How to Create a Mood Board to Design Your Room

Looking for a way to create a mood board using free online tools? Learn how to create a mood board quickly and easily using the free online software Canva.

Have you ever wondered how to create a mood board? It’s one of the first steps in decorating any space, but it can be hard to figure out which program to use and how to get started. If you want to see some of my favorite design boards I’ve created over the years, you can see my primary bathroom mood board here, little girl’s room mood board here, and all of the rest here.

How to Create a Mood Board with Canva

Follow along on YouTube

In this post and the corresponding video, I’m going to teach you how to create a mood board using the free online graphic design tool, Canva. I chose Canva because it’s extremely user-friendly and also — like I already mentioned — free. Although I make most of my own mood boards in Photoshop, that’s simply because Canva didn’t exist when I taught myself and I’m already accustomed to that method! You can easily make a beautiful mood board in Canva without having to subscribe to something as expensive as Creative Cloud.

Why Should You Create a Mood Board?

First off, why should you create a mood board? The reason is that it provides a visual guide for you and anyone you bring to your team in designing your space.

While I think this is helpful for anyone, it’s particularly helpful to keep you on track if you’re a visual person. For me personally, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s difficult for me to communicate my vision for a space with words alone. What seems really obvious and clear to me in my head isn’t necessarily clear or obvious to those I’m working with (including my husband). The mood board takes the guesswork out of this step and provides a clear reference to keep everyone on the same page or to make adjustments as needed.

Although there are many options out there for creating mood boards, I chose a method to teach you that’s easy and free to get started: how to create a mood board in Canva, which is a free and user-friendly online graphic design app. That way you can jump into creating a mood board and get started decorating your room ASAP!

How to Create a Mood Board on Pinterest

Before we jump into Canva, we’re going to do some inspiration mining. For this, of course, we’ll visit Pinterest. I always begin by creating a new board for my project. Honestly, you could also just follow the next two steps if you aren’t interested in creating a mood board that you can print out and hold in your hands. A Pinterest board acts as a mood board by itself!

What Should I Include In my Mood Board?

Here are some examples of what I may want to Pin to my board: any design elements for the room such as fabric ideas, area rugs, paint colors, wood finishes, furnishings. Once I have a general idea, I’ll begin sourcing.

If you’re interested in learning how to source, I created a mini class all about sourcing furniture with a few handy tricks I’ve learned over the years. It also includes a lesson on mood boards with some bonus tips thrown in. You can find it here!

It’s important during this step to begin keeping track of item links. I actually create a Google spreadsheet with the source information as well as a price to try to keep track of budget. I’ll have the information in more than one place, but it’s helpful to have a collection of the links. Additionally, you can Pin any items you source to your Pinterest board for easy shopping. 

Save the Images to a Folder

After I have some keywords for the elements of my room, I’ll use Google Images and begin to save the correct materials and furnishings to my folder. For this Family Room example, I happen to have already collected a lot of items over the years, so I’m grabbing those images from the different websites. I spend many hours sourcing and finding items, so I won’t make you watch that whole process, but you can learn my method in the sourcing bonus video! 

Open Your Template in Canva

After we’re satisfied that we’ve gathered all of the images we need to create a mood board for our space, we can visit Canva. I’ve created a handy template that you can make a copy of to use for your design.

Get your free mood board template here

Once you’ve made a copy, you can go ahead and change the label. Then you’re ready to begin! Like I mentioned, Canva has a ton of flexibility and is extremely user-friendly. I happen to have the paid version for a couple of reasons— one is because I can quickly create graphics for things like Instagram stories. The other is the ability to remove background from images. Here’s what I mean. 

Instructions

  1. Gather your inspiration by creating a Pinterest board.
  2. Organize your images in a folder on your computer desktop.
  3. Save your links on Pinterest and/or a Google Spreadsheet.
  4. Make a copy of the Mood Board Template.
  5. Upload your photos to Canva.
  6. Follow the steps shown in the video to add and adjust your photos to create a mood board.
  7. Once you’re happy with the placement, you can add your links.
  8. Download your completed mood board as a PDF.

Pin showing primary bathroom mood board with screenshot of canva tutorial.

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