As you are starting a decorating project you may become overwhelmed by all the choices available to you. Do like the pros do avoid costly mistakes by staying organized with a decorating notebook. This can be used for your entire house or for one specific project.
Begin with purchasing a 3 ring binder, some dividers with tabs, lined paper, graphpaper and plastic sleeves. Start out by organizing your notebook as follows
- Room measurements: Using the graphpaper draw out your room to scale (one quarter inch = one foot). Record the measurements of each wall, doorway and window.
- Window masurements: Label and measure each windows dimensions. Starting to the left when you walk in a room, always measure and number your windows clockwise around the room so there is never any question which is which. Print the window measurement form and use it for each window.
- Photos of each room: Staple actual photos to a page or use photo copies. Take a photo of your area rugs, artwork or any piece of furniture that you may need to match.
- Samples and swatches: Keep your paint samples and fabric swatches either stapled to a page or inside plastic sleeves. When upholstery shopping, ask the salesperson if its possible to get a swatch that you can keep for your records. Sometimes they can send for a 4×4 sample.
- Magazine pages: Tear out pages that inspire you and keep them in the notebook. As you are flipping through a home decorating magazine you may find a wall color or a window treatment that you like tear it out!
- Tear sheets: While furniture shopping, ask the salesperson for tear sheets on the products you are considering. These will usually have furniture dimensions and a photo. If not, ask them to give you a photo copy from the catalog. If all else fails take a picture and the measurements yourself.
- Quotes: Keeping all your quotes organized will help you when it comes time for budgeting.
- Notes: Extra paper will come in handy for writing notes. You will not remember everything in your travels.
- Contacts: A separate page for business cards of sales people and contractors will come in handy when you have questions or are ready to make decisions.
- Receipts and warrantees: you will never be digging through draws looking for a warrantee information if you have it in your notebook.
Its best to organize the notebook by room and use the plastic sleeves to protect the pages. Keep it in your car so you have it handy. You will find it so much easier to manage your project if you have all the information right at your finger tips. A pocket calculator, a seamstress tape and a digital camera are great tools to carry along with you. A calendar will help you track sales, installations, deliveries and appointments. Once your project is complete, take after photos and keep them in your notebook. This notebook now becomes your decorating bible. Keep in a safe place and refer to it when you need it.