What Are Color Swatches?

color-swatches Credit: David Crunelle / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

Color swatches are small cardboard squares with different paint colors on them, also known as paint chips. They allow people to compare the swatches to decorative items and interior spaces to be sure they are choosing the right color.

One of the reasons people use color swatches instead of simply trusting the color on the paint can is that the colors often look slightly different when inside or outside the home. Different surfaces of a home can affect the hue or tone of a color. Another reason is that it allows people to put different swatches together to see how they look.

There are also fabric color swatches. For example, a furniture store may have color swatches for its different fabrics if it provides custom furniture options. Stores selling paint or fabric furniture are the best places to find color swatches. Paint manufacturers also provide different sample color swatches.

Color paint swatches are helpful when trying to obtain custom paint colors. The hardware store can mix the different color options and put them on individual cardboard squares. This lets people know if the colors are right and allows them to bring the swatches home to be sure they blend well with the other interior colors.