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As an Interior Designer, one of the essential steps on the process to design a space is to get samples for materials that you will use in the space. Relying only on the computer screen is a huge mistake because colour on the screen is not the real colour. It happened many times when I've received a sample just to find out that was not the colour I had in mind. But that is a normal process for an Interior Designer, the worst would be if you order wood flooring for your whole house and when you get it, it's not the colour you wanted. That it's a huge costly mistake that can be avoided by ordering samples first.

I will list below how you can create a sample board at home with all the materials that you intend to use in the space to find out if they will work together or not.

Tip #1 - Order as many samples as you need

Many flooring companies offer free samples for wood and tiles, others will charge a small fee for each sample, but some will give you a credit that you can use against you order with them. UK Flooring Direct has a great selection of real wood, laminate, vinyl and carpet and they offer 3 free samples at a time. V4 Wood Flooring is another online supplier with a great selection of wood flooring and they also offer Concreate which are wall cladding with a concrete finishing look. They also offer 3 free samples at a time delivered to your door. Another option would be to go to any home centre like B&Q or specialist shops like Fired Earth and browse their selection in person and get some samples to bring home.

Colours are very similar on the screen but quite different from real life, it's hard to decide for a specific shade when you are looking at the screen, that is the importance of requesting samples. Even if you have to spend a bit of money on samples, it's still worth it because you will get the right colour and texture for your space and save on costly mistakes.

Tip #2 - It's not just about flooring

When designing a room there are so many materials that goes in. Flooring, wallpaper, tiles, paint, fabric for curtains, sofa, cushions, rug, countertops if you are doing a kitchen or bathroom, etc. All those materials and products must work together in harmony for a space to be balanced and well designed.

"The principle of the design - the harmony, rhythm and balance are all the same with interior design." – Venus Williams

You can request paint samples from the company website and a sample pot is usually between £3 to £5 pounds each, it might sound a bit expensive when you think about testing many different shades right? I agree with you, but you can request their colour cards instead that usually are free of charge. Companies also offer a fan deck with all the colours from their collection but usually only the trades person will have access to that, like an Interior Designer.

The new company Lick offers bigger paint chip samples that are peel-and-stick and removable without damaging the walls, so you can try the same sample on all walls to see the lighting hitting in different times of the day. The same for their wallpaper collection. They don't have a huge selection of paint and wallpaper like other companies but their choices are amazing. Each sample is 83p with free delivery.

Tip #3 - Texture and quality check

When it comes to select fabric, it's not just about colour, but also about the texture and feel of the fabric and the quality that will have on the end product. Supposed you are choosing fabric for curtains, but you can't say by looking on the screen or reading the info of the products page how thick the fabric is, right? Is it too shear or too thick and heavy? By ordering a sample you will feel the texture of the fabric, see the colour and thickness and also check the quality.

That's also valid when choosing wood flooring because some flooring might be thicker than others, some are made of solid wood entirely while others are made of many layers of plywood with a thin top layer of solid wood. When you hold the samples in your hand you take everything in consideration (colour, texture and quality) when choosing the right finishing.

Tip #4 - Mix it up and put it together

When you have all your samples in hand, lay them on a table, or floor if you wish, and start by creating a board with all the texture, colours and samples you've got it. If you have, a big tray that you can use as background and group the samples together in a cohesive look makes it easier to understand the look you are trying to recreate.

See what works together and what doesn't. Add some personal touch by throwing in some greenery, flower, a vase or decor element that will go into the space. If you have something that you are using for inspiration, like an image or a picture, put it together and see how it goes.

Don't be afraid to try many different combinations until you are satisfied with the result. The process of designing a space is not made in a day. Let your samples lay there for a few days and keep coming back everyday and see if you want to change something, replace with another sample, or change the colour. If you need to order more samples, go ahead and do it. Only order the final products or materials when you are 100% sure about the sample board you've put it together.

Tip #5 - Colour scheme

“Lastly, knowing just a little bit about colour scheme can go a long way in helping you select the right combinations of colours. If you don't have one yet, I suggest you buy a colour wheel, those used by artists, it can help you to create a colour scheme based on the location in the colour wheel."

Let's do it

Now that you know what you need to put together a sample board, start with the colour scheme and then start ordering some samples. But if you would like a colour consultation to put you to a good start, please fill the inquiry form and get in touch with me. If you wish to leave a comment below you more than welcome.

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