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How do I match the color of leather or vinyl?

Video contents:

  • 0:14 – Which color are you matching? Example of how leather fades
  • 0:28 – Comparison of our stock colors to the original and faded leather
  • 1:00 – Example of base-and-print finish
  • 1:29 – Example of multi-toned, distressed, or antiqued finish
  • 1:55 – Example of our Color Analysis service
  • 2:15 – How to find a sample to send for matching
  • 2:53 – Mailing address

An approximate match can be obtained by comparing color chips or swatches of leather-vinyl-specific finishes to the upholstery. Purchase swatches of our colors here.

For an exact match, colors must be formulated and tested directly on the upholstery. Local artisans can match the color, repair, and restore the item(s), but the cost can range anywhere from US$200 – US$2000, depending on the scope of the project. Alternatively, you can mail a sample (like a cushion case, head rest, or piece of material) to a professional service like Rub ‘n Restore, Inc. to DIY. Learn about our color matching services.

Consider these factors in matching your color:

  • Every manufacturer has their own version of mahogany or ivory, for example. Don’t assume the color will match because the name is the same. 
  • Colors display differently on screens and devices. Do not accept a color matched from an image.
  • Do you need an exact match to touch-up a small area? Or does the whole piece need refinishing, in which case a similar but inexact color will suffice?
  • Swatches hidden under cushions or trimmed from the frame sometimes do not match undamaged, visible areas. In this case, a color formulated to match the swatch won’t match the greater piece. This means you may have to recolor the entire piece and might consider a standard color that incurs no matching fee.

Rub ‘n Restore, Inc. can match your color if you provide a sample and pay a fee. First, consider submitting a Project Evaluation to help us assess your needs. 

Starter Color Analysis

This is the affordable color matching solution. We determine which colors and ratios best match your swatch. This allows you to buy as little as 2 oz. sizes and mix your own color. If we can’t get a good match with our off-the-shelf colors, we will suggest upgrading to the Advanced Matching & Custom Color service.

Purchase Starter Color Analysis

Or include a check with your swatch. We’ll contact you with the analysis results within 1-2 business days after receipt.

Colors and Clear Prep+Finish™ are sold separately. Please note that there may be a slight variation between our analysis and your results after mixing larger volumes of color. That being said, the color blends easily, and most folks are thrilled with the results. Just look at the reviews!

Advanced Matching & Custom Color

Custom Colors are recommended for bright primary or secondary colors, auto, RV, boat, and aircraft interiors. We formulate a unique color and keep a record of it on file. Turnaround time is 1-2 business days.

Start Your Custom Color

Our formulation process starts with mixing a small amount of color and testing it on your sample. We examine it in sunlight and indoors. We adjust the color accordingly and re-examine until we are content with the formula. This is a painstaking process done with a professional eye. No computer can read the color on a textured surface nor write a formula as accurately, and certainly not without human refinement. This is especially true with base-and-print or marbled aniline leathers.

We then expand the formula to the desired volume. This final color is tested once more on the original sample and adjusted if necessary. We then use the Custom Color to stain a piece of leather or vinyl. Half is returned to you with your order (and any components you may have sent); the other is retained on file in the event of a future re-order.

Our reviews and this video show how pleased others have been with this service.

Disclaimer

Swatches often do not resemble their faded counterparts. If so, neither will our mix, and you may have to recolor the entire piece. In this instance, you may prefer going with a less expensive stock option.

These are DIY products. Half the magic is in the application process. Our products are easy to use and forgiving but require some creativity and experimentation on your part.

Most samples that we receive are base-and-print or multi-toned. We mix a single color that your eye reads as a match from a short distance. You can choose to work with a single color or two, but replicating the appearance of the original material is up to you.

Return Policy

Matching fees are non-refundable. We cannot accept returns on Custom Colors unless we find fault in the product or match to the sample provided. Please read our return policy.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Randy Bradley says

    I have a Bradington-Young Capital Brown Chippendale Leather manual recliner. Could you recommend one of your color restorers. The chair is a dark brown or chocolate color and the seating areas have faded after just two years of use.

    • lesandre says

      Mahogany & Espresso are our darkest browns. Tobacco and Walnut are a step up from those. All our colors can be mixed to create your own.

  2. Cheri Harris says

    Hi there,

    I think your product might work for me. I have almost new vinyl couch cushions that are stained by people wearing suntan lotion and is rubbing into the vinyl. I would like to try and match the existing tan color but do not have an actual piece of the vinyl to send to you. What is the best way for me to match the color before I purchase the product?

    Thank you,
    Cheri

  3. diane says

    Hi I have purchased a dark red leather wing chair I would like more of a burgundy tuscan red color Can I mix burgundy with some cherrywood to get color I want . What would be ratio? Your burgundy color a bit too blue need to be somewhat warmer. Any suggestions? I think Mahogany too dark ?

  4. Margaret Heekin says

    I got brown h as it dye on a blue leather couch.
    Incredibly stupid.
    Trying to save money..
    Yeah right.
    Help me please

  5. Carole Metcalf says

    i bought rub n restore off of Pinterest didnt realize i needed to purchase a color with it. I thought i could rub the clear on my sun faded couch and it would be ok like the video said. Can i try that and then put color over that if i dont like the look? thank u

    • lesandre says

      Yep! The Clear Prep+Finish™ acts as a primer on rough or worn leather too. It won’t correct sunfading (loss of pigment), but you’re fine adding color later.

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The Knowledge Hub is a library of articles and videos complied to help our customers complete their DIY leather and vinyl restoration projects.