A storyboard is your recipe for a put-together room.

How to Make a Storyboard for Decor

by Linda Erlam

A storyboard, the visual representation of a planned room, lays out the style and finish of the room's elements: furniture, paint colors, trims and accessories. The storyboard becomes the inspiration and the road map for achieving the finished room. An interior designer uses a storyboard to show the client all the components of a proposed room scheme. If you are the designer, your storyboard will solidify the plan as you see it and help in the conversation you have with your “client” -- who may be a precocious 13-year-old.

Floor Plan

Your plan should be based on the room's function. List the activities that happen in the room, and plan furniture and lighting accordingly. For example, in a family or play room, you might need a card table, four chairs and an overhead light; a place for watching the large-screen TV with lots of seating; a dartboard; a computer table; and an entertainment unit. And don’t forget lots of storage for games and DVDs. Use one of the many free online furniture-placement programs and create a scale plan of your room. Print it on card stock and place it in the center of your blank storyboard poster. White poster board or foam core work well for storyboards.

Inspiration Piece

Attach a sizable photo of your inspiration piece, which suggests the color scheme and mood of the room. For example, if this is a young girl’s room, perhaps the inspiration piece is the cover of her favorite princess storybook. For a young boy, it may be the jersey of his favorite basketball player; for you, it may be a floral bouquet.

Furniture and Lighting

Next, gather pictures of the type of furniture, accessories, lamps, rugs, storage units -- and any other furniture -- you would like to include in the room. Cut the pictures out of magazines and catalogs, and print them out from online sources. Take pictures of existing furniture that will stay in the room. If possible, try to keep the pictures in scale. For example, the sofa picture should be considerably larger than the table lamp, but if a small photo loses detail, opt for a larger photo. Arrange the furniture pictures on the poster board. Situate the larger pieces of furniture on the lower portion of the storyboard to create a visual anchor. Keep pieces together on the board if they are together in a room. For example, if you choose a side table and table lamp, position them close together on the story board.

Fabric and Paint

The next layer should consist of fabric samples, trim samples, and paint and finish samples. If you can’t get a sample of the flooring, use a photograph of it, or a cutout from a brochure. The 60-30-10 rule of color states that the main color of your room should be on 60 percent of the surfaces, the secondary color on 30 percent and the remaining 10 percent should be the accent colors or metal finishes. With this in mind, plan your colors and the size of your paint chips accordingly. For example, use a 10-by-12-inch piece of fabric as your drapery sample. Fold it into pleats to replicate the look of the drapes; attach it to the board. If you are adding trim to the drapes, fasten the trim close to the fabric sample.

Notes and Labels

It may help to label the pieces on the storyboard. You can label the pieces with a letter and run a legend down one side, describing each piece, or adding fabric names and colors or manufacturer’s information. Spray removable adhesive, available in fabric stores, allows you to move the pieces around on the board or replace discarded pieces with new pieces without damaging the board.

About the Author

Linda Erlam started writing educational manuals in 1979. She also writes a biweekly newspaper column, "Design Dilemmas," in the "Lakeshore News" and has been published in "Design and Drapery Pro" magazine. Erlam is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Interior Design and is a practicing interior decorator and drapery workroom operator.

Photo Credits

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