When taking on a home painting project, choosing the perfect color is crucial. Many homeowners have their heart set on popular Sherwin-Williams paint colors like Agreeable Gray or Repose Gray for their space. But purchasing paint exclusively from Sherwin-Williams stores can get pricey.
This leads many DIYers to wonder – can Lowe’s match Sherwin-Williams paint colors? The short answer is yes, Lowe’s can accurately match colors from the entire Sherwin-Williams database. However, before grabbing those paint swatches and heading to Lowe’s, there are some important factors to consider.
How Color Matching Works at Lowe’s
Lowe’s uses advanced spectrophotometer technology to match existing paint colors precisely. Here’s a look at the process:
Bring in a Physical Paint Sample
The best method for matching Sherwin-Williams colors at Lowe’s is to bring in a physical sample – either a paint swatch or color chip. The machine will scan the sample and recreate the color into whatever Lowe’s branded paint you choose. This provides an almost replica of the original Sherwin-Williams color.
Matching From Photos
Lowe’s also can match colors from digital photos. However, because of variances in lighting and screens, this method is not quite as precise as matching actual paint samples. Success rate is around 90% depending on the quality of the image.
Sheen and Finish May Vary
While the base color can be matched accurately, sheens like eggshell or satin may appear slightly different between Lowe’s and Sherwin-Williams paints. This is because the paint bases and formulations are not the same.
Store Lighting Makes a Difference
The store lighting under which you view a color can impact perception. Natural daylight gives the truest representation. Colors matched under the lights at Lowe’s may look slightly off once you get them home.
Application Techniques Impact Results
How the paint is applied – brush, roller, spray – makes a difference. The color on a smooth, perfectly primed surface will look most true to the swatch. Real-world textures and application methods alter the final look.
Potential Issues Matching Sherwin-Williams Paints at Lowe’s
While Lowe’s can match Sherwin-Williams colors, there are some potential drawbacks to be aware of:
Paint Formulas Differ between Brands
Even though the color is precisely matched, the actual paint product formulation you buy at Lowe’s is not the same as at a Sherwin-Williams store. Lowe’s has exclusive agreements with manufacturers to create more affordable versions with different ingredients.
Lower Quality Pigments
The Lowe’s brands use fewer expensive pigments in their paints to keep costs down. So while the color is accurate, the coverage and performance will not be equivalent to a true Sherwin-Williams product.
Touch Up Challenges
Since the paint bases differ, touching up down the road with the same color from a different retailer likely will not match perfectly. Mismatched patches on the wall are a possibility.
Less Durability Over Time
Because Lowe’s paints use lower-cost formulations, they may be more prone to fading and yellowing over time leading to a color mismatch.
True Sherwin-Williams Products at Lowe’s
Some Lowe’s locations do offer genuine Sherwin-Williams paints under the HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams brand. However, these are lower-priced versions made exclusively for Lowe’s. They allow access to the true Sherwin-Williams color palette, but the premium-level quality is lacking.
Alternative Premium Paint Brands
Rather than compromise with a Lowe’s replicated version of a Sherwin-Williams color, consider these other premium paint lines:
- Benjamin Moore: Known for high quality pigments and coverage. Prices are comparable to Sherwin-Williams.
- PPG Pittsburgh Paints: Pro-level brand with similar durability and performance to Sherwin-Williams.
- Behr Marquee: Behr’s top-tier offering designed to rival Sherwin-Williams premium lines.
While not identical matches, these paints offer better coverage and durability than Lowe’s house brands. However, some finish and texture variations may still be noticeable if touch-ups are needed. Always test samples first.
Practical Considerations for Matching Sherwin-Williams Paint
When tackling a painting project using existing Sherwin-Williams colors, here are some useful tips to get the best results:
- For small touch-ups, Lowe’s is fine. For big projects, stick with Sherwin-Williams.
- Verify in-store lighting shows the color accurately before purchasing.
- For maximum consistency, always use the same paint brand for touch-ups.
- Prime surfaces thoroughly for most true-to-swatch color representation.
- Test samples on the actual wall before fully committing to the color.
- Adjust color expectations between sheens – eg. satin vs eggshell versions of the same color.
Can Sherwin-Williams Match Other Paint Brands?
On the other side of the coin, Sherwin-Williams stores have extremely sophisticated color matching systems that can accurately recreate colors from any major paint company. Reasons to match other paint colors at Sherwin-Williams include:
- Better quality control – Sherwin-Williams invests heavily in top-tier pigments and rigorous quality testing for consistent, predictable results.
- Easier touch-ups – The precise formulations make touching up with the same color again much simpler.
- More durable paint film – Premium paints like Sherwin-Williams are more fade and abrasion resistant over time.
- Universal color database – Sherwin-Williams has millions of paint colors on file from all brands to pull from.
So if you have a preferred color from Behr, Benjamin Moore, Valspar, or any other manufacturer, it can likely be matched seamlessly at Sherwin-Williams.
Performing Your DIY Color Match
For quick small paint jobs, you can attempt to match colors yourself using simple tools:
Digital Color Matching Apps
Various paint companies offer mobile apps that allow you to scan a color and get a formula for matching. However, accuracy varies greatly depending on lighting conditions.
Color Matching Strips
These strips change color when mixed with paint to help you manually adjust tint levels. Requires trial and error testing to achieve a close match.
Adding Color Tints
Many paint counter staff can provide advice on adding custom tint combinations to alter existing colors based on the color wheel. Results take practice.
Buying Color Sample Sizes
Most paint stores will mix small sample sizes so you can take home multiple iterations of a color to compare and adjust.
Final Considerations When Matching Sherwin-Williams Paint Colors
- For large painting projects, stick with SW products purchased at SW stores.
- For quick small touch-ups, Lowe’s color matching is reasonably reliable.
- Always verify the color in natural lighting before fully committing.
- Be prepared for slight variations between brands in sheen and texture.
- Take time to properly clean, prime, and prepare surfaces for best color accuracy.
- Test samples on the actual wall surface before purchasing full gallons.
- Keep spare color swatches for future touch-ups down the road.
Matching existing paint colors can be a frustrating process with room for error. But armed with the right knowledge of color matching limitations and product differences between brands, you can set realistic expectations and achieve beautiful, cohesive results. Take samples and test before fully committing.
With some prudent planning, Lowe’s can generally provide an extremely close match for common Sherwin-Williams colors. But for large-scale, uniform painting jobs, stick with the original product purchased from a Sherwin-Williams store. Follow proper prep and application procedures for most success matching those picky paint colors to get your home decor dreams accomplished.