Ever made yourself crazy trying to track down the paint color you used in your living room that now needs some touching up? If so, then you'll understand the importance of keeping a Home File. Keep a list — and sample paint chips — of each wall, ceiling and trim color for every room, and make sure to date the samples so you'll always have the most current information at hand. There are many other sorts of information that would be important to keep on hand. Samples of floor tile and carpet, with manufacturer's information and sources, can come in handy. Also, stain colors for wood flooring can help to color-match down the road. Trim profiles such as crown molding, baseboards and door frame moldings are helpful, and even keeping a small sample piece of these items in the file could help to re-create the existing profile if needed. Drawer pull and knob information might enable you to find that one extra piece you'll need next year, and keeping a swatch of furniture fabrics (again, along with the manufacturer and source) makes sense if you ever want to add to or duplicate a piece of existing furniture. Any expandable file can help you get started, and once you're in the habit, it should be quick and easy to add to the file whenever you do even the simplest renovation. A file like this could also be a great place to keep appliance warranties and instruction pamphlets, to assure that your "Home Information" is all in one safe place. This information can be helpful in minor emergencies (like paint touchups) as well as major emergencies, such as damage after a flood or storm. The more documentation, the better. Spending a small amount of time on the front end can save a lot of time — and headaches — later on!
Scott Scherschel and Chip Vogel are designers with Interior Spaces Inc. If you have a design question for Interior Spaces, email your question with a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org. A solution could be used in a future article.