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Color Matching Between Paint Brands – Does it Really Work?

Posted on February 17, 2021 by KylieMawdsley

Can I get a paint color from one brand made by another brand?

NO. There, that was easy! I mean, you CAN, but that doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Why?

Can paint brands colour match each others paint colours. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour advice and virtual colour consulting services

Paint companies are terrible at matching each other’s colors

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Whether a paint company has a computerized matching system or does it by eyeball, it’s rarely accurate. Why? Well, the main reason is that most paint companies use different BASES.

So, you know how paint cans on the shelf have ‘Base 1, Base 2, Base 3, Base 4′ or something to that effect written on them? Well, that’s the BASE that’s needed to create a certain depth of color. Base 1 is used to make white/light colors right up to Base 4 which is used to make dark paint colors. The LRV of a paint color would directly relate to the base needed to create it. Paint companies often use different ingredients in their bases, so you’re not necessarily working with the same foundation when you move to a different brand.

Why you should never have paint companies do a colour match between brands. Kylie M Interiors edesign online color advice

In the above example, while both samples are still wet (I mean, they aren’t literally STILL wet, surely they’ve dried by now), you can see that Sherwin William’s version of Edgecomb Gray is considerably warmer than the actual color from Benjamin Moore. This isn’t Sherwin Williams fault, it’s just not their paint color. However, they should be making customers aware that they can’t create a perfect match.

Edgecomb Gray in action…

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray, best greige neutral paint colour. Living room, mantel decor, fireplace, leather chair. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting services

Paint Color Review of Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray

Let’s take a look at Sherwin Williams Sea Salt

can paint companies match each others colours, brand matching. No. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color advice blogger. Sherwin Williams Sea Salt

10 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Hire a Painter

Just LOOK at the variation in undertones! The Benjamin Moore match has more green, which means that if you had a south-facing room, it could look even greener. This might make Kermit the Frog happy, but I’ll safely assume you don’t like to eat flies or date pigs, which means you may want to get Sherwin William’s version of their own color which casts that bit more blue in comparison.

Sea Salt in action…

Sherwin Williams Sea Salt in a bathroom with white countertop, vanity, farmhouse bulbs, wood framed mirror. Kylie M E-design, online color consultant

Paint Color Review: Sherwin Williams Sea Salt

Not only that, but some companies use different COLORANTS or tints to make up their colors, ie. Benjamin Moore’s black is…black. Sherwin Williams black has a wee hint of blue in it.

To put that in example form, if you chose a popular Benjamin Moore paint color like Stonington Gray, which is MADE with black, and had it made with Sherwin William’s paint, you wouldn’t get a perfect color match because they would be using a different type of black to make it.

But why would anyone would you want one brand to match another brand’s paint color?

  • to save money as one brand might be more affordable than the other
  • the painter says they’ll only paint with one particular brand (which is why you should read THIS)
  • you’re more COMFORTABLE with the other brand due to familiarity/experience

All of the above are NOT good excuses to get a color match UNLESS you’re okay with not getting the color you went in for.

Let’s just do the math here (not my strong point, especially after two glasses of wine). Let’s say you needed three gallons of paint.

  • Brand A: $60 per gallon = $180
  • Brand B: 40 per gallon = $120

What you end up with is a $60 difference and the wrong paint color. If you ask ME, it would be worth spending $60 to get the right color, rather than having to spend ANOTHER $180 to paint my walls with the RIGHT color in the RIGHT brand when the color match doesn’t turn out QUITE as I expected.

And of course, EXPOSURE can play a VERY BIG PART as well, but that’s a whooooole ‘nother blog post.

Let’s look at another color matching disaster…

Can I mixed one brand paint colour into another. Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams or Behr. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour advice

It’s like falling in love with a good white wine from one brand and wanting another brand, that uses different types of grapes, to make the SAME taste profile. It might be SIMILAR, but it won’t be the same (but let’s be honest, I’d drink it anyway).

This is also a valid point with paint. If you aren’t too fussy about undertones and are just looking for ‘a color to change your space’, then you might not care too much (and I’ll slap you with a wet noodle next time I see you). However, if you’re aware of the different undertones in paint colors and want the color you’ve CHOSEN to be the color that ends up on your walls, you’ll want to use the paint brand that your chosen color came from.

Let’s hammer that one down…

If you want the color you’ve CHOSEN to be the exact color that ends up on your walls, you’ll want to use the paint brand that your chosen color came from – moi

How should I properly sample paint colors?

Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out in the near future to grab paint samples – stop right there! I want you to check out SAMPLIZE. Samplize offers peel and stick paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots. Here are just a FEW reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients…

Paint colour review of tool Samplize, peel and stick samples. Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Farrow and Ball, Home Depot. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting

  • samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1-3 business days, depending on location
  • they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needed for traditional paint sampling
  • if you keep the samples on their white paper, you can move them around the room
  • they use each brand’s PARTICULAR PAINT to make their samples – no color matching!

Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE

Let’s look at a few more examples, just to seal the deal (I love this stuff)…

Should you get paint colours mixed in different brands, colour match. Benjamin, Sherwin or Behr. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting and diy blog advice

Can paint colour companies match each others paint colours, it is a good idea. Kylie M Interiors edesign, online paint color consulting and advice blog

In the above example of Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray, the PROPER sample shows the wee nugget of green that’s tucked inside of it. The color match from Sherwin Williams shows very LITTLE green and is also a bit darker.

In this next example, we have Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White, a popular off-white paint color

Should paint companies and brands match each others paint colors. Kylie M Interiors edesign, online paint colour advice blog

Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White in action…

Sherwin Williams Aesthetic White, best off-white paint colour. Bathroom with Quartz Cambria Wellington, free-standing white tub. Kylie M INteriors Edesign

Hells bells, some paint companies even have a hard time getting their OWN paint colors to look as they should #thingsthatkeepmeupatnight. That’s right, as you move through the LEVELS of paint (ie: Benjamin Moore Regal to Benjamin Moore Aura for example), the recipe has to be adjusted to suit the new base, as each LINE of paint has its own base ingredients. Good paint techs can almost nail it, but you always have to make sure you actually got the color you went in for.


The 12 Best ‘Whole Home’ Gray and Greige Paint Colors 

LRV and Paint Colors: The Ultimate Guide You Need to Read

10 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Hire a Painter

Not sure which paint color is best for your home?

Check out my Online Paint Color Consulting, I’d love to help!

The best paint colors for your room. Benjamin and Sherwin. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting. Home Decorating and diy ideas blogger.market

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature



  1. Wow, I’m so glad you shared this! I chose Edgecomb Gray for a room and we don’t live close to a Benjamin Moore store so I had SW make it. It was awful…it felt like orange undertones. Now I know why.

    1. I had this same experience. The SW version of Edgecom gray was very peachy toned, definitely not the same as the BM brand. So thankful we found a painter who would use the correct brand! Thank you for sharing Kylie!! ❤️

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  2. Confession: I did this with SW Agreeable Gray mixed by Benjamin Moore and I love it. (Hubby prefers to use BM—what’s a girl gonna do?). But I also tried it with SW Nacre mixed in BM paint. It was a complete disaster. It was YELLOW. So you’re definitely on to something, but I guess I like living on the edge! Keep up the good work! Love the blog!

    1. When you pick up your paint if it is not a good match you can insist the store tweak it until it’s an exact match. I am a professional painter and often get asked by a client for a colour in a different paint brand. All my local paint stores know me and know I won’t accept their machine matches. They know I expect an exact match so they either tell me up front a 100% match can’t be made (extremely rare) or they ask for a few days to tweak it. It does take more work on their end but they can do it if you insist and give them enough time.

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  3. Sadly, I learned this lesson the hard way! After much research and testing of samples, I finally decided on BM Edgecomb Gray. I was so excited for a fresh new look. And of course you guessed it, my painter had it color matched at Sherwin Williams. I got the exact same result as your samples above. No one really wanted to take responsibility for the difference and now I’m living with a color I really don’t love. So disappointing. Now I’m saving my pennies to have it repainted!

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  4. I wish I had read this a year ago, I wanted SW conservative gray for my kitchen, I had painted the living room with the real SW paint color and had it color matched for the kitchen and it turned out a muddy ugly green gray. Not at all the beautiful color in my living room. I am now repainting my kitchen !

  5. Thankfully, I’ve never had this happen, because I have access to both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams stores where I live. So, if I like one of their colors, I go get it from them. What I wanted to mention was if you think these samples are bad matches, go to one of your big box stores and try to have them match a SW or BM paint. While they can match it, they frequently cannot match it repeatedly and usually the color is off. I have rental properties and started out with SW paints, but due to the expense and frequent repainting I’ve used the big box stores to match the paint! Mistake! I’ve purchased paint matches from the same brand of big box stores, but in different locations and the paint color does not match at all! So I guess the moral is if you are going to use a big box paint, just use one of their colors….it will make your life easier. Or better yet just stick with SW or BM!

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  6. This is totally incorrect Benjamin Moore uses Genex tint machines and they are spot-on if they’re not then the guy mixing the paint should be able to doctor it up a little bit. The colors are exactly the same you cannot tell the difference with the naked eye. When you paint the room out it is impossible for you to tell the difference if it is off by the slightest bit. I’m a painter I’ve been one for twenty years I’ve also worked for Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams. Stop making it more difficult for people to pick colors. If they don’t match exactly it has to do with either the tint machine or the person mixing the color.

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      I appreciate your comment Tom! If I hadn’t experienced this first hand on many occasions myself, and have clients write to me telling me about their colour matching frustrations, I would have to agree! I appreciate ALL feedback and I’m glad you’ve had some great experiences. My goal is never to make it harder, rather inform readers based on 20 years of hands-on experience. Having worked at both Home Depot in the paint department as well as Benjamin Moore, the best advice was ALWAYS to stick with the brand you’ve got for a perfect match! And if it’s up to the paint tech to fix it, there are many talented employees for this, and others who actually WON’T play around to improve things. I’ve also had employees actually wreck the original colour, trying to get it closer, as they don’t have a knack for it.

