mood board, asian blues and golds
Colours, Patterns and Art

Beginner’s Practical Guide To Creating A Mood Board For Interior Design

If you are planning a redesign of a room or rooms in your home, but you’re not sure how to bring it all together, an interior design mood board is the perfect solution. These visual collages are a great tool for capturing your design ideas, exploring different themes and styles, and bringing your vision to life. Imagine being able to create stunning mood boards that perfectly capture your vision for a space. In this guide I’ll show you the ins and outs of creating mood boards for interior design like a pro.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of choosing a theme, gathering inspiration, selecting images and materials, and arranging your mood board. We’ll also explore different styles and themes, and show you how to edit and refine your board until it’s perfect.

So get ready to be inspired!

What is a mood board exactly?

mood board, natural yellows and creams


An interior design moodboard is like a creative collage made by designers to show how they want a room or space to look and feel. It’s made by putting together pictures, colors, and materials on a big board, whether physical or virtual, to create a clear picture of the design idea. This helps everyone understand and imagine what the room will be like when it’s done.

A mood board is a visual representation that interior designers can use (and that includes you, if you’re designing the interior of your room!) to explore different styles and make sure everything in the room goes well together. They can use pictures of furniture, fabrics, paints, textures, and decorations to create a beautiful and harmonious design. It’s a way to see the overall design all together in one place, to see whether the different elements will go together. 

Mood boards are like a source of inspiration that guides designers throughout the process of making the room look amazing. It’s a fun and helpful tool that makes interior design ideas come to life!

So if you want to design a new look for a room in your house, let’s learn how to make a mood board.

Choosing a Theme for Your Mood Board

If you’re here, you’re probably interested in bringing nature into your home, so that may be the theme you’re looking to explore. But that’s a broad topic! So consider the mood and atmosphere you want to create in your space. It can be good to start from one or two images which give the essence of what you’re looking for. This could be a photograph of an interior you like, a piece of art, or an abstract image.

If you find a design photograph like this, ask yourself what you particularly like about it. The colours? The shapes? The different textures?

At this early stage you might just have a rough idea of what you are looking for, but that’s OK! Your vision will evolve as you work on your mood board. So let’s move on to gathering interior design inspiration and ideas.

Gathering Interior Design Inspiration and Ideas

When you’re looking for inspiration and ideas for your interior design project, start by gathering images and colors that catch your eye and reflect your personal style. 

To find inspiration, consider these options:

  1. Explore online resources: Websites like Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram are great places to find interior design inspiration. Follow accounts that align with your style and save images that inspire you. Free stock photo sites like Unsplash and Pexels are great sources for stylish images.
  2. Choose mood board themes: Decide on themes for your mood board, such as Bohemian, Minimalist, or Scandinavian. This will guide your search and help you focus on specific elements.
  3. Browse magazines. Thrift stores and charity shops can be a great source of cheap magazine inspiration!
  4. Collect materials: Whether you prefer digital or physical materials, gather images, fabric swatches, paint samples, and any other materials that inspire you. This will give you a tangible collection to work with.

Now, let’s explore how to transform these inspirations into a tangible representation of your design vision.

How to create a Mood Board

There are two main ways to make an interior design mood board (or any mood board for that matter!): digitally, or physically. 

With a digital mood board, you can use tools like Canva to easily add images, colors, and text to create a visual representation of your design ideas.

On the other hand, a physical mood board allows you to get hands-on with materials and textures, using cutouts, fabric samples, and paint swatches to bring your vision to life.

Create a Digital Mood Board

The simplest way to make a digital mood board is to use Pinterest. It’s free to use, and you can explore ideas that have been collated by others as well as putting together your own. Just create an account, create a board (set it to secret if you don’t want others to find it) and start pinning things to it! You can just browse Pinterest itself, or pin images from elsewhere on the internet.

Image – HousesandTrees

The downside of Pinterest is you can’t create a collage of your ideas, which is part of the fun of making a mood board. But there are various free interior design software programs and general design software to create collages. Here are some to check out:

  1. Canva: a versatile graphic design platform that offers a wide range of templates, including mood board templates. It provides an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, making it easy to create visually appealing mood boards. You can use the free version of Canva to create a mood board.
  2. SampleBoard: specifically designed for creating mood boards and design presentations. It offers a vast library of design elements and allows you to import images and materials from various sources.
  3. Olioboard: an online mood board creator that lets you arrange images, colors, and textures to visualize your interior design ideas. It also allows you to browse through a collection of items from various brands.
  4. Pinterest: Although not a traditional interior design software, Pinterest is an excellent platform for creating digital mood boards. You can collect and organize images from the web and use them to create inspirational mood boards.
  5. Niice: a collaborative mood board platform that enables you to gather and organize images from different sources. It’s especially useful for teams working on interior design projects.
  6. MURAL: a digital workspace and collaboration tool that can be used to create mood boards and visual presentations. It’s well-suited for remote teams working on interior design projects.
  7. Milanote: another online platform for organizing visual ideas, including mood boards. It allows you to create a visual storyboard with images, text, and other design elements.

Digital mood boards offer several benefits, including the ability to easily organize and edit design elements, saving time and paper. You can also incorporate different design elements such as furniture, colors, textures, and patterns into your digital mood board to get a comprehensive visual representation of your design concept.

Canva example mood board

Image – Canva

Additionally, digital mood boards can be easily shared and collaborated on with others, making it a great tool for teamwork.

To create visually appealing digital mood boards, consider using color schemes and palettes to create a cohesive and harmonious look. Don’t forget to customize and personalize your digital mood boards to reflect your unique style and vision.

