An essential of the interior design business is the sample. We receive lots of samples in the office and often they’re just too pretty to throw away. I’ve cut wallpaper samples and folded them to use as note cards; given fabric samples to my mom to sew into catnip pouches. Square leather samples become coasters. When some rug samples arrived the other day, we all agreed they’d make swell mats for pet food and water. Other samples simply get tacked to a bulletin board in the form of a decorative, graphic collage. Designer Todd Haley gave me an I-shaped piece of iron that he (and now I) use as a paperweight. And at two events I attended last week, I realized I’m not alone in not wanting to waste these pretty things. At Buckingham ID, Julia Edelmann was hosting a party for the opening of an exhibit of new Victor Skrebneski photographs in her showroom (catch it weekdays til May 13th; it’s called Homage: Magritte). Waiters passed around glasses of wine and champagne perched on a mirror sample from the Bradley Hughes showroom (the showroom manager was there, too, and when she saw it, she said, Hey, that’s our sample!). It made for a gorgeous serving tray. And at Muse Group the day before, I saw beautiful pillows (show above) by Lynda O’Connor, made of fabric samples given to her by Anthony Bellon, who has just introduced the Andrew Martin Collection, to the Muse showroom. Waste not, want not indeed!