How to create a Mood Board you can shop from in 8 simple steps

Do you struggle when choosing finishes and colors for your home? 

This tutorial will show step by step you how to create a mood board that you can shop from. It's easy and gets great results. Read on to learn how.


You can do this using magazines or with Pinterest. Veranda, Elle Decor, and House Beautiful are some of my favorite glossies - just gather a stack and start tearing out the pics you love. For Pinterest, create a board (it can be secret or shared with your designer) and put all the images you love there.


Look at your collection of images and start rejecting any that don't fit your home, that you love but couldn't live with, or that don't make you smile the moment you see them. 

For my example I picked a gorgeous design from Carolina Design Associates. It has been pinned over 28,000 times since 2013 and you can see why. If you live in Charlotte NC be sure to look them up.

There is so much to love about this kitchen design, but what really stands out to me is how the island is all about socializing. The base and counter are different materials than the other cabinets, and the distinctive lighting makes it stand out even more - but the best part is that this island has no sink and no stove. It's like a giant built in table in your kitchen. 


Manual instructions - If you are doing this in the real world, use a bulletin board or just tape them to a sheet of paper. You can also use the printout available at the end of this tutorial. To add online images, make a folder on your computer and label it Mood Board. Then just start downloading all your images into that folder. If a website won't let you save a jpg of an image, use the print screen function on your keyboard and paste it into an application like Paint. Then save as a jpg. Print and pin to your board or paper.

Photoshop instructions - If you are doing this on your computer and have some Photoshop skills, create a new file or use the free printout available at the end of this tutorial. 


Naming is important. It helps you to focus and maintain stylistic cohesiveness. For every finish you select you should read your style name aloud and ask yourself if it fits. 

The name can be anything you want. Stay simple (I used 'Traditional' in my example) or go crazy - English Country, Boho Chic, Hollywood Regency. Just use something that fits your image and speaks to you. Follow this link for some decorating style inspiration


These are the elements of a home that take a lot of time or a lot of money to change. Flooring, cabinet style, countertops, and backsplash.

This is the backbone of your design. How you pick them is simple. Look at your 1-3 favorite images. What do you see? Great. Now, copy it. Note styles as well as colors - straight or ogee edge for counters? Recessed or raised panel for cabinet doors? Hand scraped or smooth floors? These details really help define your style. 

Search for these items online and save the images in your folder or print them and pin to your board. If you don't know where to start you can try Build, Wayfair, Floor & Decor, Lumber Liquidators, Bellacor or Lowes


Hardware and lighting is jewelry for your home.

These are elements that can add a lot of personality to your home but are easily changed. Not quite as simple as buying a new throw pillow, but close. Hardware (cabinet pulls and knobs, sink faucets, door knobs, etc) and lighting. 

This is the fun part of your design.  Pick these the same way you did your 4 Immortals - look at your images and copy, copy, copy.  

7. PICK YOUR COLORS (plus some online tips)

This part can be a little nerve-wracking for some. Walls are so big! What if you pick the wrong shade! It will be everywhere!

True, but it is also true that color is one of the easiest things to change in a home and... here is the amazing part... you can try before you commit by painting large samples on your walls! Note: Just be sure to prime your wall first and paint next to your trim so you see the real color - remember, the color you have now won't be there anymore once you paint and it will affect the way you view the paint samples.

Choose 2 colors for walls thru out your home, pick 3 for accents (these can be fabrics, furniture, or art as well as paint) and 1 for trim. Only one. Trim for your whole house should be the same color. PS it doesn't have to be paint, it can be a wood color, too.


There are some online tools I like for identifying colors and you don't need any special equipment to use them. One is ColorZilla, a Chrome web extension. It will be added to your toolbar in the Google Chrome browser. You can use the eyedropper to get the hex code for any color on any website. Once you have the hex code, just type it into the search box on Encycolorpedia and you will get a list of color matches, including all the major paint manufacturers. 

Now go get some paint chips!


Look closely at your inspiration photos and note anything not already covered. Maybe you really want a farmhouse sink - note that. Maybe you love extra wide baseboards - note it. Transom windows above the door? Note. 


That's it. You're done. You should have a beautiful collection of images, colors, and notes that you can use as a reference for every room in your house. Whenever you shop , take the mood board with you and compare it to see if your new purchase will coordinate with your choices.