home decor samples - part two

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30 Day Challenge
Day Twenty: Your Home Decor Samples
Part Two

This is Part Two of Organize your Home Decor Samples.  If you haven't seen Part One, Yesterday's assignment, I suggest you check it out before you proceed to Part Two.

Have you ever wondered how designers seem to always pick the right paint color, the right fabric, the right rug ... the right… well, everything? It all just seems so effortless – it seems to fall together so nicely, just like magic. Well, I'm going to let you in on a little professional secret (well, maybe not a secret anymore, if you watch HGTV or any of the other DIY channels)... ok, I'm going to teach you how to tackle the secret - concept boards.

Concept Boards are the cheat sheets of the design world. Anything and everything that goes into a room can basically go onto a concept board. Now, I know, you might not be designing a whole room from scratch or a whole house from the ground up… but as a homeowner, I recommend that you should have a ‘variation’ of the concept board for your home d├ęcor samples. Whether it’s a box of samples, a notebook of photos, or a computer file of dream home link shortcuts … we all have some sort of “concept board” already started.

With Part One complete, we are now ready to fill our "concept board'.  Items to consider adding:

Whether you are designing a complete home or just a room or two, a miniature floor plan of the room(s), along with the room’s measurements, window and door placements, existing furniture pieces and suggestions for future purchases, will come in very helpful. The above is a computer generated floor plan, but you can easily use your existing blueprints (a printer can get you a smaller scale copy) of your home or a simple hand sketched layout (to scale) of each room. Then file the floor plan of each room in its coordinating folder section (see Part One)

Next Up - Your Organized Paint Colors - this one's easy, right? We completed this task here. 

What else is in the room? Start adding photos, computer printouts (i.e. tear sheets) or lists of existing pieces and ‘dream’ pieces for your room’s concept. By existing pieces, I'm not only referring to upholstered and hard surface furniture, you will need to include rugs, draperies, etc. in the file. Remember, we want it all to coordinate.

It's easy to find photos (even with measurements) of your pieces on-line or you can take a snapshot of your piece and write the measurements on the reverse side.

Existing Upholstered Pieces

Hard Surface Pieces

Pieces in need of re-upholstery or slipcovers

Dream or Wish List Pieces


Hardwood Flooring, Trim, Cabinetry Stain: these can easy be picked up at your local hardware store or you can ask your finisher for a sample

Fabric Swatches: these can be photographed or trimmed from the underside seams of most pieces or most fabric stores are willing to give you a sample of a material for your reference

Carpet Colors, Weave and Patterns: most carpet stores will give you a sample of a floor covering for your reference or when carpet is installed, there is always overage, trim a piece then for your file

Rug Colors and Patterns: find your area rug on-line and print-out a tear sheet for your file

Throw Pillows: use them for color or fabric selections. You could even throw one in your car when you go shopping. I have been carrying a throw pillow from one of my guestrooms’ bedding with me to try to match over-the-counter draperies to the bedding (no success thus far but the pillow is small and not in the way, really)

Tiles: when tile is installed, there is always overage. Grab a full or partial piece of the tile for your file

Lighting: you can find just about any light source on-line from overhead lighting, to task lighting, to mood lighting... print out a tear sheet for your file

Now, there is always a possibility that you don't have a photo or a sample or even an idea of what you want... but you KNOW what you like at home.... well, file it!

Maybe it's...

A Favorite Napkin: you love the color, the fabric, the weave

A Favorite Scarf: the color, the fabric, the pattern

A Favorite Magazine Clipping: you KNOW you want this room someday... so, you might run across a piece here and there while you are out and about shopping now. 

...so on ...and so on.

Anyway, we all could use samples of our decor for one reason or another and the BEST way to keep these samples is .... yep, you guessed it... ORGANIZED!  It's impossible to find what you need when you need it if you can't get your hands on it easily, right?

Your Assignment for Day Twenty:

Collect all your photos, magazine clippings, fabric samples, paint chips, etc. and get organized.
  • Do you still want to keep them ?
  • How long have you been holding on to these?
  • Have your tastes changed?
  • What room do they fit in?
Once you have your collection at a workable size, get your accordion folder and sections labeled (Part One), and start your own 'concept board' for easy future shopping trip references.