How many times has this happened to you? After spending hours agonizing over the perfect shade of paint, you gleefully coat every wall in your home in that shade. Then, years later, when thereâs a swath in your bedroom that needs retouching, you canât remember if the color was Phantom Mist or Dinner Mint. Panic sets in!
Whatâs a forgetful homeownerâwho canât exactly carry a wall to the hardware storeâto do? Not to worry, we tell you everything about how to match paint color without a sample.
Grab a spool of thread
A digital snapshot from your cellphone can never quite capture the exact shade (and you donât want to end up with an ugly color). But an ingenious way to find the true depth of a tone is to match it to a spool of thread.
âMaybe you have the various spools in your house,â says Sandy Levin, home staging expert and owner of Beautiful Interiors Design Group in Freehold, NJ.
If you donât routinely sew, buy several different shades that seem close at your neighborhood crafts store. Once you have a range of spools, place them against your paint color and see which is the best match. Bring that spool to the paint store, and ask staff to match the color.
Or a swatch of fabric
Another way to match color without a paint chip is to find the shade you need on a piece of fabric in your house.
âMaybe the color is one of several in a print pillow, or maybe the color matches a piece of clothing in your closet,â says Levin. Use that fabric to then find the corresponding paint chip in the hardware store.
Thereâs an app for that (naturally)
Almost every major brand of paint has a free app to help you nail a shade youâve forgotten the name of. It usually works like this: Take a picture of your existing color and upload it for analysis. The app will then identify the hue and find the closest shade in the manufacturerâs palette.
A few popular choices for your smartphone are Behr ColorSmart, Benjamin Moore Color Capture, and ColorSnap Visualizer from Sherwin-Williams. Just remember that each app provides matching paint colors only for their specific brandsâso hereâs to hoping you remember at least that much. If not, proceed to our next step.
If all that fails, just scrape some paint off
âAn easy way to match your existing paint color is to simply take a knife and peel off the top layer of paint,â says Scott Specker of Five Star Painting of Central Georgia. Donât worry, thereâs no need to dig a deep gash into your otherwise pristine drywall or remove a large section. A thin 1-inch square will do the trick.
âIf you take that piece into any local home improvement store, they should have computerized color-matching technology that can assess your paint and tell you its exact color,â he adds.
Tony Landaverde, Realtor with eXp Realty in San Antonio Texas says "When adding paint colors to your home, keep in mind that neutral tones work best when you try to sell your home. If you have used very bright, vibrant or dark colors, you will probably need to repaint when you put your home on the market.
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