Now, let’s move on to creating a physical mood board for a more tactile experience.

Create a Physical Mood Board

Get ready to immerse yourself in the tactile world of design as you embark on creating your very own physical mood board (as an artist, I do prefer the hands-on method, even if it is more time-consuming!). 

Choosing materials is the first step in bringing your ideas to life. Explore different textures, such as fabric swatches, wallpaper samples, and wood veneers, to add depth and visual interest to your board.

mood board, rich dark floral theme

Where to find materials

There are lots of places you can do to find materials for your mood board, and you can think of the search as part of the process! Here are some ideas for where to look:

  1. Home Improvement Stores: Visit local home improvement stores, such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, or specialty stores that offer flooring, paint, wallpaper, and other interior design materials. Many of these stores have sample displays that you can take or purchase for a small fee.
  2. Fabric Stores: If you’re looking for fabrics for upholstery, curtains, or other soft furnishings, fabric stores often have swatch books or samples that you can use for your mood board.
  3. Interior Design Showrooms: Some interior design showrooms allow visitors to take samples of materials like tiles, wood flooring, carpets, and wallpapers. Check with your local showrooms to see if they offer this service.
  4. Wallpaper and Paint Retailers: Stores that specialize in wallpaper and paint often provide sample swatches and paint chips that you can take home to create your mood board.
  5. Furniture Stores: Some furniture stores offer fabric and material swatches, as well as color samples for wood finishes and upholstery options.
  6. Magazines and Catalogs: Collect interior design magazines, catalogs, and brochures from furniture stores or design showrooms. Cut out images, colors, and textures that inspire you for your mood board.
  7. Trade Shows and Events: Attend interior design trade shows, home expos, and design events in your area. These events often have vendors giving away product samples and promotional materials.
  8. Online Sample Request: Some companies offer online sample requests, allowing you to order free or low-cost samples of materials like flooring, tiles, wallpapers, and fabrics.
  9. Friends and Family: If your friends or family members have recently completed interior design projects, ask them if they have any leftover samples or materials you can use.
  10. DIY Scrapbooking: Get creative and use scrapbooking materials to represent different design elements in your mood board, such as textured paper for flooring, fabric swatches for upholstery, and small paint samples.
  11. Photographs. We all have a camera in our pocket these days – keep your eyes open for things which inspire you and when you spot something, snap a picture, print it out and add it to your collection. You can also photograph your own possessions if you have something you want to use, for example a specific piece of furniture or fabric. 

Once you’ve collected a good selection of images and materials, it’s time for organizing and arranging your mood board. This is the fun part! (Wait, isn’t collecting all the samples the fun part too?)

Key elements: Finding your palette

As you are looking for inspirational images for the design process, keep a colour palette in mind. Paint colors are one of the most important factors in interior design. If you’re not sure where to start, find an image that has colours which appeal to you. You can put the image into a website like www.coolors.co to get a colour palette drawn from the image, or you can just browse their colours for inspiration!

Image – Behr Paints

Key elements: adding texture

Along with colour, texture is an important design element. Whether it’s fabric (smooth silk, textured velvet, fur) or surfaces (wood, slate, stone) consider what resonates with you, and how you might like to bring it in to your design.

Key elements: Furniture and Decor Elements

When bringing your interior design vision to life, don’t forget to add furniture pieces and decor elements to complete the look and make your space truly come alive. These can be pieces in your budget, or they can be purely aspirational.

Decorative accents, such as pillows, rugs, and curtains, can add personality and tie the room together. Lighting choices can set the mood and highlight specific areas or objects. Artwork and wall decor can be used to showcase your personal style and add a focal point.

By finding unique materials, exploring different palettes, and incorporating pattern and print, you can create a cohesive look that reflects your personal style.

Now, let’s delve into the process of putting together your mood board.

Organizing and Arranging Your Mood Board

two people making a mood board, fabric swatches and paint colours

Once you have gathered all your images and inspiration, it’s time to dive into organizing and arranging your mood board to bring your interior design vision to life.

Start by evaluating different designs and selecting the ones that resonate with you the most.

Experiment with different layouts to find the arrangement that best showcases your ideas.

Don’t be afraid to add personal touches that reflect your unique style and personality.

Seek feedback from others to gain different perspectives and refine your design.

As you arrange elements on your board, consider how they interact with each other and the overall composition. Experiment with different color palettes to evoke the mood you desire in your space.

Editing and Refining Your Mood Board

Crafting a great collage requires carefully curating and refining your mood board. To ensure it embodies the essence of your envisioned aesthetic, utilize various editing techniques and the refining process.

Early on, you’ll probably find you have too many images. It’s important to have a clear direction once your mood board is complete, so you’ll need to stay on track! You can try splitting your collection into two mood boards with slightly different styles or colours, or you can just be ruthless! Stand back and look at the board as a whole; you’ll want to remove anything that doesn’t feel harmonious. Move things around, and if you’re working digitally, try changing the size of certain images. Experiment with different layout compositions to find the most visually pleasing arrangement.

Remember, this isn’t something that’s set in stone! It’s meant to be an inspiration, and can be a work in progress. Don’t worry too much about making it perfect.

Go find some visual inspiration!

I hope you now have a good idea how to create your own interior design mood board. Remember, this process is all about enjoying the planning and exploration. So take your time, and before you know it, you’ll have a stunning mood board that reflects your unique style and vision. So go ahead, let your imagination soar and create the home of your dreams!

mood board, warm orange natural images