Consider these five design tools the next time you’re embarking on a new design project.

The Calico collection was the first to be produced by the couple. At the very beginning the couple experimented with styles of marbling by researching traditional techniques from various countries such as Turkey, Japan and England. After determining the best three, the Calico collection was ready for production.

Taking on a new home project, whether it’s big or small, can be an intimidating challenge—especially if you’re someone who has trouble making decisions or visualizing a space. Fortunately, design professionals have a range of tricks and tools up their sleeves—for both their own use and their clients’—so that everyone is on board and can “see” what the end result will be. From in-person visits to digitally created imagery, these tools will work for everyone from the tech-savvy to the analog-inclined.

Showroom and Site Visits

Often a designer or client may start their search in an inspirational place like a showroom or a project they love and admire. Showrooms are spaces (and sometimes entire stores) that are used to display goods for sale by specific companies. In a tile showroom, for example, you’ll likely see a range of sink, bathroom, shower, and even kitchen setups created to look like real, functioning rooms. These simulations can help express ideas of scale, lighting, and texture that might be difficult for some to understand otherwise.

Luminaire curates thoughtful vignettes composed of furniture by celebrated designers.

Luminaire curates thoughtful vignettes composed of furniture by celebrated designers.

Photo: Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott

It’s also a good idea to visit other projects the designer has completed, or other projects the client appreciates. Site visits can help clients and designers understand a space the way it is actually used, instead of a facsimile of what someone might use. This helps to better gauge expectations—showrooms are often designed with only two or three walls for easy viewing, but of course rooms in a home are actually enclosed and give a different spatial sense.

Over 100 clay candle holders designed and produced by studio director Tung Chiang are on display at the Heath showroom in San Francisco.

Over 100 clay candle holders designed and produced by studio director Tung Chiang are on display at the Heath showroom in San Francisco.

Photo: Renee Zellweger

Material Palettes and Samples 

The next step many design professionals take when working on a project is to develop a material palette. Material palettes are comprised of a range of material samples including—but not limited to—paint colors, wallpaper, tile, flooring, fabric, window treatments, carpets, and snippets of other items that help convey the colors, textures, and vibe that a room will have. Designers will often update or change these palettes as they further refine the design and gain a better understanding of what materials are available and on budget. 

Hella Jongerius / Jongeriuslab in Berlin

Hella Jongerius / Jongeriuslab in Berlin

Photo: Oliver Mark

See the full story on Dwell.com: 5 Essential Design Tools to Visualize Your Next Project

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