What we learned about paint – and why we will never use Home Depot again

I have a confession to make. I’m that person that buys really nice Christmas and birthday gifts for other people, and then buys myself something off the clearance rack. Likewise, I choose the best for my clients, and when it comes to my own house, I take shortcuts.

It’s a common phenomenon apparently. My father is an expert custom picture framer, but the frames in their house are mismatched leftovers from his shop.

So when it came time to paint our home before we moved in 4 years ago, I selected my favorite color and got it color matched at Home Depot. This was the first time I had done this. I needed a lot of paint so I opted to save money here. At first, it wasn’t an issue. The paint seemed okay and we had moved onto other things, but overtime that wasn’t the case.

When we started doing my daughters new bedroom and my husbands new office this year, we decided to repaint, and we learned a whole lot about paint itself.

  1. The base paint they use at Home Depot will differ from other brands, and this will completely change your paint color. Paint bases differ from brand to brand and even within that brand, they may perfect the base to change it to what they envision that color to be. But when you color match paint at Home Depot, they will use one base paint for everything. You choose the paint can you want, but you don’t really know what the undertones of that paint really are. Our turned out to be incredibly yellow.
  2. When Home Depot color matches, every little speck of foreign material on your swatch will affect your paint color. Even the age of the sample, or the amount of sunlight that day. You might think this doesn’t matter much, but you’ll see in my next image that it absolutely does.
  3. Home Depot paint looks chalky. I have even chosen their own paint colors before, when painting small projects around the house, and initially it’s fine but overtime you realize the paint looks chalky and not robust. The color you envisioned is not on your walls, and it’s such a bummer.
  4. How much sun your house / that room gets, will affect how your paint color appears. The same paint in a usually overcast city with tall buildings will look very different in a sunny suburban home.
  5. Your window coverings will change the way your paint appears. We painted the same off-white paint color in both rooms. The office had white roller shades installed and the bedroom had a cream toned roller shade, both allowing light to enter the room. The office looked grayish white, which is what it was supposed to be, and the bedroom turned yellow! We fixed this by installing white drapery in front of the cream shades and it muted the cream coming off of the shade.
  6. Luxury is better for a reason. Shortcuts never work. I bought a sample can of the Farrow & Ball color I fell in love with, then color matched it at Home Depot (BIG MISTAKE). I brought them home and tested them side by side. Here were the results:
Side by side comparison of Farrow & Ball paint versus Home Depot color matched paint.

You can actually see the amount of yellow the Home Depot color matched paint has. The greens are dull, chalky, washed out and gross. On the right, the Farrow & Ball colors are vastly superior. This is actually a silvery blue green color that has so much character, is vivid, bright, and saturated. It made the world of difference!

I still might not be able to do my entire house in Farrow & Ball paint, but I certainly will be taking more time to investigate other paint brands after learning so much about paint!

Was this helpful? Are you stuck on paint colors? Let us know!


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