How to compare paint colors across brands

Updated February 21, 2017

Paint quality can vary among paint brands. Paint names can be similar but that does not mean that the colours used to mix them are identical. A bit more of one colour or another can shift the colour in another direction. The best way to choose a premixed colour is by comparing paint colours across manufacturers. Colours should only be compared if the finish is the same. Comparing a semigloss to a gloss or a matt to a gloss will skew the visual results.

Obtain a paint chip for a single, desirable colour. Choose the paint chip from any brand but make sure the brand name is marked on the chip.

Match the chosen paint colour to several different brands. Pull a matching paint chip from each brand, again making sure that the manufacturer's name is marked on the paint chip.

Cut the paint chips away from each strip of paint chips and mark the back of each one with the manufacturer's name. Attach the paint chips to the 12-inch square sheet of white mat board using double stick tape. Leave an inch between each and place them across the mat board in a row.

Write the name of the brand below each chip. Include the colour name and number, if they are not clearly printed on the chip.

Compare the samples during different times of the day and in different types of light. Compare the samples against fabrics and other finishes being used with the paint colour. Paint a sample of each on a 12-inch square sheet of foam core for better viewing and comparison.


Many paint manufacturers offer sample-size containers of paint for comparison.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint chips
  • 12-inch square white mat board
  • Double stick tape
  • Paint and brush
  • Foam core
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About the Author

Alex Burke holds a degree in environmental design and a Master of Arts in information management. She's worked as a licensed interior designer, artist, database administrator and nightclub manager. A perpetual student, Burke writes Web content on a variety of topics, including art, interior design, database design, culture, health and business.