I'm stumped. Totally stumped. As stumped as Sarah Palin when asked about her favorite reading materials. I've got a room that I know I want to [re]design (great word, by the way!), but I don't even know where to begin. I want to make sure I've got everything planned out before I move a single piece of furniture. What's a good way to organize my thoughts and make sure that everything works on paper?
Don't Want to Go Rogue
A concept board is exactly what you're looking for, you betcha. A concept board is like a design brainstorm, that helps you narrow down your style and gives you a jumping-off point for starting your room makeover.
Just about every fabulous fashion designer uses one, so you'll be in good company. Check out Habitually Chic's great posts on designer's mood boards, like the ones above from Tommy Hilfiger and Oscar de la Renta.
But even if you're a glamorous designer or just a bumpkin from Wasilla, Alaska, all concept boards start out the same. Just start saving pictures you like! Tear them from magazines, right-click-save-as when you're online, snap a pic with your phone!
Once you've got a good pile o' pics going on, take a step back and look at them with a more critical eye. Notice any similarities in the pictures you've chosen. Are you picking lots of crisp, fresh whites? Lots of bold patterns? Does everything seem to be imported from Morocco, or are you more of a Parisian girl?
Now that you've narrowed it down to one overall theme, it's time to edit. Pick only about 10-12 pictures that fall under the design theme you've decided on. Now, take a look at the predominant colors: what is the main color (it's probably going to be a natural or neutral color)? Next, what's the secondary color (probably gonna be a richer tone)? And lastly, what's the accent color that goes with them (probably a bold one)? Once you've picked them out, you've got your color palette. You're well on your way to redoing your own room in a way that'll emulate the dream rooms you've torn out of magazines.
If you've already got furniture in the room you're looking to make over, take pics of those too and add them to your board. You'll be able to see how what you already own fits in with what you want to own. It'll help you decide what can stay and what has to go.
Having your concept board up and running makes shopping sooo much easier. You'll be able to tell instantly if that rug you saw in the store fits with what you're trying to do. No more buying something, taking it home, and realizing it just doesn't fit, thank God! (I hate returning things -- I always lose my receipts anyway!)
One more tip: if you're the kind who likes to "window shop" online -- you know, you browse your favorite stores online for hours, bookmarking everything you like -- there's an awesome tool called Polyvore to help you make an electronic concept board. Sign up (it's free, obvs), install the "bookmarklet" onto your web browser, then get back to shoppin'! When you see something you like, click your "Clip to Polyvore" bookmark and click on the picture you want to save. Polyvore saves the picture to your account, and saves the store and pricing information too! When you're done browsing, go back to the Polyvore site, and create a collage with everything you saved! You can publish it to your own website (it's the perfect way to drop a hint about what you want for your birthday!), email it out to friends, and share with other Polyvore users.
Whether it's torn-out magazine pages or clipped electronic images, having a concept board is WAY easier than writing your design ideas on your hand, dontcha know.