Photos of Your Room
Even if you can't stand how your room looks now, take some "before" pictures. Get all the angles and details. These will be helpful when you're working on your plan or when you need to talk to a salesperson about your project. They'll help remind you of details as you're working.
As you proceed with your project, you'll undoubtedly have schedules to keep. Note when the floors will be measured for carpet, when the plumber is coming, or when you have a date with the painter. You can use your personal daily planner if you have one or keep one separate just for your decorating projects. Just be sure to have it with you!
Magazines are a great source of decorating inspiration. If you see a color you like, a fabric print that is just what you love, or an arrangement of accessories that would work in your space, tear the page out and keep it in your Decorating File. Find pictures with ideas you can incorporate into your own decorating project. Get helpful hints on how to make the most of what decorating magazines have to offer in the article, "How to Read Decorating Magazines". You can also get great ideas from decorating books, but don't tear the pages out!
Samples of Fabrics, Colors, and Flooring
As you shop, you'll want to collect samples of carpet, tiles, flooring, fabrics, and paint chips. The more you have in your Decorating File, the easier it will be to put your project together when you get home. Add more samples with every shopping trip.
You may not be replacing everything in the room you're decorating. Be sure to take a sample of anything that is staying in your room, including carpeting, upholstery fabric, paint samples, tile, or wood. For an upholstered piece, it's ideal if you have a piece of the fabric. If not, take an arm cover or cover of a pillow. If you just don't have a suitable piece of fabric to include in your Decorating File, try to get a good color picture of the pieces you'll be saving.
An 8" square of carpet will fit in your tote. If there's just no extra carpet, trim off some tufts of carpet fiber from an inconspicuous place and tape it to a piece of cardboard for your Decorating File.
As you decide on your decorating scheme, you'll put together all the elements, first in your mind, then in your Decorating File. Coordinate fabrics with paint and paint with flooring by testing combinations of samples you've collected. Or use the resources of professionals who have put together collections of fabrics, colors, and wall coverings for companies such as Waverly.
Once you get a Decorating File organized, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it. This file will hold all the information you collect to get a decorating project put together.