21 Items Designers Always Keep in Their Tool Kit

Go behind the scenes with top interior designers and find out what essential items they wouldn't be caught dead without. Some of them may surprise you.

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Tile & Hardwood Samples

Designer Lindye Galloway explains, for clients to be able to see, touch and feel samples in person is a must. "There's nothing like being able to show our clients the product in person, so we keep a lot of hardwood and tile samples on hand so that we can show them during our finishes meetings."

Paint Deck

"You wouldn't believe how many options there are when it comes to choosing the perfect shade of paint. Having a paint deck on hand always helps with the process. And we always tab our go-to colors," says designer Lindye Galloway.

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies—broom, Wet Jet, vacuum—are key says Atlanta designer Abbi Williams. "Even if the builder has had the house cleaned. Window sills must be wiped down so new curtains aren't stained or soiled on the first day. Sweep flooring before putting down rugs. Moving day is high traffic and new dirt coming in the house is inevitable."

Lots of Coffee!

Being able to meet deadlines and run from project to project, means coffee is a must! "As a business owner and mom, this stuff keeps me going," says Galloway.

Waterproof Boots

"They stay in my car. You can only ruin so many shoes trying to trek on a jobsite with mud and gravel," says Abbi Williams.

Textile Samples

"We have a huge library of our favorite textiles and we always love having these beauties right in our studio to show our clients swatches when they’re making their final decisions on furniture," explains Galloway.

Jumbo Children's Chalk

"It is hard to visualize the flow of a house when it is just framed up with plywood on the floor. So use the jumbo chalk to mark out things like the kitchen island location on the floor to make sure it is not too tight and needs to be made smaller," says Abbi Williams of the unexpected uses for this ordinary material. "Or use the chalk to block out the location of the furniture on the living room floor to understand where you need floor outlets."


Galloway explains she takes her tablet with her everywhere, "it’s my notepad and perfect for showing our clients architectural plans, photos and our design ideas!"

Painter's Tape

"Today's homeowners want a mix of hardware on their cabinetry" says Abbi Williams, an Atlanta-based designer. "Both knobs and various length pulls. After your cabinetry has arrived, grab a glass of wine and a roll of painter's tape to lay out your hardware. Do you want two knobs or one on those long drawers? Cabinet pulls come in 5-inch to 14-inch lengths. Tear off tape representing the length you want and put it on the cabinets as a reminder of what hardware was ordered to go where. I can't tell you how many times the hardware showed up and we can't remember what we ordered for where."

Tape Measure

Interior designer, Lindye Galloway says a tape measure is "an interior designer's best friend! This is definitely one of our most frequently used tools, in and out of the studio. You’ve got to get those measurements right!"

Business Cards

"As an interior designer, I am always networking so I have business cards on hand in case I meet a potential client or vendor we'd like to work with,"says Galloway.


"We are constantly collecting pretty pieces for our inventory of accessories so that we can pull from it when it comes time for install day at one of our projects," explains Galloway.

Brown Craft Paper

"A huge roll of heavy brown craft paper to tape down the flooring in high-traffic areas just to protect the flooring while everyone is on the move" is key says designer Abbi Williams.

Client Gifts

Designer Lindye Galloway says she likes to celebrate with her clients after their home is complete. "It is such an honor to be trusted to bring clients' homes to life. I love to celebrate the start of a new journey by giving each new client a little gift. Just a little something to show them how excited I am to be working with them!"

A Cordless Drill

A cordless drill and power pack are key says designer Abbi Williams. "Especially if you're dealing with hanging items on stone or rock mantels! A hammer and a nail will not cut it."


"Don't even try and iron drapes. Old residue on irons can end up on your gorgeous new drapes," says Abbi Williams of having a steamer on hand.

Zip Ties

Use these "to gather cords and keep your overall look tidy even with multiple cords" says Abbi Williams.

File Folder

"A basic job site binder or folder with alphabetical tabs for all the receipts," is a must according to Atlanta designer Abbi Williams. "This way the invoices serve as a reminder years from now for where items were purchased and what the actual name of the item was. Everything that was purchased for the home will be on file if you ever need to buy more."

Old Moving Quilts

"Put these outside the front door and one inside to help catch dirt before it makes it into the home. Booties don't work; not when you're constantly in and out," says Abbi Williams.

Felt Pads

Avert disaster and grab some felt pads for all furniture. There's "nothing worse than new scratches on hardwoods," says Abbi Williams.

Black Sharpie

Designer Abbi Williams uses this bad boy "to mark decisions on the walls with your contractor. Especially during framing," she says. It's hard to overlook or misunderstand a drawing or instructions written in thick black ink, after all.

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