I patched a few scrapes and small holes in the drywall, then got a can of color-matched paint in the hardware store (I took a sample with me, they color-matched it and prepared the paint). It is a white color anyways.

However after I applied a first coat, I clearly see that there is a difference in color tones on the wall - the new coat is "darker" then the original one. So I applied the 2nd coat at one part of the wall to see any changes - but I see no difference.

Was I supposed to apply a primer first? Isn't it late now to apply it and then re-paint?


  • Mix a bit with same bit of pure white and sponge it on lightly with paper towel for same flat texture Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 12:58

4 Answers 4


Three things:

  1. Yes, you were supposed to apply a primer.

    Fresh joint compound and drywall soak up paint like crazy. The primer serves to seal the joint compound and drywall and create a consistent surface. However, you've already painted - and the paint will do the same thing - just not as effectively and you'll probably need to do a third coat.

  2. Paint takes time to cure and changes color as it does

    It takes about 30 days for paint to cure fully - and usually the color will deepen as it does - so after your 3rd coat let it set a week and see if it's starting to blend in.

  3. Your paint may never match perfectly

    Paint age matters - and no matter how good the technology, 2 cans of paint are 2 cans of paint. Pro's who get multiple cans of paint at a time for a room will blend the 2 together before painting to ensure uniformity. Obviously it's too late for you to do that - your old paint was dry - but worst case if you really can't stand it after it's cured - just paint the one wall with a new coat. Having a whole wall be slightly off color won't stand out anywhere near as much as having a spot of paint off color.

  • Less a problem that color matching is imperfect than that the human eye can perceive so many millions of colors. I have had 4 cans of paint made to the same formula all be different. Yes, the computer mixed them. Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 18:44
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    @Harper did you read point 3? Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 16:01

The paint likely does not match perfectly, either in color or in amount of gloss. Those color matching machines can be hit or miss...

If it bothers you - paint the entire wall with the new paint and you’ll never notice the slight difference in color.

  • Also true- color matching is imperfect. Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 12:09
  • "corners can hide many mistakes" originally about hanging wallpaper, but applies just as well to paint matching.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 8:29

In addition to other comments: If your wall has a texture to it, orange peel texture spray can help to make it more seamless. Applying it is an art. A little goes a long way and you need to get the spray pattern right. Definitely practice on an old board first on a wall you don't care about like in a basement. Feathering the edges into the surrounding area will also help confuse the lines.

It's almost impossible in my experience to get it exact. I've gotten pretty close but at certain angles the glare will be different. If you really want perfect uniformity, you need to repaint the entire wall but that still won't work if the patch is perfectly smooth and the wall isn't.

  • While this is true information we strive here to provide answers to the question asked. Nothing in OP's question ties to any discussion of wall texture from what I can tell. Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 16:24
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    @TheEvilGreebo It's a common misconception that humans perceive color as it really exists. There are innumerable factors and texture is one that causes colors to appear different. On neutral walls, I've had patches become almost invisible simply by putting the texture on. The paint was a minor factor.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 16:34
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    @TheEvilGreebo In addition, painting a patch without addressing texture issues is a waste of time and paint. So if the point of this site is to steer people wrong for pedantic reasons then downvote me all you want. I prefer to help people.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 16:37
  • Sure, texture can cause a paint job to look different. But again, the OP didn't mention texture - and you didn't ask in a comment if the wall was textured - so still not easy to see how the answer you posted is relevant to the question asked. Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 16:37
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    +1 this is highly relevant. Texture matters.
    – Stian
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 11:49

Had a job that involved color matching plastic parts, vinyl, painted parts and rubber. surface texture was a large problem for matching, even tho samples submitted would match numerically within 5%. Material of which the parts were made caused significant difference. We used two brands of color match instrumentation plus a light booth where different lighting was available; in the end, while I made sure the color instrumentation matched the colors tested, I had three sets of human eyes view and sign off the samples that were deemed acceptable.

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