Organization is an essential component of any home improvement project. Even though there are some wonderful programs out there to store this information digitally, there is nothing like having a good old fashion hand held design binder readily available for your next project.
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Home improvements and even simple refresh projects require planning and a bit of organization to be successful – or if nothing else at least less stressful. This is were a simple tool called a design binder comes in handy to keep even the smallest details of the process readily available and easy to follow.
A design binder is meant to keep you organized and focused through any remodel or refresh of a room from start to finish.
An organized design binder is always a good idea for your home even if your home is move in ready and just needs furniture.
Making a house your dream home has to start somewhere and if you save even the littlest details in a design binder, sometimes called a project notebook, years later it will make upgrades and replacements so much easier.
It doesn’t matter whether you consider this binder a place to collect your design inspirations, a project management tool or just the documentation of money spent on your home. The truth is it is all three.
A design binder could have pages from magazines, floorplans, paint swatches, furniture details, fabric swatches, and even the receipts from home décor items purchased. A design binder becomes your central source for all your home interior information and will grow and change as the project takes shape.
It can be an invaluable tool for any home project.
Most professional Interior Designers live and breathe their whole project through a design binder listing every detail on construction, paint, furnishings, and even every little accessory. It is the command center of any project that keeps up with purchases, timelines, photographs, the overall inspiration for the home, and especially the budget!
Of course, In today’s more technical driven world, this whole process can be kept on a digital tablet.
For me, I prefer a combination of both. The physical notebook to store anything paper related to the planning of a project, and programs online like Pinterest or Houzz for digital inspiration.
I speak from experience that it is always helpful to have an actual fabric swatch from the project to match paint colors than just a digital photo any day.
The basics of a organized design project binder was something I was taught in interior design school, but the importance of it was driven home on the job. No matter what, it is the best place to start on your next project.
Your home Design Notebook Shopping list
Here are a few items I suggest you purchase to have the basics of a design notebook.
- Notebook at least 1″ – 3″ wide (you chose the color)
- Tabbed dividers with pockets (preferably one for each room of your home)
- Sheet protectors
- Graph paper (for sketches)
- Notebook paper for notes
- Calendar pages for scheduled work dates
- Labels and stickers
- Sharpie markers
The color of the binder, the style of the tabbed dividers, and even the type of sheet protectors is completely up to your own personal style and preference, even though I do suggest that the heavy weight sheet protectors are the best for this type of book.
And don’t skimp on the binder. This binder will get a lot of use so you need it to hold up for the long term.
In the beginning the notebook may only have the basics for new project or room. Like the detailed bullet list I discussed in a previous post.
However, your design binder will grow to include inspiration photos, measures, purchase orders and receipts, calendar of work, and even the equipment manuals for easy access later. As you work on your exciting new project, the notebook then grows to include budget numbers, paint chips, purchase receipts, and even business cards for contractors or shops.
In the end, you will include before and after photos of the finished project.
Before you even get to that step though, you first have to make the binder.
Or binders, depending on how extensive a project you may tackle. A bigger project such as a whole kitchen remodel may need a binder dedicated just to that project. You will figure out each binder you need as you continue to work on your home.
For my own purposes this time, I am labeling a tabbed divider for my daughter’s bedroom and bath, which is now going to be the guest bedroom and bath and will try to convert her walk-in closet in to a nursery.
However, if you were to be renovating just one larger room of your home, let’s say a kitchen for example, the tabbed dividers may be labeled with headings such as Cabinetry, Appliances, Paint, Hardware and Accessories. The label of your tabbed dividers depends on what type of project it is.
The labels for the tabbed dividers should include some of the following topics.
This is the tab were you will put the printout of the mood board or torn pages from magazines for the inspiration of the room.
Floorplans and sketches
Floorplans can easily be sketched out on graph paper with all room dimensions noted for the space. These dimensions will be invaluable when you are planning the furniture purchases.
The brains of the whole project. Nothing can be done without a clear budget written out of what is available to spend and what you still need to save for.
Calendar pages are always a good idea to keep in a design binder. They make it so easy to schedule out the days of the projects, make notes on work days, contractor schedules, purchase dates of items, and even the target finish date. Calendar pages can easily be printed out in Word or Excel.
Quotes from contractors (if needed)
This tab is only needed if you have to hire out part of the job. Keeping these easily to find and organized can save your so much frustration during the whole project and dealing with outside contractors.
The furniture tabbed divider is very important. It will keep the printouts of furniture selected, specifications on dimensions, and the fabrics and finishes. Once orders are placed it will keep the invoices, shipping information, and expected delivery date. If you purchase directly from a store, it will include the receipts and store information. If you purchased a piece of furniture to makeover, then include before and after photos and all of the details of paint or fabric for the makeover.
Accessories and Décor
This divider will keep the same information as the furniture tab except for all the little items that bring the décor together. Pillows, bedspreads, lamps, and even custom framed art go behind this tab.
Do you have a new home project in your furniture that needs a design binder?
As for me, I need to put my own book together to start our new project for our daughter’s room and bathroom.
Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”