When diving into a home decor project, organization is the key to prevent feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. 

When diving into a home decor project, organization is the key to prevent feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. 

Paint Chips and Fabric Swatches

Whether you are decorating a room or an entire house, it can quickly become confusing trying to remember the paint colors and fabrics you've chosen to give your home its unique appeal. Because I am really into mixing patterns, colors and styles, I have a lot to remember. Although I did once order a room’s worth of carpet by matching a splatter of paint on my shoe to the sample in the store, and it worked beautifully, I’m not quite that brave these days. As such, I’ve created a little system that helps me organize all the bits and pieces that go into each room’s design so I can reference them on the run. Too many times I’ve been out shopping and seen an accessory, pillow or throw might work,then hesitated, because if I purchased it and it didn't work, I'd have to mess around making a return.

 You can see by the shape these paint chips are in, they have been used many times!

You can see by the shape these paint chips are in, they have been used many times!

Chips

You've waded through a myriad of colors (talk about 50 shades of grey)  held them up in the sunlight, studied them under a lamp, tossed them casually onto the furniture. You've stared at them for more time than you feel comfortable admitting. After narrowing it down to three colors, you've queried every relative and neighbor who will still venture an opinion. You've pounced on the unsuspecting mail carrier and that unfortunate guy selling replacement windows. Your  husband has refused to discuss it anymore - Just pick something already! 

Finally you have made your decision! Congratulations! After you decide, stock up on about a half dozen chips of your chosen color(s). Those little paint chips arrayed so beautifully in a tempting rainbow of possibilities at your favorite  paint store are very valuable. First, they are free (yay!) and they contain a wealth of information. In addition to the name and number on the front, there is info on the back. Immediately note on each chip: 1) sheen – satin, eggshell, semi-gloss, interior or exterior, etc., 2) brand – Valspar, Sherwin Williams, HGTVHOME, Behr, etc., 3) formulation – Signature, Ovation, etc., and 4) the room(s) or exterior space where each will be used. We applied Paper Kraft throughout our home on walls, baseboards, doors and cabinetry, and other trim, however we used satin sheen on the walls and interior semi-gloss on woodwork. Another hint: take a Sharpie and write on the lid and side of each paint can what it holds in case paint gets dripped over the printed out label on the lid and the name on the can wrapper. When you run out of paint, impress them at the paint counter when you whip out your chip with all the info already on it.

 Wallpaper and fabric swatches are often repeated room to room. 

Wallpaper and fabric swatches are often repeated room to room. 

Swatches

If possible, get small fabric samples of each room’s upholstery, wallpaper (I know, I know everyone hates wallpaper but me), throw pillows, window treatments, etc.  If you are installing cabinetry, countertops, siding, doors, etc., almost all of them will have samples, too. While they are often not an exact match, they help when you are out and about.

I’ve found that rather than buy expensive throw pillows and seat cushions to match furniture, it is often less expensive to purchase decorator fabricfrom the furniture manufacturer and have the items made by a professional seamstress. I don't mind sewing, but I also know just how far my talents reach - not very. It just so happens we have a someone who is very talented and does a wonderful job right here in Defiance. friend Beth at X-Press Sewing.

Now you have all your little bits and pieces of priceless info – put them together by room. I’m sure there are all kinds of really nice little notebooks and binders that are available for purchase. When in the middle of a redo, I just want to get stuff organized and also use something I already have on hand. Plus, I like cutting and pasting and making things. So, it’s not only an organization tool, it’s a craft project. I had a nice little tin that held notecards, so I traced around it and cut my own pages out of cardstock, punched holes in them and put them together with small loose-leaf rings. On a larger ring, I loaded all the paint colors and hard surface samples, making it easy to toss into my purse. If I had the time, I would redo everything and cut everything to uniform size and put my labeler to work, but I still have projects to tend to and don't have time. 

 Putting paint chips and fabric samples together also helps keep your color scheme flowing from room to room. 

Putting paint chips and fabric samples together also helps keep your color scheme flowing from room to room. 

 A little stationary tim holds what I need neatly. If I don't have time to label items or work on a page, I just toss them in for later. 

A little stationary tim holds what I need neatly. If I don't have time to label items or work on a page, I just toss them in for later.