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Colour Matching Between Paint Brands – Does it Really Work?

Posted on May 17, 2020 by KylieMawdsley


Can I get a paint colour 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 colours.

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 colour. Base 1 is used to make white/light colours right up to Base 4 which is used to make dark paint colours. The LRV of a paint colour 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 colour from Benjamin Moore. This isn’t Sherwin Williams fault, it’s just not their paint colour. 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

Read more: Paint Colour 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

Read more: 10 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Hire a Painter

Just LOOK at the variation in undertones! The BM 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 colour 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 Colour Review: Sherwin Williams Sea Salt

Not only that, but some companies use different COLOURANTS or tints to make up their colours, 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 colour like BM Stonington Gray, which is MADE with black, and had it made with Sherwin William’s paint, you wouldn’t get a perfect colour 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 colour?

  • 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 colour match UNLESS you’re okay with not getting the colour 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 3 gallons of paint.

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

What end up with is a $60 different and the wrong paint colour. If you ask ME, it would be worth spending $60 to get the right colour, rather than having to spend ANOTHER $180 to paint my walls with the RIGHT colour in the RIGHT brand when the colour 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 colour 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).

Which is also a valid point with paint. If you aren’t too fussy about undertones and are just looking for ‘a colour 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 colours and want the colour you’ve CHOSEN to be the colour that ends up on your walls, you’ll want to use the paint brand that your chosen colour came from.

Let’s hammer that one down…

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

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 colour match from SW 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 colour

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 colours 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 colour you went in for.

Not sure which paint colour is best for your home?

Check out my Online Paint Colour 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


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  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!

  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.

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