Why does my paint color look different on the wall?

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I hate to break it to you, but the paint color you love so much from that Pinterest or Houzz picture? The one you made sure to find out its exact name and paint company? Probably won’t look anything like that on your wall. (Same thing goes for catalog or magazine photos. Your wall just won’t match.)

Reason # 1—Calibration

Different screens show colors differently. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the same picture on your tablet, laptop, phone, and any other device you can think of.  They’re not all exactly the same, are they? (Don’t lie to me and say they are—I know better!)

Laptop versus phone.

Laptop versus phone.

There are calibration devices out there that will make sure you get the perfect image, but they can get expensive and still may not solve the problem because…

Reason #2—Color Correction

Filters, anyone? Even the best photographers tweak their pictures to make them look better. I do it. You do it. We all do it. Of course, that doesn’t even begin to describe all the manipulating that catalog publishers do to make sure the product is shown as accurately as possible. They don’t care if the color of the paint on the wall gets messed with as long as the product is right and the overall picture looks good. (I’ve seen the before and after pics from catalogs. Those things are photoshopped to heck and back.)

#nofilter

#nofilter

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Reason # 3—Ink

The pictures in magazines and catalogs are at the mercy of the printers’ ink. Sometimes they come out just right and sometimes…well, we’ve all gotten a catalog with a page that’s almost all magenta. (More often, the mess-ups are a bit more subtle than that.)

The difference is subtle, but there IS a difference.

The difference is subtle, but there IS a difference.

Reason # 4—Lighting in the Inspiration Photo

I’ve tried to describe this before, but in this case a picture’s worth a thousand words. Here are two pictures I took of my wall and ceiling. The first one was taken in daylight while the second was taken in the evening with just incandescent light. Notice a difference? (Even better—the ceiling is actually the EXACT SAME COLOR as the wall. Seriously.) Crazy, right?

Daylighting

Daylighting

Incandescent Lighting

Incandescent Lighting

Reason # 5—Lighting in Your Room

A blue shade on your pendant light, a bright pink bougainvillea right outside your window, the color of your furniture, even the direction your room faces (North versus South) can change the way a paint color looks in your room. All it takes is one of those things to be different than the inspiration room and, BOOM, the walls won’t look the way you had imagined.

See how much variation there is in the wall color?

See how much variation there is in the wall color?

So, forget about relying on the NAME of the paint in your inspiration pic. You’ll be much better off matching the paint to the way the picture LOOKS to you. (Keep in mind, though, that #5 will still apply.)

 

Still having trouble with your paint color? I offer paint consultations, too. Just click the button below to contact me and find out more.