How to match carpet colors & paint colors

Written by steven sester
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Matching carpet and paint colours is easy and requires simple tools and a basic sensitivity to colour differences. The best time to accomplish the matching is when shopping for carpeting and paint at the same time. If one is in place, it is still possible to match to the other, although the greatest options are in matching paint to carpet, as it can be tinted to any colour. The following paint matching options will provide a starting point, but few people paint solid walls the same colour as solid flooring, so explore options with different shades and colour schemes, or consider “pulling out” a dramatic accent colour from multicoloured carpet.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Paint colour chip strips
  • Paint colour fan
  • Carpet samples
  • Handheld colour scanner
  • Smart phone colour scanner application
  • Digital camera
  • Colour corrected computer monitor
  • Pixel grabber
  • Accurate colour printer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Gather paint colour chip strips for each colour you're considering or that is in the carpet. Borrowing or purchasing a complete colour fan from the paint store can make the process of matching much easier than guessing at the correct chip swatches to grab.

  2. 2

    Take the colour chip strips or colour fan to your home or office if matching installed carpet, or to a flooring store if shopping for new carpet. Lay the chips or fan deck pages on the carpet to be matched and determine the closest match. It helps to squint a bit and to make sure there is adequate lighting.

  3. 3

    Borrow carpet samples to bring to your home or office if matching existing paint where the colour chip code is not known and there is no paint available to paint out a sample.

  1. 1

    Scan the carpet with a handheld scanner, such as those offered by Benjamin Moore, as an alternative to matching colour by eye. Both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams offer the same technology in the form of free smartphone applications, as well. The scanner will return the closest paint chip code and name to match the colour scanned.

  2. 2

    Take a close-up photo of the carpet with a digital camera or scan in a sample using a flatbed scanner. Load the image to a computer and adjust colour if necessary.

  3. 3

    Use a free or commercial pixel grabbing program (set to RGB capture) to get the colour of any pixel in your image. Most graphics, illustration, paint and colour programs, such as ColorImpact (tigercolor.com), have them built in. Search freeware sites for many free versions, such as Instant Eyedropper (instant-eyedropper.com).

  4. 4

    Input the RGB code into a program, such as easyRGB (easyrgb.com). The program will allow you to select colour collections from most major paint companies and will return the four closest paint matches along with their names and colour codes. Most major paint company websites, such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, also have capabilities to convert RGB codes to paint colours in their collections. Pick up the actual colour chip strips using those codes from the paint store.

  5. 5

    Print out a rectangle or square of the RGB code captured on an accurate photo quality printer as a final option. If the colour is a good match, the paint store will be able to scan it in and mix a custom colour paint formula directly from it.

Tips and warnings

  • Whenever matching colour, it is always best to view choices in the actual environment and lighting conditions where the paint and carpet will be used.
  • Always save samples of carpet and paint for future shopping. Saving a shortened stirring stick that was used to stir paint is a great way to capture the actual colour of the paint used.
  • Note that actual carpet and paint may vary slightly from the samples provided.
  • Painted walls will usually tend to look two shades darker than their corresponding colour chips. Try a test section of paint before painting a whole room.

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