Decorating Sample Board

Before You Make the Wrong Decisions…

One thing that can really help you to design your room is a decorating sample board. This is an essential tool since it allows you to see the colours, fabrics and other materials in one place. You can better visualize how all the colors, textures and patterns will work together in the room. Most importantly, it allows you to experiment with all the different possibilities before making the wrong and expensive decision.

Decorating Sample Board

First thing to do is to get a sheet of thick poster board – the bigger the better. Remember, you should be able to capture the designs and pattern repeats as realistically as possible. The square poster board of 20 inches (50cm) would do but if you can try to make it larger. The larger the sample board the better you can see the designs.

Then gather as many samples as possible. Get the samples of different wallpapers or paint colour swatches, various fabrics and various kinds of floorings. If you are not sure yet about your color scheme or what kinds of fabrics you want to go with, gather as many that you like as possible.

Decorating Sample Board

Use Decorating Sample Board to Decide on the Right Scheme for Your Room
When you have all the samples together either choose one fabric or one color that you like the most and make this your starting point.


If you decided to go with fabric as your starting point, see what colours are there on this fabric. Make these colours (or dominant colours if there are more than three colours) the colour scheme for the room. Select paint or wallpaper that are one of the chosen colors and make other two colors accent colors. Choose one or two other kinds of fabrics that complement your starting fabric.


If you like certain paint color and are sure that this color will support the mood you want to have in the room, make this your starting point. Take the color wheel and select two or three other colors that are harmonious with it. Depending on the mood you are going for select harmonious or contrasting colors. See what other fabrics there are in your chosen colors and place them on your decorating sample board to see how they go together.

Feel free to experiment. Now is the best time to see how you can combine fabrics and colors to create harmonious design. You will see if there is too much visual noise and chaos and you will be able to avoid it. Allow yourself to cross the boundaries now. You might as well come up with something really interesting that otherwise wouldn’t cross your mind.

Make it realistic

When you have decided for the colors, fabrics and flooring material try to imagine how much of a particular color or fabric will appear in the room. In other words, determine what you want to use the fabric for and how much of a space it will take. Try to make the size of different samples proportionate to how they will appear in the room and stick them to the decorating sample board. This will give you the most realistic impression of how the room will look with all the decorating elements in it.

Useful Tip!
Mark the fabrics, paints, wallpaper and flooring samples with:

  • name
  • identification number
  • where you got it
  • price

This will help you determine how much you will spend on what and will remind you where to get it fast.