How To Get A Paint Sample So You Can Match It

Are you planning to touch up existing paint in your home or trying to match the paint color from another room but you aren’t sure how to get samples to ensure a perfect match? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done the research to bring you this guide on how to get a perfect color match.

How to get a perfect paint sample:

  1. Locate a good place to cut the wall
  2. Cut a small sample from the wall
  3. Bring the sample to a paint store
  4. Order a sample of the paint
  5. Determine whether or not it is a perfect match and adjust as needed
  6. Repair your wall and retouch it with your new paint

So how exactly do you take a sample of the wall? And how do you fix the wall afterward? Keep reading to learn how to obtain the perfect paint samples.


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Can You Get A Sample Of Paint That Matches An Existing Color?

Yes, it’s very easy to get a sample of paint that can be used to create a new paint that matches perfectly. You will need to cut a small, inconspicuous, and easy-to-fix area of the wall to gather your sample and then bring it to a paint store with a spectrophotometer.

The associates at the paint store will take your sample and run it through their spectrophotometer to find a perfect match to your sample. This device will tell the associates how to mix the exact paint color you need in different volumes.

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Painting walls of an empty room. Renovation house.

1. Select A Location 

The first step is to choose a good location to gather your sample from. You will want to choose a place on the wall that is easily covered or very unnoticeable. Behind furniture or wall decor are both good options. 

Avoid taking samples near outlets or light switches to reduce the possibility of clipping a wire. Check to see if any closets in the room have the same paint color for a best-case scenario.

2. Cut A Sample

Use a utility knife to cut a small square out of the wall. Use a pencil to create an outline as a guide, and make sure to cut slowly and carefully so you don’t take more than needed, resulting in a larger hole. Place your sample in a resealable bag to keep it safe and protected.

Amazon Basics Utility Knife

This utility knife will work well to cut through paneling or drywall when gathering a sample. Always be careful when using sharp tools.

Click here to see this knife on Amazon.

House Painting

3. Bring Your Sample To A Paint Store

Before you choose a paint store, call around to let them know you have a sample you are trying to match and find out if they have a spectrophotometer.

For the best results, choose a store that is properly equipped. Take the sample into the store and provide it to the associates so they can run it through the machine.

4. Order A Sample Of Paint

After the associates at the store run your sample through the spectrophotometer, they will be able to craft a paint formula that will match.

It’s recommended to ask the associate to print out or write down any codes associated with the color. Before you order a large amount, you should start by ordering a sample size to take home and test against the existing color to make sure you have a perfect match.

5. Test The Sample

Take your paint sample home and paint a small, inconspicuous area of the wall you’re trying to match. Once it dries completely, you will be able to determine if the new paint is a perfect match.

If it is, then you’re ready to order a large batch for your job. If it’s not a perfect match, you can go back to the paint store and tell them whether it needs to be lighter or darker.

6. Repair The Wall Where You Took Your Sample

To repair the wall where you took your sample from, you will need to patch it. The method for repair will depend on the material your wall is made from. You may be able to use the sample you cut from the wall to fill the hole back in.

Wall Patch Kit

This wall patch kit comes with everything you need to repair small holes in drywall or plasterboard walls. It’s a quick and easy solution that you can paint over when dry.

Click here to see this kit on Amazon.

Paint brush, sponge roller, paints, waxes and other painting or decorating supplies on white wooden planks, top view

How To Get A Paint Sample From Wood?

There are a few options you can use to get a paint sample from wood. When you’re dealing with trim, find a small piece that you can easily remove and bring to the store. When you need to match the paint on a cabinet, remove the cabinet door and bring that to the store with you.

If you’re dealing with an item that isn’t easily removed or transported, you’ll need to use a sharp knife to cut a small piece of the surface off to bring to the store. This video will show you how:

How To Get A Paint Sample From Concrete or Plaster?

To get paint from a concrete or plaster wall, you will need a utility knife and a paint scraper. You will need to cut a paint chip and scrape it off the surface to obtain a large enough piece for the store to run through their spectrophotometer. Aim for an unnoticeable area that won’t draw too much attention.

This video will show you how:

How Big Does A Paint Sample Have To Be To Match It?

It’s recommended to have a sample that is at least one square inch in size. If you only have a small piece, you can still ask the worker to try, but it may not work. Larger samples are usually acceptable, but don’t bring in anything too large and cumbersome. 

How Do You Match Paint If You Don’t Have A Sample?

There are quite a few apps put out by different paint brands that can help you find a match for your existing shade. Check out a few apps to find the perfect match before you make a decision. Another common method is to use paint chips from the store to compare shades until you find a perfect match.

Paint roller is being used to paint the outside of a home. The roller is attached to a pole. No people in the picture. Taken with a Canon 5D Mark lll.

Does Home Depot Have Color Match?

Yes, Home Depot stores have a spectrophotometer in their paint department. You can go to any Home Depot store to get a paint match in the brands they carry. Home Depot also has a color matching app called Project Color that you can download on your phone.

Does Lowe’s Have Color Match?

Yes, Lowe’s also has a spectrophotometer in the paint section of every store. Just bring in your sample, and they can find you a match in any of the paint brands they carry. 

How Accurate Is Color Matching Paint?

Most spectrophotometers are 90% accurate, but newer machines and software tend to yield better results. If you’re able, find out how old the equipment is at different stores before making your decision.

Color matching without a spectrophotometer is far less accurate and requires more testing and refining before a perfect match is found.

Will Touch Up Paint Eventually Blend In?

No, if you notice a difference between the original paint color and the new match after the paint finishes drying, then your color is off. You will need to find a better match to the original paint if you want to fix it. The paint won’t dull or brighten in color with time.

Interior renovation

Does Paint Look Lighter Or Darker When It Dries?

Paint usually dries slightly darker than it is when it’s wet, which is why you should wait for it to dry completely before you decide whether or not your paint is a true match. Once the paint is completely dry, if it still looks off, then you need to find a closer match for your touch-ups. 

In Closing

Now that you know all about gathering paint samples and finding a perfect paint match, you’re ready to begin your search. Don’t forget to test out the color match apps available for your phone to help you get started on your journey. Good luck, and have fun painting!

If you need help trying to match and blend your ceiling paint, read this article: How To Blend Ceiling Paint To Match Existing Shade

For help keeping your painting equipment clean and in good condition for the next job, read this article: How To Clean Paint Brushes With Paint Thinner

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