I have an existing beige color in the walls of my house. I am getting them repainted and following suggestion from my painter I went to the store - got sample of sherwin williams accessible beige. I also bought a plain white board to try the color as well.(The eventual paint would be promar 200 from sherwin williams)

So i have put two coats on the plain white board and two coats on the wall as well. The problem here is with the same light - the 2 coats on the wall look more whitish and different from the color on the white board. The coats on the white board look more close to the real color that is advertised. The painter thinks its due to the existing wall color (beneath the two coats of the sample) changing the eventual color. he says he can put a primer beneath but that would mean 3 coats and more money expense to me.

Is it correct that the color beneath the 2 coats is making a difference in how the walls look?

In the pic in this link, the background color is my existing color. I have painted a small part of the wall and i am also holding the white cardboard with the 2 coats of paint.

  • Try painting a section white then after it drys paint with your sample color. If it still looks different it is the texture that is causing the difference in appearance. Have another sample made wit 150% of the formula mixed into it
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 21:00
  • I have automotive paint chips that come with a hole in them to prevent this, by placing the paint chip over the painted surface and viewing it through the hole you get to match the colour of the item with the paint chip without being biased by surrounding colours. Could you paint a bit of paper with a hole in the middle with your new paint and then hold it over both painted surfaces to check for the effect JPhils answer explains?
    – Mauro
    Commented Oct 30, 2020 at 9:53

1 Answer 1


There's a few things that could be going on here. First, the wall paint could be absorbing the new paint more than the fresh white board or paper you are using. The texture of the wall could make the color appear to be lighter, but not sure if that's the case if you have a flat paint (not glossy). Also, have you ever seen those optical illusions where there are two squares that are the exact same color grey but one looks almost black and the other looks almost white because of the colors that surround it (square A and B are the exact same color)?

enter image description here

The grey on a stark white background is going to seem darker even if there is just a little white border.

So, you have a few choices. You can just accept that it looks lighter in the room and use a darker shade, but you also have to realize that once all the wall is painted, the color will look different than it does now. You can prime and then paint. What I like to do is use a tinted primer then one coat of paint. You get the best of both worlds and typically the one coat (of quality paint) is enough.

Now, as to why your painter wants to use Sherwin Williams paint... It's most likely that is what he is used to. Painters have big brand loyalty, and the paint stores feed this with quantity discounts and "pro accounts" that get lower prices. Also, note that "ProMar 200" sounds like some nice "professional' product, but it's one of the least expensive paints SW sells. It is their value line paint for large volume painters. Home Depot also has a "pro" line of paint, and in my experience "Pro" in the paint world means "good paint for a low price for large jobs". It doesn't mean its somehow better than "consumer" paints.

Direct answer to your two points:

  1. If the paint has a hard time covering with the light color you have chosen, it's not a very good paint. Light colors should hide the best because the white pigment in the paint is very strong. Darker colors like reds and blues are notorious for poor coverage, but not grey.

  2. Many other paints would probably cover better. ProMar is a base-level paint that works good in most cases, but there are certainly better covering options. Does $5-10/gallon more for a better paint really matter in the long run and in comparison to what you're paying for labor?

Also: specifically not trying to recommend a brand or throw SW under the bus... SW has 4-5 lines of interior paint and I'm sure they have great stuff. I have friends that won't use anything other that Benjamin Moore and others that only buy from Home Depot. I happen to believe that most suppliers have good products and you have to choose the right one based on the job. You can't just blindly use Product X for every single job.

  • That’s a great answer, thanks! Would it be possible for a sample to replicate how it looks with the real stuff? The extra money on paint doesn’t bother me since labor costs much more. Any recommendations on the paint brand? Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 20:08
  • Can't recommend a brand specifically, but if you are having coverage issues, a more expensive paint may help. Titanium Oxide is used in paint to make it white, and that's one of the expensive ingredients so it does contribute to the final price (more pigment, better coverage). With proper coverage, the sample in the store should match the color on the wall in the same room (the sample in the store's lighting might look different than your room lighting).
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 20:14

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.