How to Match Ceiling Paint? [4-step process]

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Upgrading your home includes repainting your ceilings, but sometimes you no longer have the original paint on hand for touch-ups. In this instance, you need to find a new paint that matches the shade and finish of your original paint color. Luckily, we researched paint matching in-depth so that you know the exact steps for refinishing your ceiling paint.

To match your ceiling paint, follow these steps:

  • Gather different ceiling paint swatches from a local hardware store
  • Tape them to your ceiling to find the closest possible matches
  • Purchase small samples of each possible match and paint on the ceiling
  • Wait for the paint to dry and determine your match

Is it better to go ahead and repaint the entire ceiling? Does white ceiling paint match across brands no matter what? Do you need to use a semi-gloss or satin finish on your ceiling in certain rooms? Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to best match your new paint to your ceilings!

A modern house with a rustic themed blended with white colored furnitures and white walls, How to Match Ceiling Paint? [4-step process]

Steps For Finding A Color Match

For simple spot touch-ups on your ceiling, use the following method:

Step 1: Visit a hardware store near you and choose multiple shades of white paint swatches for your ceiling. Feel free to stay within your budget in one brand name or to go across different brand names. 

Step 2: Use a step stool or ladder to tape your swatches to your ceiling. Try to choose a location where a good amount of sunlight shines through a window or door. Once you tape up your swatches, rank the shades of white by which ones are the closest to your ceiling color throughout the day.

Step 3: Purchase your top 3 choices of paint color in sample batches. While remembering to keep space between each color sample, paint a small amount of each sample on the ceiling nearest to a source of natural light. 

Step 4: Wait for the paint to dry with each sample since paint tends to darken once it dries. Choose the one closest to your original paint color.

How Do You Touch Up Ceiling Paint?

Touching up ceiling paint follows the same steps for any paint touch-up process: clean, repair, prime, and paint. 

Clean your ceilings thoroughly with magic erasers or regular soap and water to ensure the evenest shade of white for color-matching. Magic erasers eliminate tough stains better than most cleaners and work without messy soap suds. 

Click here to see magic erasers on Amazon.

Repair any holes or scratches with some sandpaper and spackling. Use the sandpaper to smooth the surface and then use a putty knife to scrape spackling into the hole.

Click here to see this spackling compound on Amazon.

Prime the areas you desire to touch-up so that paint adheres to the ceiling evenly and to limit the number of paint coats you need.

Paint over the clean, repaired, and primed areas with the color-matched paint you find at your hardware store or online.

Is Paint-Matching A Ceiling Always Possible?

Due to the age of the paint and the amount of fading that happens over time, it may be impossible to find an exact match for your ceiling. If someone smokes in the home, ventilation is poor in the kitchen or bathroom, or the initial paint job was completed improperly, matching the ceiling may prove to be difficult. 

For the best chance of color-matching, be sure to clean the ceiling thoroughly before taping up your paint samples. If after cleaning and following the steps above for matching your samples you still do not find a close enough shade, consider repainting your ceilings for more consistent coverage.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use For The Ceiling?

For almost all cases, use specific ceiling paint with a flat, matte finish so that scratches and unevenness in the ceiling appear less noticeable. Flat paint hides cosmetic errors more easily and helps to keep the eye from focusing on your ceilings instead of the rest of the room. It also looks the most even when light shines on it, as opposed to a gloss finish.

Once you match the color of your ceiling to paint, be sure to shop around at different stores online and in-person for the best deal. Latex ceiling paint comes in many different brands and colors. 

Click here to see latex ceiling paint on Amazon.

How Many Coats Of Paint For Ceiling Paint?

Use high-quality paint and prime your ceiling to ensure that one coat covers the ceiling completely. If you choose to use cheaper paint and no primer, expect to apply 2-3 coats for complete coverage. Using primer guarantees that no former paint colors bleed through the new paint color. 

What Is The Best Finish For A Ceiling?

For most of the rooms in your home, using a flat latex ceiling paint suffices for complete coverage. A semi-gloss or satin finish would defeat the purpose of using the ceiling paint in the first place because it draws your eye to imperfections on the ceiling. 

Sometimes bathrooms and kitchens require a satin or semi-gloss finish due to the excess amount of moisture accumulation. Ventilation in the kitchen and the bathrooms helps keep moisture at a minimum so that you may avoid using a glossy finish. However, if any amount of condensation gathers on the ceiling, a satin finish makes it easier to wipe away dirt and mildew over time.

Is Every White Paint The Same Color?

Most people use white on their ceilings to draw less attention to them. This technique also helps a room look more spacious and classic. 

When choosing your color match, note that white shades vary in their undertone, even if they are named the same thing across brands. Some whites contain a blue undertone, while other white shades contain a red undertone. When different types of light reflect on the white paint, it may appear lighter or darker depending on its natural undertone. In the example below, notice how some shades look gray, cream, or bright white:

This is why you must find a variety of white swatches to tape to your ceiling to find out if it contains a cool or warm tone. Let the natural light shine through during the day, then use your indoor lighting in the evening and morning to see if the white shades on your ceiling change based on the time of day.

Cool White Tones

Here’s an example of a cool white with a blue undertone, which looks brighter in indoor lighting:

Notice how the blue paint on the walls below it helps the white color to really pop. Cool white tones may tend to look gray if they are exposed to a lot of natural light. 

Warm White Tones

On the other hand, the next picture shows an example of a warm white with a red undertone, which looks brighter with natural lighting:

The warm wood tones in this room and the natural sunlight help to make this warm white tone look beautifully bright.

Final Thoughts On Matching Ceiling Paint

You now possess a comprehensive guide for matching white ceiling paint to your existing ceilings. Find a close enough match for touch-ups, especially where the damage is small. However, if the match appears even just a little off, it might be best to purchase enough paint to completely repaint your ceilings for an optimal finish.

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