Something we are passionate about but feel doesn’t get enough air time is the fact that finish samples are crucial for any home project!!! Whether you are an interior designer or a DIYer, you should be using samples to check your design decisions at every move. We use samples all the time, and so do all of our designer friends, so no matter who you are and what your experience level is, use samples to your advantage.

It can be extremely hard to determine how different finishes or fabrics will go together without seeing them in person, especially if you are looking at the finishes on a computer screen. Different screens show color differently, and sometimes products are not photographed well for online photos, skewing how it looks online. There have been so many times we have selected a rug for a project online, only to receive the sample and be surprised by its color in real life! It’s also important to see finishes in your home because the paint color you are selecting might look different depending on the lighting in each room!

Thankfully, samples are fairly easy to get these days, so there really isn’t a good reason not to get samples. Whether it is a paint color, counter, tile, flooring, sofa, or rug, you should be able to get a sample if you are buying from a reputable source. Especially for construction finishes, there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to get a sample, which is great because those decisions are longer lasting than furniture selections!

For furniture items, major retailers like Ballard Design and Crate and Barrel have started to offer swatches that you can order online so you can see item finishes and colors in person. For other retailers that might not have samples, like Target for example, go to the store in person to see items on the floor! In the past, we’ve even ordered small 2’x3′ and runner-sized rugs when a sample size wasn’t available so we could see a rug in person, so that is another option if you are desperate for a sample.

It’s also fun to see the story of a room before it’s come to fruition through samples. You can always catch the vibe of space through the grouping of samples, and often it helps determine if something is an outlier and feels “off” in a room. Seeing fabrics and rugs with your wall color and flooring finish really helps determine if the grey fabric on the sofa will look right with the blue color of the rug because it all informs each other.

If you need any advice on ordering samples, let us know, and the next time you are starting a home project remember to order samples!