Creating a Design Idea Board

Do you find yourself tearing out pictures from magazines or marking sites on the internet that contain decorating ideas that you would ‘someday’ like to try? Am I the only one who has piles of magazine pages laying around, waiting for my filing system to magically sort and organize them for me? Let’s talk about how to put some of those great ideas together, so you can get the bigger picture of what your room could look like.

Idea board, mood board, design board, dream board…no matter what you call them, they are basically a place where you put your ideas together and see what works (and what doesn’t!). I like to start my design boards with an art piece or a fabric inspiration. It is much easier to find a paint color that will look nice with a fabric than it is to find fabric that will go with your chosen paint color. For example, in a bedroom, you might have bedding that you absolutely love, and that can be the starting point for your ideas.

Let’s walk through how I might create a simple design board for a client’s bedroom. I chose this Sketch Duvet Cover and Shams from (1), because my fictitious client likes the look of loose organic lines. Next, I picked a red chunky shag rug (2) from, to pick up the red in the duvet, and add some warmth to the client’s dark hardwood floors. The three blocks of color (3) are suggestions for wall and accent colors (plus black and white as ‘neutrals’). My client wants a light, airy feeling, so I would suggest painting the room the light grey color, and using forms of the other colors in art and accessories. If the client wanted a moody or striking room, one of the darker colors would be a great choice for wall colors. The curving top of the black tufted headboard (4) ties in with the sketchy lines of the duvet, and adds a feeling of elegance without being overly formal. A pair of white tray accent tables (5) work nicely for nightstands and add some fun with the metal X-shaped base. The three pillows (6), all from tie in the accent/wall colors, and could be used on the bed or on a small armchair. Breezy curtains (7) from even come in extra-long for rooms with tall ceilings. Accessories such as this mirror add interesting details to a space, and can be switched out as seasons change. Unique table lamps (9) from add a fun twist with the cage-like base, which also ties in with the duvet’s sketchy lines.

There you have it, a digital design board! I find it easiest to create my boards using online images, but you could easily use magazines or other printed images to create a more tactile board. Good luck!

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