how to color match paint when you don't know the color, paint color consultant holding up paint chips next to wall.

How to Color Match Paint 

Painting or touching up a space in your home can be a tricky task when you need to match the paint color, yet you have no record of the color or finish. Whether you’re touching up a wall, trying to match the paint color in your newly purchased home, or you simply can’t remember what paint you used, and you no longer have the paint can, there are a few simple ways to color match interior paint and exterior paint so you can get on with your paint project. If you’ve ever wondered how to match paint when you don’t know the color, this blog post is for you! 


How Can I Match My Existing Wall Paint Color?

If you need to color-match interior paint or exterior paint, there are a few simple ways to do so if you don’t know the exact name of the paint or the formula to recreate it yourself. 


How to Color Match Interior Paint and Exterior Paint

Color-matching exterior paint is a bit different than color-matching interior paint. If you are repainting your exterior, you actually don’t need an exact color match. You simply need the closest color you can find. 

Color Matching Tool

If you are color-matching an exterior wall, we recommend pulling a color match in an area that is under a shaded area of your home so that it’s not faded. Clean the area with water to eliminate dust, dirt, or pollen. Then, use the mobile match tool from Sherwin-Williams to find the closest color in the fan deck. We recommend confirming this using the second closest option to determine which matches your exterior best. 

If using a color matching tool on an interior wall, just make sure you are using ONLY natural light and no artificial lighting, as it will skew your results. 


Color Wheel or Fan Deck

If you don’t have a color matching tool available to you, you can eyeball it with a color wheel or fan deck, also available from Sherwin-Williams. Simply hold the fan deck next to the painted surface to find the closest match. Again, we recommend doing this in a shaded area of your exterior or with natural light only on your interior to ensure the paint isn’t faded or skewed. Then, you can take the fan deck to the paint store to find the closest color match. The paint store will have a color-matching machine that will analyze the sample and generate the matching paint color. 


Color Match a Sample of Your Wall 

Another way to figure out how to match paint color already on the wall is to remove a small piece of the wall, such as on a vent, downspout, or a small piece of siding on the exterior or in an inconspicuous location of your interior. 

If you are taking a sample from an interior wall, cut a small 2 x 2 square out of the drywall with a razor and peel the paper so you don’t damage the wall. If the closet is the same color that you are trying to match in the interior, this is an ideal spot to take the sample from. You can then take the sample to your local paint store to get a color match. 


Is There An App That Identifies Paint Color?


As a busy homeowner, you may be looking for the quickest way to match a paint color without having to make extra trips to the paint store. There are apps out there that can help you easily match paint colors without having to leave your home! 


Many paint companies have their own color-matching apps, such as Sherwin-Williams’s  ColorSnap app. To use the app, simply take a photo of the paint color you want to match (ensuring you are using natural light ONLY and the paint is not faded). The app will then generate the closest matching paint color for you. 


Consult a Professional to Color Match Paint 

If you are a bit nervous about color matching your existing paint and want to make sure it’s done right, you can consult a professional to match the paint color for you. Professional painters have experience in color matching and can help you find the correct match or create a custom paint color that matches the color on your wall. 


Here at Oak City Coatings, we include a Color Consultation with every paint project, so you can rest assured that your paint job will come out as the exact color you’re wanting for your space! Plus, if you’re not sure which color and finish would look best in your space, we can help you with that during our Color Consultation. You can book a call with us to chat more about your project and color goals!


For more tips on finding the perfect color and finish for your space, check out these blog posts:



All in all, there are a number of ways to match your existing paint color so you can achieve the look you desire in your space. A good rule of thumb moving forward is to always keep a record in a notebook of what paint color you purchase, what the finish is, how many coats you used, and when you purchased it. This will make your life so much easier down the road if you need to color-match or touch up the wall!


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