Consignment Shopping Tip: Measure Color with Paint Samples

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Color matching at furniture consignment stores

Most designers will tell you that while “matchy matchy” works for coordinating hard finishes in your home such as tile and countertops, it’s something to avoid when coordinating furniture.

Look at any beautifully decorated room in a magazine and it is unlikely that you will find matching upholstered living room pieces or matching coffee and end or accent tables.

pinterest living room

Photo Source: Pinterest


Photo Source: Better Homes & Gardens


Photo Source: Better Homes & Gardens

While I love this look of beautiful pieces that have been collected over time, it can be a real challenge to create a cohesive look for any given space when furniture is purchased from different places or at different times.

One thing that I have found extremely helpful when shopping at a consignment store for upholstered pieces,  is to bring along paint swatches that I have used to “measure” the colors of the main upholstered pieces in the room I am adding to.

This is a great tool for a variety of reasons.  Most people do not have accurate color memory and very few have a fabric swatch of the upholstered pieces they have in their home.

Paint swatches can be found at any home improvement store or fan decks can be purchased online from paint manufacturer such as Benjamin Moore, Glidden, Sherwin Williams to name a few. I prefer to use a fan deck, that way I have many colors at hand so it’s extra convenient to find the closest possible match to “measure” the color of my upholstered pieces.

After I’ve found my colors for my existing upholstered pieces, I put the swatches along with the dimensions of my pieces in my design notebook that I take along with me on my consignment shopping trips.   Although I also take photos, I prefer not to rely on them for actual color representation but more for recollections of pattern or print design and scale.

Similarly, if I have a rug or drapes in the room, I will use paint samples to “measure” all the various colors of the rug  and drapes and clip them together, label them, and put them in my notebook.  This way I can make sure I have a perfect representation of all my main pieces in the file while I am shopping for furniture pieces, pillows, accents, etc.  This is so much more convenient than trying to lug around large bulky items while you shop.

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