You walk into the Home improvement store with a swell in your chest knowing you finally picked the perfect paint color.  As you near the paint counter, you wonder where the swatches went? Maybe they moved them? But they are no where to be found.

You were just dropping in, like many times before, on the way home from another errand. You figured you could grab a swatch off the rack and say, “give me a gallon of this.”

Or maybe you just needed one more gallon to finish painting the room. You swing in to pick it up and realize your favorite paint line has been discountinued.

What To Do When You Favorite Paint is Discontinued |

You panic a little. How will you ever choose a different paint color? That one was so perfect. How will you finish that second coat? There is no way you want to start all over.

5 Must-Dos for Your Favorite Paint Colors

My post about Martha Stewart paint being discontinued in 2012 had a recent surge in traffic. It seems the Martha Stewart paint colors at Home Depot are now being discountinued for good.

So what do you do if you are in the middle of a project or you’ve been coveting a few of Martha’s colors?

1.  Get or Save Paint Swatches of Your Favorite Colors

I would say run to the store and grab extra swatches of all your favorites, but they are already gone.

Thankfully I panicked when they discontinued her base paint a couple years ago and grabbed extra swatches of all my favorite colors.  I have a jar full of them in my studio.  For the specific ones we use in our home, I keep them in a paint and fabric swatch book for quick reference.

Paint & Fabric Swatch Book

This morning I grabbed out two swatches to take to the store.  I knew they’d be able to look them up in the computer and mix the paint for me.

I was distracted by kids while telling the guy at the paint counter what I needed.  I turned around to see my paint swatches (yes, the ones you can’t get anymore) DEFACED.  He wrote on the front of them with a jumbo permanent marker.   Whatever you do, don’t let them write on your swatches.  Honestly, I’ve never had anyone at any paint store ever do that before.  But sure enough one of my Facebook fans said the same thing recently happened to her.


Swatches are for you, not the paint store clerk.  Swatches have a barcode on back for the store, but I’ve never seen them actually scan that. They are either searching by paint name or number in their computer database.

2.  Take Note of the Paint Formula

For at least a little while they should still be able to look up the colors from a discontinued collection. For the past couple years they’ve been mixing Martha paints in Glidden (I prefer the Glidden Duo).

The best thing to do is copy down or save the label they put on top of the paint can. That little sticker has the actual paint formula and a barcode. One of my Facebook fans recommended snapping a photo of it with your phone and the store will be able to scan the barcode on the label.


At some point if the paint color info was no longer stored in their computer, they should still be able to recreate the color with the formula. It tells them how much of each pigment to add to the base paint.

3.  Don’t Switch Base Paints

A bigger concern I would have is if the base paint was no longer available. When they originally took away the Martha Stewart base paint, I saw a noticeable difference. Especially since at first the Glidden replacement didn’t come in an eggshell finish.  Thankfully it does now.

I always try to get the exact same base paint, mixing into other brands base paints can make the end result different.

Once I had a Sherwin Williams paint mixed into another brand to save money. It was close, but not an exact match. I wanted the wall color to match the trim painted in the original Sherwin Williams paint. They are close, but not exact.  It bothers me to this day.

I once got lectured by the Home Depot paint lady.  She was extremely offended when I refused to have a Martha Stewart color mixed in Behr paint.  I already started painting the room and wanted an exact match.  That store was out of the right base paint from the Martha Stewart line.  She tried to push us to use Behr.

She thought I was crazy to drive to another store for the paint.  She said that Behr year after year is ranked as the top paint.  Sorry, I think they are a little biased and results must be skewed since it is also the cheapest paint.  If you’ve never used any other kind of paint, I am sure it seems fine.  I know people that swear by it.  Personally I am not a fan of the paint quality.  And I was not convinced the paint would be a match.  I drove to another Home Depot that had the base paint I wanted in stock.

4.  Buy Enough to Finish Plus Extra

Always try to buy all the paint you need for a project at one time, mixed by the same person.  That way you can avoid the scenario I just described above.  And you can have a higher level of certainty all the paint will match.

If you finish a project and you are scraping the bottom of the bucket, run back to the store and get another quart.  You will want it on hand for touchups.

I love how Jen from I Heart Organizing stores and labels her leftover paint.  She has extra of every color used in her home.  She also keeps a detailed record of the paint info and what room they were used in.

5.  Do Everything In Triplicate

Okay, I promise I am not crazy.  But you know when you find a great paint color how monumental that is.  You may want to use it in other rooms in your current home.  You may want to re-use the color in your next home.  So, it is essential to have all the paint information.


It’s not good enough to just know the name.  Or just have the swatch.  Or just hope the store will never discontinue it.

For every color you use in your home, keep a record of the paint name, number, and formula. It is also a good idea to keep a painted sample on hand, even if it is the stir stick you used to mix the paint. It can be used in the color matching machines (although the match might not be exact, it’s better than nothing.)

