There was a time when we didn’t have the amazing array of colors and brands of paint to choose from. A few standard palettes were what most everyone used and paint stores could probably even tell you what color you had by your description.
Now we have color matching computers with software that can match your preferred brand of paint to your favorite fabric if you bring them a good enough sample!
Most people have learned (some of us the hard way) the importance of over buying to insure there are leftovers of our custom colors when we pick out paints today. Whether it’s is from a paint chip in the store or your own blend you had created to match a color you loved from a favorite poster, having more is crucial to touch ups or if you decide to expand or re-use that color.
Yet, that extra paint won’t help if you aren’t positive exactly where it was used or there isn’t enough of it left to use again when you need it.
Here are some tricks I have developed that help me keep the paint area organized, stress free and help get the best results when needing to buy more of a color previously used:
- Do your best to keep the outside of paint cans somewhat clean, those drips may help you see what color is in the can, it’s best if you can still read the label, at least the brand, paint type, finish etc. The difference between semi-gloss and satin can be VERY important!
- Use a marker or a label maker to provide a description on the can of what exactly that paint was used for. “Backyard fence”, “Kitchen molding”, “Guest bathroom cabinets”- be as descriptive as you need to be for you to recognize exactly where it was used. And it’s not a bad idea to date it.
- Make sure you can still see the formula or ‘recipe’ for that color they put on the top of the can.
- If you need to buy more paint, especially for a touch up or patch work it will always match best if you get the exact same brand, finish, etc.
Paint brands may change formulas over time or disappear completely (remember Dulux?, gone now), so in addition to labeling cans clearly it can be most valuable to keep a file in the house.
- Color matching software requires a sample to be no less than the size of quarter, or think of the smallest size paint chip sample you see in the paint departments.
- As soon as you start using your new paint make your own ‘sample’ to save for future reference, and all the information you need with it.
- I like to create file folder right away to keep everything; Label the folder by project or where the paint was used, some folders may contain more than one; “Faux finish in master bath” , or be very simple; “Accent wall – family room”, “Backyard fence”
- Create a color swatch to save about the size of a deck of cards, and make another on a smaller paper, along with the paint chip from the store if you have it.
- On the same paper as the sample write all the specs: brand, finish, where purchased, date purchased, formula from the can, and again where you used this paint.
- When you need more paint in the future you can take the entire folder with you or just your smaller samples.
- These steps are just as important to ‘standard’ colors as they are to specialty colors. Trust me you can be surprised how much one white looks like another until using the wrong one to touch up a trim and it does not match perfectly!
Since we can’t always get the exact same product again these samples created from what you actually applied can be a life saver. Computer color matching from a sample can provide far better results than the formula itself, especially if you buy another brand, base formulas can vary enough to turn out quite different.
Having your own samples are useful in other ways too. Being able to take your home colors with you to look at accent colors, trim colors, furniture, window treatments, flooring, appliances, bedding and so on can be a huge help and time saver!
If you have a professional do painting for you ask them to create a sample for you to keep in your files of each color and make sure you label them. I had a customer recently in need of touch up paint on an outer wall after someone had patched a crack. It was very hard to get a close match to look fairly decent because I couldn’t take a sample to the paint store.
Don’t forget the basics of paint storage:
Seal cans tightly, store in cool dark place, and some suggest you store paint upside down (I am undecided on that concept).
I hope this helps your home painting projects!