So you finally decide on your paint color and you are going to paint your living room walls with Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl. You think that a great ceiling color would be a lighter version than the Gray Owl. You read somewhere online that you can get a custom color made by asking the paint store to lightened your color by 50%. Makes sense, right? Adding white will make the color lighter, right? Nope- not that easy. I decided to look into the idea that when you want a paint color lightened by half, you can ask at the paint store to ‘cut’ the color by 50%. Is it practical? Is it doable? Does it work?
I spoke with many different Benjamin Moore store retailer and company representatives and also Sherwin Williams and these were my results:
* Everyone I spoke with agreed that the best solution is to choose an existing paint color instead of custom mixing, (cutting the color with white paint). The results are often less than desirable. Here are a few reasons why:
* When you request a custom color, (asking for a lighter color), you can NOT see the results until it is mixed, let it dry and then see the actual color. Some stores may custom mix a quart for you, but most stores will only custom mix a gallon or more. You may have a color you picture in your mind, but it might not look the same after the formula is cut by a percentage. The color will be lighter, but it will not be the same color. It begins to get very technical when you talk about trying to cut formulas in half when not all of the colorants in a color can be split.
* If you need more of the same of the lighter color at a later date, you can not be sure to get the same results.
* Cutting a paint color by 50%, for the best results, needs to be a lighter color or an off-white to get the best results for coverage.
* When trying to lighten a darker color, such as navy, and the formula is cut by 1/2, (50%) the paint coverage is not going to cover well. You may have to use several coats to cover.
* When a paint color is lightened, the LRV is also lightened. The color will be lighter, but it will not be the same color.
* Another thing that will affect the color is the type of paint finish you choose also will have an effect on the color’s appearance. Flat has a chalky finish when dry. It also absorbs light and can make a color appear slightly lighter. Semigloss and gloss finishes will typically make a color appear darker.
Then I came across the best video explaining it all. It is from Lori Sawaya, a color genius! She really, really know her stuff in the color world. She did a vlog about cutting paint colors by 50% and explains how all the components that come into making a color are affected when trying to lighten a color by 50%. Lori used SW 7029 Agreeable Gray as an example while trying to help someone find a ceiling color. It is entertaining as well as very educational. If you want to know the facts about cutting a color by 50%, you can see Lori’s video here.
In conclusion, whenever you ask for a formula to be cut by whatever %, the computer does the best it can with the calculations. The color will be lighter but the end result will still be a completely NEW color. I agree that the best solution is to choose an existing paint color instead of custom mixing and trying to cut by a percentage. There are thousands of paint colors to select from and find a lighter version, plus you will know exactly what color you are getting.
So now you know the facts!
Have a great weekend everyone!