Crash course in creating mood boards

You’ve probably noticed designers like to create and share “mood boards” put together prior to actually decorating a room. It’s a good way to make sure the pieces they’re considering will look good together before any purchases are made.

Last spring I started playing around with a mood board for my daughter’s bedroom, and it was so fun—maybe even a little addictive. I never got around to selecting bedding, nightstands, and lighting, but here’s a look:


The wallpaper is from Hygge & West, and it’s gorgeous.

I laid mine out in Photoshop, a great option since I had photos of things I already owned that I wanted to incorporate on the canvas. However, there was nothing fast about this activity; I had to find photos online, crop them, clean up the backgrounds, and try to keep track of where every image came from.

But there are a handful of free, easy-to-use websites where you can create your own boards, no Photoshop required. Since these sites have libraries full of photos of couches, chairs, rugs, beds, artwork, tables, and more, laying out a mood board is a snap. As a bonus, these sites tell you the brand and style of each piece too, making it easy to shop should you like the look.

Here are a couple sites I tried and liked:

Polyvore. I gave myself five minutes to create a Polyvore mood board, and it went so much quicker than I expected. Here was my five-minute effort:


So easy! I literally dragged the images I wanted from the library on the right to the canvas at left. And I didn’t have to create an account to get started—I just clicked “create” and “new” and was decorating a fresh canvas.

Olioboard. I tried this one five years ago in anticipation of buying our house. Here’s the board I came up with back then:


Olioboard is similar to Polyvore but has extra functions like the ability to change colors or crop images. Olioboard also encourages you to create an account, but it isn’t required. If you want to publish to social media or save images, you’ll have to sign in, but if a screen shot is good enough for you (it is for me—I have too many passwords already!), don’t worry about it.

Have you created mood boards before? If so, what program did you use? What tips would you offer? •




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