See Why a Designer Swears by This Affordable Notebook

It's perfect for everything, from sketching to journaling

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Tools of the Trade: notebooks

Product: Amazon / Illustration: The Spruce

The world of home decor is vast, and we’re constantly amazed by the designers, creators, and creatives who cross our paths. In an effort to learn more about the innovative eyes behind the scenes, we’ve launched a series that explores the sanity-saving tools, products, and services that keep our favorite designers and decorators focused on the job at hand. Welcome to Tools of the Trade.

While our phones can do pretty much anything these days, interior designer Susan Hayward recently revealed that there’s one thing she’ll swap for the digital version: a notebook. And not just any old notebook—Hayward is officially a convert to graph paper notebooks.

As the founder of her eponymous design firm, Hayward tells us that this is the one thing she uses every single day. Read on to find out more about her must-have notebook—and what makes it particularly useful in Hayward’s professional life.

Susan Hayward headshot.

Courtesy of Susan Hayward / Illustration: The Spruce

What item made your work life easier this week/month/lately?

SH: As minute as it sounds, the most helpful everyday item that I use for my work as an interior designer is a small notebook with graph paper.

RETTACY Graph Paper Notebook

Graph Paper Notebook


SH: As a designer, measuring is everything, and there is nothing better than having quick visual to show a client. Using the graph paper in my notebook, I am able to show a design or layout to scale, and that really gives my clients a better perspective of the ideas we are exploring.

Where/how do you use this item most?

SH: I take my notebook with me on every client visit.

How did you discover this item?

SH: I have always carried a small notebook, but one day I grabbed the “wrong” one.  It was a notebook I had picked up at a trade show. It wasn’t until I was at a client’s house and opened it up that I realized it was graph paper and not lined. This was an instant aha moment for me.

Will you use this item in the future?

SH: Absolutely. It has become an integral part of my success, particularly when it comes to client communication.

How has this item made your job easier?

SH: After drafting sketches to scale with dimensions on the graph paper, I am able to bring this back to our office where we can complete the design on our computer software program with more details. The notebook truly is the first piece of the puzzle in conceptualizing all of my designs.

How might someone not in your line of work benefit from this item?

SH: If you like to take notes and draw pictures, doodles, anything, it would work!

What, if anything, would you change about this item?

SH: It’s almost a perfect item. The only thing I would change is the addition of more size options.

Are there any care/use tips someone considering this item should know about?

SH: Make sure you keep a scale for your paper so you remember what the square scale is.