I recently received this question from Shelley, asking how useful it would be to custom mix a paint colour to get it right with the light in her home.
“I’ve recently used BM Manchester Tan in a pantry that has a large fluorescent light fixture, and it looks lovely — right at the happy intersection of warm and cool. But in our front entry and hallway (which are criminally devoid of any shred of natural light), Manchester Tan is looking yellow and muddy (as in actual, physical mud). It feels like being inside a brown cardboard box. And it still feels that way after we put brighter LED lights into the small overhead light fixture. (FYI, this a basic 80’s house with standard low ceilings.)So I’m trying to figure out if using a diluted version of Manchester Tan would be the solution: preserving the coordination of tones in the adjoining spaces, while feeling a tad fresher/cleaner.My key question is whether this can be done with neutrals — such as your recommended green-beiges and green-grays — and what kind of color effect you might end up with.
Is trying [a] lightening technique splitting hairs [and] too much in the effort to find the perfect wall color?I’m presuming that the undertones would remain the same, but are there ways in which such a technique could go wrong?” Shelley F.
“I did it once (before my True Colour Expert™ Training) only because the sample on the wall was “too bright” and in my ignorance thought that half strength would fix the problem. Of course it didn’t, I just didn’t understand how paint color worked.”“I did this only twice before the True Colour Expert™ course, but not since. I easily find the right colour now, never second guess or feel the colour I choose needs to be altered.”“Never. Actually I refuse to do this for customers because it is a total crap shoot.”“I have done it occasionally, but the outcome is unpredictable. Definitely not an ideal solution.”“I used to, [sometimes] ordering 1/2 or even 3/4 [strength] formula! It was mostly because the color was too clean and I thought lightening it would be the solution. I also just didn’t know the colors or what they looked like up, so if I wanted say a light cream I would order 1/2 strength of something like Pale Almond instead of just getting Ivory White. The big samples help immensely! I haven’t asked for anything custom like that in a long time.”“I own a Benjamin Moore store and whenever someone asks for 50% lighter or whatever, I always try to talk them out of it. While the ratio of colourant going in is the same you really don’t know what you’re going to get.”
“I tried to do it recently but it didn’t work out. I needed a lighter version of Coventry Gray for part of a Victorian exterior so we tried a half tint of it — didn’t work. It was still too dark and the undertone shifted so I abandoned the idea. Will likely try to stay away from customizing colors as much as possible.”