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Say I have a drywall repair that I need to paint over, and the previous owner of the house didn't leave a can of paint in this room's particular color, so I go try to get a gallon of matched paint somewhere, and it ends up not being a perfect match. I've heard in this case you have to paint "corner to corner", which I assume just means painting the whole wall, and not necessarily the whole room.

If that's the case, does this usually work out okay? Or is it often noticeable enough to where you need to paint the entire room?

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  • If doing corner to corner, could also use a different colour that accents the other walls. A patch job for a small area is harder to match depending on the age, matching paint for paint.
    – crip659
    May 18 at 10:12
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    Note that if the paint isn't a perfect match, you'll need to very carefully mask off the adjoining walls or be very detailed when you brush into the corner. If you get any new paint on the adjoining wall, wipe it off immediately! If you don't, you'll have little spots of the new color on an old color wall and you'll end up having to paint that wall, too.
    – FreeMan
    May 18 at 12:45
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    but then the colours will match.
    – crip659
    May 18 at 16:17
  • you can also slightly adjust a single wall's color/sheen by changing the light that hits it.
    – dandavis
    May 18 at 16:22
  • Or you could use the tried-and-true method of "hang a picture over it". (Only if it's at an appropriate height I guess. If the patch is near the floor it'd be kind of weird...) May 18 at 16:37

3 Answers 3

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Yes, because colors look a little different on different walls because of different light angles, different reflections and shadows, a well matched paint should not have to go beyond the surface that extends directly from the patch.

To match paint well you need to choose the right brand and finish correctly (gloss, etc) and use the right tool (roller, brush). Not merely to let the computer pick the right mix. The paint store employee needs skill and care, and so do you.

I have had matches where I only paint the patch and even I can't see it the next day!

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    +1. Bring a sample of the existing paint (take a small square of the drywall if you're doing repairs anyway!) and the paint store should be able to get a really good match - last time I did this I couldn't see the patch once the paint dried. Just like when buying any other paint, I'd go to an actual paint store and not the home center.
    – mmathis
    May 18 at 16:35
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    Ive had luck with "drybrushing" with the paint roller a couple feet around the patch. Saturate the roller and then paint the patch, and then from there, you use the roller after almost all the paint has been rolled off, so it kind of feathers the paint out and almost mixes the old and new colours together.
    – element11
    May 18 at 19:46
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It depends how close the new colour is. You really won't know until you try it.
Modern scan/repro techniques ought to be closer than a 'by eye' match, but surface/brush texture/reflectivity can make the perceived colour of the end result seem further out than if all walls were facing the exact same light source. On the other hand you might just get lucky & the lighting changes work to mask any difference. This may even change depending on time of day, sunlight vs artificial light.

It will drive you mad every single time you walk in the room for about the first 6 weeks. After that, you won't notice it any more.

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TL;DR

I have to move, so I wanted to clean things up properly for the next owner.

Did the next owner fall in love with your existing paint color choices? Patch it, paint it, and get out if it doesn't lower the selling price.

Just make sure to actually do a good patch job. A bad patch job is wayyy more noticeable than any paint color discrepancy.


Kind of a dumb question but I couldn't find the answer anywhere, so I figured I'd ask here just to sanity check.

I won't judge =)

Say I have a drywall repair

The texture of the drywall repair alone is going to provide an obvious enough difference unless you're a professional patcher and feather the paint fairly wide.

that I need to paint over, and the previous owner of the house didn't leave a can of paint in this room's particular color, so I go try to get a gallon of matched paint somewhere, and it ends up not being a perfect match.

It almost never is a perfect match. Age changes paint in a way not reproduceable by simply color matching.

I've heard in this case you have to paint "corner to corner", which I assume just means painting the whole wall, and not necessarily the whole room.

Yes, paint the whole wall.

If that's the case, does this usually work out okay? Or is it often noticeable enough to where you need to paint the entire room?

Yes, it should work just fine.

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