Raise your hand if your sample library is due for a serious cleanout. You are not alone, friends. Today we’re chatting with interior designer Tiffany Leigh Design who has come up with a GENIUS way of organizing all those client samples. It involves clear shoe boxes, pretty labels and a truly simple method that will completely transform the way you store project samples. Plus, we’ve got all the pieces you need to begin implementing this organization today. Download the editable labels below and read up on how Tiffany uses lidded bins so she can grab and go on the way to a site visit, or when sourcing in the office.
Can you give us a brief introduction about you as a designer + business owner? Where are you located, who are your dream clients and what do you specialize in?
My name is Tiffany Piotrowski and I’m the owner and principal designer of Tiffany Leigh Design. We are a small, full-service residential design firm specializing in whole-home design and renovations. We are located in Toronto, Canada, and also service our beautiful surrounding cottage communities including the Kawarthas and the Muskokas (cottages are one of our favorite things to design!). Our ideal clients are busy families with higher-end budgets and a lot of trust in our process. Ideally, our clients hire us for our aesthetic and are looking to renovate their homes from top to bottom including all furnishings and accessories. We believe in a turn-key process to deliver the best results!
How did you come up with your system? Were you having a hard time keeping things in order as you started booking more projects?
Prior to launching my own interior design firm in 2019, I worked for a larger firm in the city for four and a half years. There, we stored projects in bags – I loved that this kept projects separate and easy to grab on the go, but the bags were difficult to store and it was sometimes challenging to find the specific project you were looking for. When I was setting up the TLD office (which happens to be in my home), I needed to refine this system to be even more structured and organized so that work didn’t spill into the rest of our space. We use clear boxes so you can easily see what’s inside, they are nicely labeled so you can quickly find the project you are looking for, it looks professional in front of clients, and they store and stack beautifully in our projects cupboard.
What exactly do you keep in your project bins?
We try to keep all physical samples of materials for the project. This includes fabric swatches, carpet samples, tiles, countertop and flooring samples, hardware, and paint boards. For bigger full home projects we often use 2 or 3 bins, divided by fabric/paint and heavier samples like tile and hardware. We also keep the samples grouped within the boxes according to room, so we have an elastic band and label around all the living room samples, dining room samples, etc. This is great if you need to say, source a drapery fabric for the living room only, it’s easy to grab.
What happens if two different projects are using the same sample? Do you order duplicate samples?
We always try to get a duplicate sample when we can. In reality, we sometimes borrow between boxes, but it’s not ideal when one designer is out of office for a different project with the sample you need! Projects don’t overlap too much in most cases, as we like to select new materials for each project to deliver customized bespoke design based on the client’s lifestyle and tastes.
How do you store your samples in the studio before adding them to a client project?
We keep our sample library somewhat small due to a) only having a small amount of storage space and b) we typically choose to source new materials for each project to suit the client perfectly. We do keep a small selection of our go-to basics in belly baskets on shelves above our printer between our tall cabinets – divided by fabric, carpet, leather, tile, etc. We also have an ‘inspired’ basket for samples that we see and LOVE but might not be right for our current projects. They can be a great jumping-off point for a project down the road. Manifest that!
If you are wanting to try out Tiffany’s method of organization, here is a link to the boxes she uses for each client project: Clear Shoe Box. We also have the organization labels for you to download. Simply click on the link below and make sure to create a duplicate to work from. Then you can make edits in Canva as needed to use for each of your projects.
CLICK HERE FOR PROJECT ORGANIZATION LABELS – don’t forget to create a duplicate to work from
IDCO Studio is a full-service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Our recently launched limited-release website templates are the perfect way for interior designers to get a luxury website on a budget. These templates allow designers to maintain control of their content. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.