Picking out the perfect hue for your living space is an investment. It’s an investment in time when you spend weekends scouring through the Boysen blog looking for color palette inspirations. Of course, it’s also a financial investment when you shell out money to buy buckets of paint for the job. Finally, it’s an investment in effort and willpower to force your butt off the couch and go to the nearest home depot or hardware just to purchase the paint. Don’t even get me started on the actual painting process, am I right?

And yet here you are, staring up at your freshly painted wall only to realize that the color seems a bit off from your color reference. Where did it go wrong?

You Didn’t Consider the Lighting

Metamerism: What It is and Why It’s Important in Choosing Colors

Because of a scientific phenomenon called metamerism, colors can visually change based on what kind of light they are viewed in. How much light does your living space get? Is it mostly from the natural light streaming through the windows? Or are you a firm believer of warm mood lighting for your entire space? Remember to always check the kind of light you have at home. Big home depots are usually bathed in stark, white light. So, viewing your color reference there can be very different from seeing the results at home.

Speaking of lighting, the type of sheen you choose for your paint also makes a visual difference. So, let’s say your hue reference is in a flat finish but the type of paint is in semi-gloss. There is a chance that the visual outcome of the color will be different due to the different way light reflects off of these surfaces.

Look at Your Color Reference

Physical and Digital Paint Swatches: Pros and Cons

Yes, there’s a reason why we always put a hard disclaimer on any of the digital color inspirations we post on social media. While our artists try to get the most accurate digital color representation of each hue, each screen we view these colors in are all different. Sometimes, people don’t even realize that their phones have a preset “filter” turned on. While digital swatches can be a good reference for choosing colors, always remember that the mixed paint may not turn out to be a hundred percent similar.

Even if you used a physical fandeck as color reference, always make sure that the fandeck or brochure you’re using as reference is still in good condition. Any exposure to extreme heat and humidity can cause some of the colors to fade over time. It pays to update your swatch every once in a while!

You Didn’t Follow the Recommended System

3 Possible Reasons Why Your Walls Don't Match Your Color Reference | MyBoysen

It’s very important to read the fine print when choosing colors. Usually, heavily pigmented paint colors need special primers in order for their true colors to push through. We have CP60 yellow primer and CP70 red primer. These two are basically just Boysen Permacoat Flat paint (our most recommended primer for concrete) but tinted accordingly with yellow and red colorants. This creates a better base for certain paint hues. Aside from these special primers, some paint colors need multiple coats in order to achieve the finish instead of the usual two coats. So, don’t forget to check any disclaimers or fine print for your chosen hue.

Some Final Thoughts

Do you have any questions on paints and colors? Send us an email at ask@myboysen.com. We’re always happy to help. And if you’re still looking for color inspirations, don’t forget to browse through the blog and subscribe! We come out almost daily with articles and references for all things paint and colors. Happy painting!


Inah is an avid overplanner with a manic desire to organize everything. She dedicates most of her time and attention to her two chunky dogs, Prince and Peanut. If there's a bit of extra time on hand, she will spring clean her entire house.

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