Posted by: thebellalife | July 28, 2009

Creating A Design Notebook

Have you ever wondered what to do with the decorating ideas that you’ve been collecting? Or if starting a new design project- how do you organize your décor selections?



What do I do with all of this?

What do I do with all of this?


Over the years, I’ve come up with an easy way to organize all of the design projects that I’ve done. Determine how big the project. Most times I do one notebook per BIG project. If I have several small design projects I put them in just one notebook .


Choose Something Fun!

Choose Something Fun!


Choose something beautiful!

Choose Something Beautiful!


So how about putting together your very own personalized DESIGN NOTEBOOK?  Not only is it easy to carry around when you are shopping but it’s easily stored away when not in use. So here’s what you need:


1- 3 Ring Binder (I suggest you use one that’s at least 2” wide)

Step One:  Find a 3 ring-binder that reflects you or your project. Be creative and find one that’s crazy and wild. I sometimes color coordinate it to the room that I am decorating. When I have several projects going at one time I assign a different color to each project. Make sure that the notebook is easy to spot and difficult to lose with plenty of “growing” room.


1- Pencil Pouch

Step Two: Get a pencil pouch that’s durable and oversized. Place it in the front of your notebook. Put pencils (or your writing tool of choice) index cards, over-sized paper clips or small stapler, and a small tape measure inside. Feel free to add any other supplies that you might need. I’ve found it’s best to leave some extra room in the pouch in case I need to use it for holding small samples I collect on shopping trips.


Pencils or other writing tools

Index Cards

Oversized Paper Clips or Small Stapler

Small Tape Measure



Step Three: Take all of the items you’ve started collecting-pictures of your project areas, paint samples, fabric swatches, ideas from magazines- and divide them up by Décor categories or rooms.





1 or 2 Packages of Extra Wide Pocket Dividers

Step Four: Using a labeler-label each pocket divider according to the items you’ve divided up. If you don’t have time to do the next step, I suggest that you place each Décor category or room into the coordinating pocket.





1-Package of Page Protectors and Cardstock

Step Five:   

Take pictures of the area or room that you are decorating. Attach them to cardstock if necessary. Do the same with all the samples of paint, wallpaper or fabric swatches for your project. Write measurements and important information directly onto the page by the sample. Place inside a page protector. (See examples at end of post.)

Cardstock for mounting


It’s important to put pictures of the areas/rooms you are decorating on the first page of each section.    

My Hallway Project

My Hallway Project

Then add all the samples of paint, wallpaper and fabric.

 Paint samples, wallpaper or fabric swatches can be incorporated onto the pages that have pictures of the areas you are decorating. Or you can put them on a separate page. Don’t forget to label samples with any information that you need for ordering i.e. brand or company, name/number of pattern and color. Place inside page protector.


The fabric Ive chosen
Fabric Swatches



Finally add all your “design inspiration” ideas to your section.

Want to use this idea for drapes

Picture of Window Treatment Idea for Hallway

 Sort through any “design inspiration” ideas and select those that you are trying to incorporate in your décor project. Place into page protectors. Remember to save space by placing your pages back to back inside your page protectors.



 Step Six: You are now ready to begin your design project in an organized fashion. Here’s some ideas of what a decorating notebook may look like. (I will take pictures of some of my own decor notebooks and show you in another post.)



Samples Page
“Samples” Page


Design Ideas
Design Ideas


Happy decorating!




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