If we had to name the best thing in our design arsenal it wouldn't be having our Pantone Book memorized, or knowing the name and year of every piece of furniture.
So what's the one trick that helps us more than anything else? Click through the jump to find out!
One of the best tricks we have found when designing our living space is proportion. Most of our truly great furniture finds have come from random places while we were out and about... not from when we have "left the house determined to buy a sofa."
Say you are out at a flea market and you come across an amazing French Provincial couch that you think would be the best thing since sliced bread in your living room. You drag it home, wrangle it through the door frame, scoot everything out of the way... only to find out that it's really 3 inches taller than it should be, or 4 inches deeper than it needs to be, or one shade greener than it can be to work with your room.
So you're stuck selling it on Craigslist, or in the paper, before you can find another one. And then the whole process starts all over again.
Because we've found the best inspiration for our homes is usually found in unsuspecting places, one of the things that has helped us most is to have our house in our back pocket (figuratively of course).
We have taken card stock and adhered color swatches and floor plans to them. A jump ring keeps them all together, so when we want to know how big our entertainment center really is... it's all right there.
By having this on hand, be it in the glovebox of your car, your purse, man bag... whatever the case may be, it can save you a ridiculous amount of headache and second guessing.
You will want to include basic information like the size and layout of your rooms, color choices (fabric swatches are perfect for this!) and sizes of existing pieces of furniture.
Other things that might be helpful are window heights (in case you are curtain shopping), height from the floor to the bottom of your window (in case you need something low to fit under it), and the location of your electrical outlets and floor vents (which are things we rarely think about, but end up being a pain later on).
Don't worry if they are hand drawn, they are only reminders of what's back at home, although if you want to wow the sales associates, feel free to Photoshop until your heart's content.
You can also laminate your layouts so they are spill resistant, although a note of caution, the color scanners at the hardware stores, are unable to mix paint accurately if they have a coating on them. If you would like that extra layer of protection, consider putting your paint chip on the ring lose so it's able to be used when needs be.
All of these things are nice to have on hand, so when you find "the perfect piece" you will know before you get it home if it will really work in your space.