Creating a Decorating File

Create a Decorating File

If you’re readying for a design project, it’s a good idea to start gathering together the things that inspire you, the pictures that excite you and perhaps even the ones you want to avoid! If you’re going to be working with an interior designer, this file will help you engage in conversation with your professional in a very visual way!!

Although the web is great for browsing (Houzz and Pinterest are two great spots for online inspiration), there’s something about breezing through shelter (home decorating) magazines that is just so satisfying! Here’s my technique: Go through it once with all the ceremony you like. For me it’s a clean, quiet room with a fresh cup of coffee. I read the interesting articles, skim the gorgeous ads and drool over the pictures. The second time I go through it I rip out everything I want to save. I am a firm believer in keeping it all together. But what to do with these “tear sheets”?? I am a firm believer in keeping it all together. I just completed a bathroom remodel in my own home and followed my own advice. It was a huge help! Below are some options to keep you organized as you prep for your next project (or just dream!)

Your Decorating File can be any style of file that works for you. Here are a few examples from The Container Store:

These have great little pockets that hold a bit.  Think of one per room or per project.
Pretty File Folders are always handy!


Magazine Holders are an interesting option.  While they hold bulkier items (tile/fabric samples), they don’t travel as well.


This set up is awesome.  Not as ‘pretty’, but each divider can accommodate a separate space.  Use color coded files INSIDE of this to coordinate with your room decor color!


What else to include?
  • Magazine clippings of rooms the inspire you.
  • Pictures from your camera phone when you’re shopping or carry a small digital camera. Take pictures of hotel lobbies, retail stores, your neighbors table vignette….whatever inspires you. Print them and include them.
  • Samples of fabrics, trims that move you.
  • Paint swatches
  • Notes on resources

I am a firm believer in keeping it all together.  I just completed a bathroom remodel in my own home and followed my own advice.   It was a huge help!

Happy Decorating!

by Pamela Sandall,    Pamela Sandall Design


Guest Room Must-Haves

Designing A Guest Room

When designing a guest room on a budget, use  a five-star Hilton hotel for inspiration and discount stores and a savvy interior designer for implementation!


Of greatest importance is the best bed you can afford.  A queen-sized bed is more than adequate for two people and usually fits in a guest room quite nicely. If there is enough room, two twin-, full- or queen-sized beds would be ideal.  Dressing the bed is equally important. Start with a good quality mattress pad that adds a cushioned, luxurious feel.  Freshly laundered bed linens, fluffy but not-too-full pillows, a comforter and extra blankets create a welcoming oasis for your weary guests to rest and restore.

Find a place for a luggage rack or a bench to set a suitcase on. Create a one-to-two foot space in the closet with a few hangers for your guests to hang their clothes.  Keep a drawer clear for them to put their things in.  This will help keep the room neat and organized.


If there is enough room, a comfortable chair where one can curl up is a welcome addition. It also gives guests a place to sit while they put on their shoes.  A small table with a lamp or a floor lamp next to the chair creates a cozy spot for reading.

A television in a guest room is appreciated.  Place the remote near the bed.  Having a few current magazines in the room is a nice touch for those who don’t watch TV.

Window blinds work well in guest rooms to provide privacy when needed and allow for light control during the day.  A simple valance or side panels add character.



Then there are the basics that every guest room and guest bathroom should have:

  • A CD player with a clock
  • Easy access to electrical outlets for charging phones and computers
  • Bottled water on the nightstand
  • A couple of fresh apples in a bowl
  • A fresh flower in a vase on the nightstand is a nice touch
  • Clean towels
  • Fresh bar of soap
  • Disposable cups
  • Hairdryer

Remember to inform your guests if you have a security system that is alarmed at night.

And most importantly, invite your guests to feel at home.

Personalized Kitchen Accessibility

Creating a Personalized Kitchen for Your Home Have you ever wondered how a kitchen can be designed to accommodate the various needs of the home’s occupants?  What if only one member of the family is in a wheelchair?  What if the members of the family are all short-statured? We are all aware that people come […] Read more »

Home Redesign – Sprucing Up Your “Home Sweet Home”

A Spruce with Home Redesign Sometimes it’s just not in the cards or in the budget to tackle a complete re-decorating project or big remodeling job.  Home re-design is a bit like staging a home for sale, except you remain in your home. Here are some tips for “using what you have” in creative ways to […] Read more »