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The question

We need to touch up a few spots on our wall where a small drywall repair was made. We really love the paint colour (chosen by the people we bought the house from) but we can't buy more because we don't know its name. Is there a colour-matching system that actually works?

The answer

Various paint companies have colour-matching systems that work, but the real issue is time, which can be as cruel to paint as it is to our skin, fading it, drying it up and making it difficult to patch. (Sound familiar?)

So go big, remove a piece of the wall and bring it to your paint store to match perfectly. Then, to create a truly blank canvas, prime the wall white before you paint it, because the underlying coat can affect the end result. Of course, the whole thing is easier if the previous owners left the old paint cans and easier still if you call a painter. Then sit and watch Something's Gotta Give, drool over its interiors' perfect shades of white and let a pro figure it out.

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace on Twitter: @ddtaylorddd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail