How to create a mood board like a designer

Giving you the inside tips on how to create an interior design mood board and plan a space when you’re not a designer. Sharing the tips and tricks that real designers use for client presentations.

Simple tips to create a designer mood board, collage, and room edit plus the different programs you can use on any budget.

3 types of Interior Design Mood Boards

Collages

Creating an interior design collage is a great way to visualize how different pieces of furniture and colors in a space will fit together, especially when you are still in the planning stages.

Pro Tips:

  • Add an inspiration or two, to the page to ensure you stay on track with the mood of the space
  • Remove the background of the image
  • Arrange the items as if they were in the space ex. place a table lamp on the table, pillows on the sofa

Mood boards

Creating interior design mood boards are the next step after you have an idea of the space and how you want it to look. They are a useful tool to get an idea of how a space might look when it’s finished. It is also very useful when you are still shopping for a few more items because you can easily add items into the space to see if it works or not.

Pro Tips:

  • Set the background image to the wall color of the space
  • Remove the background of the image
  • Start from the walls and build from there
  • Layer your items ex. place a table lamp on the table, pillows on the sofa

Room Edits

Room edits are another type of mood board and a way to see how your space will look with existing walls, furniture and more. This is very useful if you are able to clear out the space and take a photo of just the “bare bones”

Pro Tips:

  • Line up your photo, you want to take it face on so you can easily and realistically add items in the space and have them look more natural rather than out of place
  • Remove unnecessary items from the “shot.” If you are planning a bedroom refresh but keeping the bed frame and nightstands, remove everything else! Remove lamps, decorative accessories, pictures etc. This makes it easier to add the elements into the space without them competing with what is in the space already
  • Use “shapes” and lines to add in architectural elements ex. the image below showing a mock-up of my range hood is a combination of squares, triangles, and lines in the color of my paint, and “detail” and depth was added using darker lines.

TIP: Looking to “try out” some art in your space? Use painters tape to tape the size of the art or frame onto the wall. Take a photo and import it into whatever program you like to use. Then layer photos of the art overtop of the image. This gives you a realistic preview and scale of how the art is going to look. This is especially helpful for creating art walls and collages!

Different programs

Listing my favorite programs to create collages, mood boards, and room edits in the order of preference. Listing the pros and cons of each!

Canva

Canva is my go to for making collages, mood boards, and room edits. The reason is that they have an integrated tool to remove the backgrounds of an image (this is available in Canva Pro – you have to pay for Pro). This makes it seamless to important screenshots of potential items, remove the background and place them. I also love that you can have the app downloaded on your phone and use it on the go, whether you’re in a store and want to import an item to try in the space, or just want a bit more flexibility. I only started using canva for my mood boards more recently!

An example of a mood board made in Canva:

PowerPoint

PowerPoint used to be my top choice for making mood boards because they also have an integrated way to remove backgrounds from images! You can use it in a similar way to Canva, but it is less flexible. You probably want to use it on your computer rather than phone/tablet. It’s also more time consuming to find the items, save the images and import them, though there is the possibility of copy and paste. Why did I stop using this method? I found it wasn’t mobile friendly enough. I like the ability to easily pull out a design whether I’m on the go or in front of the TV, this was more challenging with PowerPoint.

An example of a room edit I made in PowerPoint

Google Slides

Google slides is the best free option that I have come across. I love it for that reason, but also like canva, it is mobile friendly. Your design is saved online and you can easily access it no matter where you are and regardless of the device you are using, whether it’s mobile or desktop. I also know many design firms use these to make collages and mood boards for design presentations because many users can access and edit the file at once since it is web-based.

An example of a collage I made in Google Slides

What you might want to include

Here are a few helpful elements that you might want to include if you are making a collage, mood board, or room edit

  • paint colors
  • flooring
  • wallpaper
  • tile
  • art
  • décor
  • curtains/blinds or other window treatments
  • furniture
  • lighting
  • rugs
  • cabinet hardware
  • appliances
  • soft furnishings: pillows, throws, towels

Canva How-to

Setting up your canva, and setting the wall color

  1. Log in to Canva
  2. Click “Create a design” in the top right corner
  3. Select the size, I often pick presentation or Instagram story. This depends on if I plan to edit on my phone, or if it’s for a client to view as a computer presentation
  4. Find a picture of your wall paint color. If it’s Benjamin Moore, Google an image of the colour, copy & paste it onto your Canva “canvas”
  5. Click anywhere on the “canvas” then select the Rainbow coloured square towards the upper left of the screen. Then near the upper left, under “Document Colors” Click the Rainbow Square with a big + in the centre. Then select the eyedropper tool, and then click your “paint chip” image. Now you’ve got your wall color! Delete the paint chip image after the wall color is set.

Adding images and removing the background

  1. Find an image you want to add to your Canva
  2. Copy & paste it into Canva OR on the left side of the screen click “Uploads” and upload your images saved from your device.
  3. Once your image is added crop the image to remove unnecessary parts, this is especially important if you are importing screenshots from your phone. You can either select the image, and click the crop button near the top left on the white bar OR click the sides of the image and drag them inwards to crop.
  4. When your image is still selected, click “Edit Image” towards the top left of the website on the white bar. Then select “BG Remover.” This tool is especially great on a desktop because you can Erase or Restore parts of the image that Canva may have accidentally removed, this isn’t possible on the mobile app version. ex You want to remove the background of a mirror and Canva removed the reflective mirror inside the frame, and you want to restore it.

Layering Images

Layering images is a very handy tool to use when you are creating mood boards and room edits because you want to layer the different items to make the space seem more realistic. For example if you have a sofa, a rug, and some pillows. You would want to rug to be under the sofa, and the pillows on top of the sofa

  1. Once you have multiple images imported into your canvas, right click on the image that needs to be layered “on top” of the other image. For example, a sofa needs to be on top of the rug, so I am going to right click on the sofa.
  2. Select “Bring to front”
  3. You can continue to do this with all of the items on the canvas either sending them to the back, or to the front.
  4. Note: You can also send them backwards or forwards which means only sending it back one image. Ex. If you have a sofa, a rug and some pillows and you only want to send the sofa back to be behind the pillows but on top of the rug, this is what you’d select.
  5. I promise once you get the hang of it, it will be so useful!

PowerPoint Video Walk Through

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