Why Color Swatches are so Important


Color swatches help you learn which colors will work well in different parts of the house, both inside and out. Interior colors can be particularly difficult to choose because you have to take into account different times of day casting different light levels on indoor spaces, not to mention the décor and furniture you already have in the room. But both indoor and outdoor spaces need to be sampled carefully before committing to a particular color.

What is a Color Swatch?

Before we go any further, let’s define color swatch. There are actually a few ways to test paint colors for your indoor or outdoor surfaces. One way is to paint a small area of your wall one of the colors you’re selected and see how it looks. You can even paint the same small area a few colors to compare them, match them, and play with different combinations.

There are problems with this swatch, however. You’ll likely be faced with a conundrum: do you hide your swatch in a shady, out-of-the-way spot, a darkened hallway? You have to make sure that the color you buy will work in the room of your choice in any light, at any time of day, but you don’t want patches of random colors all over your house, either.

Getting a Color Swatch

Starting from a paint chip scrap book, choose color suggestions for different colors of drapes, curtains, and furniture. Once you have a wide selection of paint chips to choose from, you can go to work. Set aside the chips that match your interior or exterior space first, and go from there.

Back to your swatch controversy. Get a stack of one-foot by one-foot poster boards, and, using a smaller sample paint can from the hardware or paint store, paint the poster board and hold them up to the wall in different areas of the house, so that you can test the colors in different parts of the house and against different objects.

Using Your Color Swatches

Once you have painted your poster boards, which will show you what the paint looks like when dried, you should test your different colors in different situations and different areas of the house.

You should view your swatches at eye-level individually first, to get a baseline comparison of your options. Then view them side-by-side, to see which complement each other and to learn which combinations you like the most. Hold the swatches up on all four walls, compare it to the carpeting or flooring, and view them under natural and artificial light to learn as much as you can about your color options as possible. Make sure to test your swatches at different times of day, too.


Color swatches give you a realistic preview of what your space could look like with your selected paint colors. You can talk to all the painting and color experts in the world, but until you see what your space could look like yourself, you won’t make the right decision. Color swatches are the way to do this.

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