Asked on Mar 27, 2017

How to match ceiling paint?

Tim Gavagan
by Tim Gavagan

Can someone tell me how to match paint for a ceiling touch up job?

I cut a small patch of dry wall paper out of the ceiling and had paint made at Home Depot TWICE! Still doesn't match. Trying to feather the edges next. Using dead flat ceiling paint. Any thoughts of a solution to paint the ceiling? Thanks.

  28 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 27, 2017

    Did you use what you cut out of the ceiling for them to color match?

  • Johnchip Johnchip on Mar 27, 2017

    Prime the spot first needed to repaint, you may want to spackle and/or prime first, use brush and also sponge to feather out. Also keep going back if it tint is not right or use another store. But the truth is: it is almost impossible to touch up a ceiling. You may have to repaint if it is too much of an eyesore to live with.

  • B. Enne B. Enne on Apr 01, 2017

    Janet is right about matching a faded piece and not the original paint colour. Johnnychip is right about the priming, feathering, and it being almost impossible to touch up.

    You don't mention whether the ceiling is white or a colour.

    I colour-matched a piece of old trim, and got a very close colour for my panelling for a repair. In another spot, it looked a bit more creamy, so I added a bit of white primer until I got closer, and it is barely noticeable. Sometimes on ceilings, it seems to match till it dries. That happened to me, but eventually with all the sunfading, it blended in.

    I had read for walls in darker colours, to add a bit of water to the latex paint, and then use a Q-tip for nail holes, or sponge it on if the area isn't too big, and then "wipe" it in to feather. It works quite well for small repairs.

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Apr 01, 2017

    Unless you have the original paint can, I'd bite the bullet and repaint the entire ceiling. You won't be happy unless you do. Every 'ceiling' white is different, touch ups sometimes are just not perfectly matched. Best of luck.

  • Jennifer Dew Jennifer Dew on Jan 21, 2019

    Just repaired a section where the drywall tape was separating From ceiling. Didnt want bright white ceiling paint to make repair stand out even more so I added some light grey paint to the ceiling paint until it was more of an off white very very light grayish. Seems to match pretty good. I was happy with it. Now in my closet I had to repair a corner of the ceiling and after painting that spot the rest of the ceiling looked like old pale yellow color. So I just painted the whole thing bright white since it was a lot smaller ceiling area than the bedroom.

  • Gk Gk on Sep 20, 2018

    Paint looks lighter than the paint swatch when it is wet, then dries darker. When dry it should match the paint swatch exactly.

  • Cor32419347 Cor32419347 on Oct 17, 2018

    Most big box stores have a computer that will match your paint sample. Take a sample with you to the paint dept and let them do their magic.

  • Julie  McCuiston Julie McCuiston on Oct 17, 2018

    Find a hidden spot, maybe a closet or behind a outlet where you can slice off a small piece of the paint you want. Take it to a paint store that has a computer match for tinting. Lowes, Home Depot and any major paint store has that available.

  • Sandy Sandy on Oct 17, 2018

    Take a paint chip from the wall to a paint store and they can match it for you!

  • Andi Kessler Andi Kessler on Oct 18, 2018

    They only need a sample about the size of a nickel for the computer to match.

  • Ann Ann on Jan 30, 2018

    Take a small sample/chip to Home Depot and they will match it in whatever (gloss, flat, etc.) kind of paint you need.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 30, 2018

    you will have to take a large enough chip with you for any paint store to do a color match

  • Emily Emily on Jan 30, 2018

    if it is something in your home (wall paint, furnishings, decorative items) bring some paint chips home that resemble the color you want. Top pic is our old porch ceiling, bottom is new. Paint is same color which we found by bringing home a chip to match. The lower looks darker because it was a darker day, but it is the same color.

  • Deb K Deb K on Mar 02, 2023

    Hi Tim, your best bet is repaint the ceiling, you will never match the old paint, and new paint will really lighten up your room.

  • Mogie Mogie on Mar 02, 2023

    Seems like it would simpler in the long run to just repaint the entire ceiling and keep the can lid which contains info to help the paint store match that color.

  • Gillian Weaver Gillian Weaver on Mar 07, 2023

    You're stuck with painting the entire ceiling for best results.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Mar 13, 2023

    Forget about getting small pots of touch up paint. Get a colour you like and do the lot. The colour of the ceiling will vary all over because of the conditions in the room right under any one spot eg: smoke or age related atmosphere.

  • Gorgon Gorgon on Mar 28, 2023

    Your better off painting the whole ceiling. The touch up paint they mixed for you at the store almost never will match unless it comes from the same can or buckle the ceiling was painted from, sorry.

  • Ugh, I feel your pain. We literally just went through this and in the end we had to repaint the entire ceiling. It was a lot more work than we were hoping for, but in the end it looked great. Good luck!

  • Mogie Mogie on Apr 13, 2023

    Agree with Kim but the best way to touch up the ceiling is just repaint the entire ceiling.

  • Janice Janice on Apr 23, 2023

    Hi Tim, I agree with those suggesting you just bite the bullet and repaint the entire ceiling. We're always most critical of our own diy work, and even though no one else might notice a slight difference even when feathered out, you'll notice and it will likely bother you.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 27, 2023

    Since you have now used two touch up mixed paints and not been able to get invisible finish, I doubt you will, because the original ceiling has collected dust/particals etc. from the air. You will have to give the area a stain blocker and then repaint the entire ceiling.......

  • Deb K Deb K on May 19, 2023

    Hello, Sadly due to age and dust, etc, you won't get a good match, you could just put a new coat on.

  • Betsy Betsy on Aug 15, 2023

    Hi Tim: I'd cut my losses and repaint the entire ceiling :( Sad but true, you will make yourself crazy trying to make a match and you will always 'see' where you repainted that little bit. As I mentioned to another person with a ceiling painting question, use a colour changing paint. There's a ceiling paint you can buy that goes on pink or purple and stays that way for about 15 minutes so that you can see where you left off painting. Then, it turns white. This way you don't overlap or miss areas. I've used it and love it :) However, don't have a fan on while using it as it dries the paint too quickly and defeats the purpose of the changing colour:) Here are a couple of them:

    Good luck

  • Dee Dee on Aug 15, 2023

    Prime the spot and then seal it with spray lacquer matt finish and try the new paint. I did that and the white's matched perfectly.

  • Betsy Betsy on Sep 05, 2023

    Hello Tim: Perhaps the least frustrating thing to do is to repaint the entire ceiling. There are a couple of paints called colour changing paint, just for ceilings. It goes on pink or purple and, within 15 minutes, will change to white. This makes it easier to see where you left off painting and reduces over lap and/or missing areas. One thing to remember is to NOT use a fan when you are painting as it will dry the paint faster and turn it right. Don't ask me how I know :( HAHA Maybe not the answer you want, but I think it's the easiest.

    Good luck

  • Libbie B Libbie B on Jan 05, 2024

    I feel ya! We ended up repainting the ceiling.

  • This is tricky because over time, paint changes color ever so subtly so what it was originally in the can, it won't be later for a repair. If you can take the piece you cut out or a small extra chunk to be color matched, that might work. Otherwise, your best bet is to repaint the whole ceiling, unfortunately.