I'm currently looking at the following site and would like the same thing.
If you click the blue velvet cushion or the purple velvet one, you will see that it gives you an option to select one of the other colours from within the item.
Now I set up a configurable product and set the scope to global for each of the simple products as well as the variable.
My web designer has set it up so when you open the configurable product, you see the thumbnails for all the simple products within it.
However I want the individual coloured simple products to show when browsing (just as if you had clicked on a configurable product). But on my site, when you click the blue item, it wont show you an option to select a different colour.
I want it to behave so when you click the 'blue' simple product, you still see the other available colour like purple, green etc and the buyer has the ability to easily choose another one in the same product line.
The designer has proposed that I create multiple configurable products to go with each simple one. So if I had a cushion that comes in blue, purple and green, then I would set up a configurable one with the name 'Blue Cushion' with the primary picture of the blue and then put all three simple products within it. I would then create the same for the other colours so I would have 3 configurable products to go with the three simple products, just for the sake of easy colour selection.
Is this the best way of going about it or is there a better way?
Have you managed to find an answer to this question?
You can add an ability to select colors right on product pages, this extension supports the mentioned functionality https://www.magentocommerce.com/magento-connect/color-swatches-pro-by-amasty.html
please check out the following module, might solve your issue
I have a need for the same setup. Is there a solution? The previous posts are just color swatches for standard configurable products.