Before starting a project, it is always a better feeling to make sure your new decoration plan has been thought through. How can you possibly know from a small sample of paint (sometimes even smaller than a mail-stamp!) or a small scrap of fabric how the walls or your curtains would look like in your room? Let me give you some tools and ideas to help you visualize your project better.
Placing furniture and decoration items
The good old measuring and masking tape method: A masking tape outline on the floor to mark the position the furniture and items give you an idea of the remaining space and walkways. If you are thinking of hanging some pictures on the walls, especially a large one, it is really helpful to outline the picture frame on the wall with masking tape to check the ideal size that would match your décor.
Check the paint color/tone
Obtain canvas or hardboard panels at least 60x60cm (23×23 inches) and a sample pot of your paint, plus a paint brush or roller. Paint a panel and once the paint is completely dry, you can easily place these panels at different room locations and under different lighting conditions.
At your fabric shop always ask for small and big samples. Often fabric editors would request a deposit if you want to borrow a big sample. For some big projects, customers would even buy 1 or 3 meters (40 to 120 inches) of fabrics. You can then check how the color and texture of the fabrics fits to your painted walls. It is also very helpful for now and for your future projects to keep the small sample.
For fabrics in general, especially for fabrics with natural fibers: there can always be a slight color difference between the sample and the fabric you could finally receive. Therefore if you already know how much fabric you need, request a sample from the roll of fabric that would be used for your project. You don’t want to have different pieces of fabrics coming from different batches.
It’s difficult to get a sample from the exact leather/skin you would end up receiving. Each animal and hide are different and so will be the texture of the leather. So it could happen that you see differences between your sample and the final upholstered armchair. If you have your old armchair being upholstered by a professional, tell the upholsterer that you want to see the piece of the skin before it is cut.
Here as well request a big sample or borrow at least the book of wallpaper samples. If you order the wallpaper at a reputable shop, they know that they have to order rolls from the same batch. If you have some doubts check this on the rolls before opening them, there should be a batch number on each roll.
Tiles, carpet and other materials
Request samples! When you see a tile in a shop without having had the chance to get a sample to check it in the room… you might later have a shock. Keep a sample and compare it when the tile work is started and until the work is completed! I know so many people who ended up with tiles of a different tone… sometimes writing down the reference number isn’t enough. If you’re using a professional to carpet the room, he will be able to provide you with a big sample for comparison.
Create a board
Take a tray or a hardboard panel. Use all the samples, pictures and photos of the items you have decided on. Display them and take a photo of the outcome! As I often mention, taking a picture of what you see “live” is at the end, very helpful to check your result from a different angle to make sure everything is fine.
The “craft-based” visualization is more emotional and sensory than using electronic design.
If you have a big project and plan on changing a lot of items, it might take some time to do all of this, however at the end of the day it’s a big investment and the result should be a timeless and beautiful place. I highly recommend not to neglect this last step, on to Part 2 now.