ups or changes. The color code allows you to match the existing color perfectly. Here are some tips on how to find and match your wall color code.
Use a color matching app
The easiest way is to use a paint color matching app on your smartphone. There are a few popular options like ColorSnap Visualizer, ColorSmart by Behr, Paint My Place by Valspar, and more. These apps use your camera to scan a sample of your wall color. Then it searches through a database of paint colors to find the closest match and gives you the code.
To use it, open the app and point your phone’s camera directly at a flat portion of the wall. Make sure you’re not casting shadows over the area, and the lighting is even. Take a few photos for the app to analyze. Once it’s processed, it will show paint colors with codes from various brands that are similar to yours. Look for the one that’s the closest match.
Use a paint color matching tool
Another option is to use a physical paint matching tool. Brands like BEHR and Valspar sell kits that include peel-and-stick color cards. Simply stick a card on your wall, peel it off to capture the color sample, and bring it to the store. An employee will use a spectrophotometer machine to scan your sample and match it to the right color code.
Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s also offer this service if you bring them a paint chip. While not as convenient as the apps, these methods can provide professional-grade accuracy.
Find the original paint can
If you still have the original paint can or remember the brand used, check for the color name and code printed on the label. You may have recorded it somewhere for future reference. If not, take the can to the paint store and ask them to look up the code based on the product number and other details.
If you have leftover paint, use a paint sample card or chip to soak up some of the color. Then take it to the store scanner. This ensures you get an accurate reading. Just make sure the paint still looks like the color on your walls and hasn’t changed over time.
Use a color matching card
Another DIY option is to buy a physical paint color matching card kit. These come with cards that have different color shades. Compare the cards to your wall and select the one that is the closest match. The kit will have a reference to tell you the code of your color chip.
While less high-tech, this is an inexpensive way to roughly match your wall color if you can’t use apps or take a sample to the store. Just know that it won’t provide an exact perfect match like other methods.
Hire a professional painter
For the most precise color match, consider hiring a professional painter or interior designer. They have the expertise and tools to identify the exact shade and sheen of your paint. Many carry handheld spectrophotometers that can scan a wall and pull up the color formulation.
Pros may charge a small matching fee, but it can be worth it to get the perfect code. They can also advise you on the brands and finishes that will adhere best to your existing paint. This is especially helpful for tough matches like textured or glossy paints.
Steps to Matching Paint
Once you’ve identified the color code, follow these steps to match it perfectly:
|Step 1||Purchase the exact brand and type of paint with the color code you found. Matte, satin, flat, etc. will appear differently.|
|Step 2||Have paint mixed to the precise color formula. Computer mixing is more accurate than hand tinting.|
|Step 3||Buy a small sample amount and paint a test patch to confirm it’s an exact match before doing the whole wall.|
|Step 4||Apply primer if painting a darker color over an existing lighter color for best coverage.|
|Step 5||Use a small brush to paint tough edges and corners before rolling the main wall area.|
Choosing the Right Sheen
Aside from the color, sheen plays an important role in getting the right paint match. Sheen refers to the level of glossiness or light reflection. Common options from least to most shine are:
- Flat – No shine, hides imperfections
- Matte – Minimally reflective
- Eggshell – Soft glow
- Satin – Moderate reflection
- Semi-Gloss – Shiny but not glossy
- Gloss – High shine, shows flaws
The lighting in your room can affect how the sheen looks. To match it properly:
- Inspect walls at different times of day when lighting changes.
- Look at the sheen directly on and at angles to the surface.
- Compare to a paint sample card with all sheens.
- Eggshell and satin are common in homes.
- Higher sheens like semi-gloss are seen in bathrooms and kitchens.
Tips for Matching Specialty Paint Finishes
Unique wall paints like textured, faux, and other finishes require extra care to match correctly:
- Bring a sample to a paint pro who can identify the specialty technique.
- For textured walls, match the paint first then find a matching texture additive.
- Faux techniques may require hiring an expert painter to recreate.
- Metallic and pearlescent paints vary based on viewing angle and lighting.
- Match the sheen by spraying a sample paint board and comparing to your wall.
Matching your existing wall color is easiest when you have the brand and paint code. But with some detective work and the right tools, even hard-to-match paints can be identified. Apps, scanners, paint samples, and professionals can all help pinpoint the exact shade and finish. With the color formulated, apply primer and paint carefully. Test patches are key to get the perfect match. Follow these tips and you’ll have your wall color matched flawlessly.