    2. I so wish I could include a pic. No, Tom, you are dead wrong. In fact, right as we speak the reason I found this post is because I’m stating at bright white cabinets and now yellow looking walls. Same color. Guess the difference? The brand. We used SW Alabaster in the entire house. Our painter only used BM and said he could match it. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. They’re not even done yet but there’s a thick line of their paint on our walls by the cabinets and it looks like primer compared to our walls. You can see the color difference right out of the can when I put theirs next to ours. Thousands of dollars down the drain.

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        Oh, Jessica, I’m sorry to hear this! And whites really are the HARDEST to match. Even within the brand itself, they have a hard time getting a consistent white between wall paint/cabinet paint. I’m sorry to hear you had this experience…

    3. You ARE correct. In my opinion, people should buy whichever color of paint they want from THAT paint company. Matches CAN be done by some people at some places if they care enough and are skilled enough to do it. People commenting about the technicalities of paint when they don’t know what they’re talking about is extremely annoying.

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        Thanks for your opinion and input Maxine! Having worked at 2 different paint stores and having dealt with various companies and clients for 20 years, I know what I’m talking about – I’m just here to help homeowners avoid mistakes that are being made daily :). Good luck with your colour matching!

  7. So glad I read this article! We’re restoring a craftsman home and getting ready to paint. The colors I like are in BM And Sherwin Williams. Local hardware does one but not the other so very glad to know there is a difference!

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    2. Hi Kylie! A small reminder that all the reason you’ve mentioned above are very logical and so true. These companies can’t get a perfect match unless a talented employee will be willing to do the extra steps to match it well. I really want to thank you for your detailed post. It’s been extremely helpful!

  8. Thank you for this! I thought I was going crazy! I picked up a gallon of a chosen color, and a sample of another color for a different room. I LOVED the sample in every tested spot. It was a Sherwin Williams color, color matched to Behr. I forgot that it had been a color match, so when I went back to buy a gallon, I went to Sherwin Williams. It immediately looked different, but I just thought it was because it was wet. Nope. The entire room has a blue undertone that was not present in the Behr version. Lesson learned. Now I’m just hoping that color matching back to Behr will give me the same color I loved from the start.

  9. Nope. I have mixed many brands of paint through my 30+ year career in the painting industry and have only had two times where I couldn’t match the color sample. My career started at a time when there was no “color matching machine” (unless you count the two eyes located on the front of my face). If I didn’t get the color right after three trips to the tinter, I needed to go home and rest. Later in my career, when the store got a “color eye” it would mess up about every 10th match. Matching a color by eye is a lost art, I’m sad to say. Plus….now days I hear far too many times in the paint store that a color match will take “a day or two”………oh, please. Seems to me that the issue is employees who don’t want to take the time that is necessary to get it matched “spot on” rather than “close enough”. In my opinion, close enough is just wrong. When the color is tinted on a 1/32 scale rather than a 1/48th scale, it can be tough….but a little time, it can be dialed in, for sure!

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      Yvette, why can’t you live near ME? YOu’re the kind of employee I love workign with, as you get it, and you CARE enough to really get it. Thank you!!!!!

  10. Hi Kylie!! I have been reading your blog for 2 years now as we have gone through building one home for my parents and are now building our home. You’ve been tremendously
    helpful AND entertaining 😂 what are your thoughts on paint stores “color matching” prefinished cabinets?? Because of budget constraints the cabinets we will be getting are RTA. Sherwin Williams color matched the white to Extra White and the Dove White to Alpaca. To say I’m disappointed with those options is an understatement. I have no clue what direction to go in bc I have a crush on Alabaster. I may be asking for a consult package with you for my birthday! Any guidance is much appreciated!! You are wonderful!! I love your blog.

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      Hey Katie, sorry for the SUPER delayed reply – I finally have some time to catch up on comments!

      Sometimes, color matching premade cabinets is all a store can do. I wish cabinet companies just went with BM and SW colors for their cabinets, as their clients would then have something familiar to work with! As for accuracy, it TOTALLY depends on the person doing it. They never get a 100% match, as different brands have different bases, but they can get pretty close!

  11. Well, for some of us professionals, we will only use Benjamin Moore, because it’s American owned. Sherwin Williams is owned by Blackrock and George Soros. BM is owned by Warren Buffett. Behr is a Canadian brand.

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      Ahhh, interesting, I never thought of that! Now I’ve looked up SW and it looks like it’s US too. I also love Behr, but their sheens are a little wacky compared to BM and SW – I only use them for odd projects.

  12. I love your website. I wish I would have seen this 2 days sooner, before spending $300 on paint at SW, none of which match the paint colors I asked to be paint matched, including within their same brand. The clerk recommended their duration rather than Emerald Design and said they could match it. Now I have $300 worth of paint I can’t use.

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      Oooooh boy, I’m sorry to hear this. People swear the brands can do it, but it’s just not a thing. If you order a Samplize sample of the color you wanted, it’s painted with 2 coats of each brand’s ACTUAL paint (so they can’t say it’s a printing error). Paint a sample board with 2 coats of what they gave you and show them the difference. If they say they CAN match, and they don’t, then it should be on them.

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