Before you build your dream home it’s good to start collecting images and samples to help visualize and coordinate the final design. Not only is this a lot of fun, it can greatly improve the results and help you communicate your ideas to workers and family members. The basic idea is closely related to making scale models. Hands-on, tactile activities like this can open your mind to lots of new possibilities.
To take it a step further and help visualize your project you can make a scrapbook, design sample board or presentation board, save files on your computer or some combination of these. This can include collecting product samples and brochures, color charts, clippings from design magazines, photographs from home tours or images from the Internet. My favorite technique is scouring the Internet for interesting ideas, because it’s free and because there’s such a vast amount of information available. It’s quick and easy to search specific words and phrases – “bamboo ceiling”, “tile baseboard”, “round window”, “bottle wall”. (Omit quotation marks when doing the actual search so related search terms will pop up.)
It’s good to create a plan for individual rooms as well as the overall look of the home so everything looks good together. Gather extra images and samples so you can compare alternatives and have a wide range of ideas to choose from. For instance, you might have 20 photos of living rooms and choose one or two elements from 15 of them in order to create something that perfectly matches your wants and needs.
Here are a few tips that have helped me over the years:
– Physical samples often make the decision process easier. For instance, bring home some fabric, trim and tile samples to see how they look next to your wall colors and furniture.
– Shop where you have a broad selection to choose from, and where they loan samples. I don’t know about you, but I want more than 50-100 tile samples (most of which are very ordinary looking) to choose from.
– Larger samples can make it easier to visualize the end result.
– Be a little bold with color and design choices. All too often people pick depressingly ‘safe’ choices and really miss out on the fun.
– Allow ample time for making choices. Think things over carefully and ‘sleep on it’.
– Occasionally, you’ll find a picture of a stunning home that’s just what you’re looking for. Be sure to save it immediately and then study it carefully to gain ideas.