I would consider design walls one of the most important tools in my studio.
Distance and vertical perspective are important to design.
Colors and prints don’t just come together for me, they make me work for it. I’m not a sketcher, so I have to cut, pin and/or fold fabrics and put them up vertically to gain some visual perspective on their interaction with one another. I can’t say whether this design process saves me time, but being at the wall with my stash is the part of the design process I enjoy the most.
There have been a few incarnations with design walls as my needs (and quilts) have grown. Before our move, I had distance from my design wall because my family put up with the space being more studio than living room. If you can get 8 feet or more that’s ideal (there are other tools like peep holes that can help give distance too).
The fabric I use is a grey flannel sheet. I purchase flannel sheets from Garnet Hill so I don’t have to piece (sign up for their emails, they always have sales or free shipping). I like how whites and neutrals pop off it.
It’s fully mounted to the wall. Full details about it are here.
There were baby steps made before this permanent solution. The design walls I started with and that I encourage students to purchase are pre-made design walls or picnic table cloths that can easily be rolled up and tucked away and because having only one project going at a time is simply absurd I have two layered. To the top of one wall I sewed doubled-over ribbon. This allows me to roll and secure it when not in use. The vinyl backing will help keep everything stay put, pretty much where you placed it.
If you want to read more about a roll up design wall I’ve posted about that here.
A few years ago when Jacquie and I were teaching together we joke about not marrying what was on your design wall, someone commented that you are only sleeping together and we all had a good laugh. But seriously, move stuff around, you never know what you might end up with and you’ll know it’s right when you see it.
Live them. You won’t be disappointed.