Goodbye Martha, Hello Ralph

Will Martha appear elsewhere? Maybe. Considering she’s had paint lines at Kmart, Sherwin Williams, and Home Depot, I am sure we will see Martha Stewart paint again.  I remember the landlord of the house I rented in college would let us paint, but only from the Martha Stewart palette at Kmart. No complaints here. One thing is probably certain: wherever the paint line appears next, it most certainly won’t be the same colors.

On the positive side, Ralph Lauren paint is back in store, which I loved and used before they replaced it with Martha. What I’ve always loved about both lines is the restrained palettes. They don’t want to give you every possible color, just the good ones. I have never re-painted over a Ralph Lauren or Martha Stewart color.



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12 Responses to What to Do When They Discontinue Your Favorite Paint

  1. Erin says:

    I’ve used Behr for 10 years and never had any problems. I hear everyone say how much better BM is, and I don’t doubt that it probably feels & looks better. I’m afraid to try it because then I’ll be stuck paying more for paint for the rest of my life! Just like I now refuse to wear anything other than Victoria’s Secret underwear after getting a couple of “free panty” coupons years ago. LOL.

    Also, FWIW, I think the Behr paint & primer in one is a major step up from their normal paints. For anyone who isn’t ready to take the financial leap to BM yet.

    • Jackie says:

      Erin, I have heard the paint in primer in one is a good product. Coverage was always my main issue compared to the other paints. The Glidden Duo paint that they mix the Martha colors in is a paint and primer in one and I love it. No matter what the paint costs, better coverage will result in savings. 2 coats is cheaper than 3. Also, to be totally fair, I have not used a Behr product for at least 5 years. I guess you are right, once we switched to a more premium paint, we haven’t gone back.

    • Kelly says:

      I love Behr too. I’ve tried other fancier brands as well, but honestly never noticed a meaningful difference. But I guess it’s one of those things where when you find something that works, you tend to stick with it. I used it in my previous condo 8-9 ish years ago and was really happy with the coverage (I love super saturated colors) and the longevity. Used it for 3 of the rooms in my current place and still really satisfied.

      • Jackie says:

        Kelly, Isn’t it funny…paint brands are a personal preference thing. So glad you found the brand you love.

  2. Lydia says:

    So, we may bought a house and in the process of picking a color palette I absolutely feel in love with the Martha Stewart star collection, specifically the ones you used in your home. I excitedly went to grab the swatches to see them for myself…. only to learn, of course, that all of those colors are discontinued! Although both Sherwin Williams and Home Depot have already said they can mix the colors for me based on the codes, I’d really like to see the swatches so I can take them to the house and make sure they’re what I want… I love the way they look on your blog, but I know screen colors can be different. I guess my question is: can you recommend similar colors that I can go see? I especially want to see Plumage, Azurite, and Zinc.

    • Jackie says:

      Lydia, The best option is to see if they can mix those colors at Home Depot in the Glidden test pots. It will be less than $3 per color. Then you can paint the colors on a piece of foam core to take with you as samples. Hope that helps. They really are great colors with a lot of subtle nuances, so you won’t find a close match anywhere else.

  3. Kim Beaulieu says:

    We are in the process of redoing my blog room. I picked Martha’s Graceful Gray online only to find out we couldn’t get it here in Canada. We picked another colour but it’s too light. So I thought we could just grab her paint while shopping in the states this week. Thank goodness I found your site. Now I know my efforts are futile. I can’t seem to find a good match for the colour. The blog room is just sitting there in all it’s light greyness, mocking me. Unfortunately I don’t have the chip so I’ll either have to settle for the light grey in there (I’m not good at settling) or find a match. So bummed.

  4. Linda says:

    Do you happen to have a paint chip for the Martha Stewart color “carton”? We have painted our halls and living room that color and need to do some touch ups but don’t have the chip to mix the color. I just need the formula so I can have it matched.

    Thank you.

  5. Adriana says:

    Does anyone have the code for the Martha Stewart shade called chinchilla?

  6. Sybil says:

    I am agonizing over paint color for my living room right now. After bringing home many blue/green swatches and nothing seeming right I got into my swatch drawer (where I toss them when done) and found what looks good and wouldn’t you know it’s the discontinued Martha Stewart River Mist from Home Depot. First try at matching seems slightly off/bluer…though the sheen of the match (satin) might be throwing it off a bit too. Maybe I will try another paint brand.

  7. Rosie says:

    I love your site. I am a former display coor. and have recently been purging my things. I am going thru my antique and vintage laces and linens and it is not going well. I can’t part with enough to fit in one cabinet.

    I talked to my guys at TruValue and he said they can call a number and get any paint color code if you have the name of the paint even if it was
    discontinued long ago.

  8. kendra says:

    This is happening to me now and I am panicking! Like you said spend so much time picking out the color and moved so left it all behind – now I want to paint my room enamelware by MS and I can’t find that code from the top of the can anywhere!!! Any tips ???

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