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How to create a mood board for design inspo

Homepolish interior designer Ana Claudia Schultz tells us how the design strategy can help us visualize our remodeling goals.
A mood board can help you visualize your space before you begin remodeling. Photo via Flickr user Alicia Chenaux

Sometimes you look around your home and think that something’s not quite right, but you’re not sure what to change. Do you need to rethink the color scheme in your bedroom? Is it finally time to replace the couch the cat scratched up and kick those drab lamps to the curb? Maybe some greenery will liven up the place

That’s where a mood board comes in: a collage created with images of new furniture, paint or wallpaper swatches, lighting concepts and more design brainstorms so you can see your options in front of you.

“We are all visual people, however, not all of us can visualize,” says NYC-based interior designer Ana Claudia Schultz. “Creating a mood board allows us to see all our selections on one page.” 

Schultz works with Homepolish, a nationwide interior design startup that connects clients with designers who can help them conceptualize and execute their remodeling goals (beginning at $130/hour). 

How do you begin? Schultz recommends picking out one “inspiration image” such as a room that you love. Maybe you got inspired by something you saw on Apartment Therapy or Pinterest. Maybe you want your living room to look like Madeline Martha Mackenzie’s (Reese Witherspoon) on “Big Little Lies.” Your mood board, your vision!

From there, add images of furniture pieces that fit the look you’re going for, but will also work in your real-life space. (If you want your fantasy to come true, you’ve got to be practical). Once you’ve picked out your main items, then add the “layering pieces,” such as rugs, lights, and accessories. 

Your mood board can be virtual or physical. Schultz recommends using PowerPoint — “You can change the size of the images, format them as a collage, and also link images to vendors and stores, making it much easier to keep track of where to buy them,” she says — but if you’re more of a hands-on type, you can print pictures or cut them out from magazines and then pin or paste them on a foam core board. 

Who knows, you might fall in love with your mood board and keep it around even after you’ve completed your reno project. “Put it up on the wall, share your process with friends — but only if it complements your space and design,” says Schultz. “My motto is to fill your home with things that make you happy, but of course try to curate them so it doesn’t look cluttered or overwhelming.”