You’ve probably watched a home show on HGTV where an interior designer is making a presentation to the client with samples of all the pretty pretty project materials laid out in a picture frame and looking schmancy. Makes you want a beautiful room like that, doesn’t it?
In design-speak those are called color boards, and they’re invaluable for visualizing exactly how the space is going to look and feel when it’s done. They tell a story about the room’s style and color and mood.
Here’s a photo of a full-on color board I did recently for a client who was building a new house. It shows the flooring, cabinets, granite countertops, tile, lighting and plumbing fixtures, and paint colors all in one fell swoop. You can see that every item coordinates with every other item, and that they all play well together. :-D
Photo by Me (which probably explains why it's a little blurry!)
If you’re planning any sort of design project for your home, no matter what size, I highly recommend that you create a color board for yourself before you purchase ANYTHING. And definitely before you demo!
And NO, it doesn’t have to be all fancy and framed and gorgeous. The important thing is seeing everything all at once so you can tell what’s working and what isn’t. Then you can throw out the bad eggs and find a better option.
There are other easier and less expensive ways to make a design color board for your project than the time consuming, professional framed thing, and you don’t have to be a “rocket designer” to do it!
Here are a few options for you:
Create a digital color board
If you enjoy playing around on your computer, you can use any kind of design software you might have, (or even Word if that’s all you’ve got), to pull pictures of your items off the internet and put them all together on one page.
Here’s a digital color board I did for a client who needed some design suggestions for a couple bathrooms in their home. Can you see the style story here? Rustic and woodsy and warm. And you can tell from the photos that the tile goes with the vanity that goes with the light fixture.
Ever heard of a little site called Pinterest?
If computer design isn’t your cup of coffee, and you want something easier, try using a Pinterest board to create a virtual story. I do this for ALL my client projects because I can save ideas and items I find online in one convenient place. Then I can go view all the products at a glance and decide whether that rug is going to go with that sofa, etc.
And the other great thing about Pinterest is that the photos link to the websites whenever I’m ready to purchase. Easy peasy! (Don’t have a Pinterest account yet? Watch out, it’s highly addictive!)
Here’s a snap shot of one of my client boards on Pinterest, and again, you can see the style we were going for and how well the items work together.
A simple pile of stuff
The absolute easiest, down and dirty, but also very effective way of creating a "color board" is just to take all the samples you’ve gathered from here and there, lay them out on the floor or on a table and take a gander.
Here’s MY pile of stuff all laid out before I made the official, woo hoo, color board I showed you earlier. I could have stopped here if I had wanted because it was enough to know that the plan had come together. (This is AFTER I had re-selected the tile TWICE to get just the right color.)
If the colors look a little wonky, and you're wondering "What was she THINKING?" - - I blame the camera!)
The way you choose to do YOUR color board isn’t the important thing - - the important thing is to take everything into consideration as a whole. Then you can correct something that isn’t working before you make an expensive mistake. And you’ll know for sure, before you start, that your room is going to look UH-MAZING when you finish.
So what do you think of color boards now? Think you'll try it out when you're ready for your next project? Leave me a comment below!