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Mood Board vs. Design Boards

Mood Boards vs. Design Boards

You may have heard the buzz words mood board and design board before. Especially if you are familiar with the interior design industry. These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are actually two different things. Designers use both throughout the design process, and they help our clients and us at different stages. 

Mood Board vs. Design Boards

The Mood Board

Mood Board: (Noun) an arrangement of images, materials, and pieces of text, intended to evoke or project a particular style or concept. 

Mood boards are the beginning of the project for us. As the definition suggests, this is a visual way to convey the overall feel or vibe you want for a space. We spend time with our clients to determine how they intend to use the space and what they need from it. Do they entertain a lot and wish for a living room that conveys a sense of energy that is fun, and lively? Are we focusing on their family room? In which case, they may describe the feeling to be relaxing, cozy, a place to unwind and connect. This is a totally different atmosphere compared to the first example, and their mood boards would convey different emotions and feelings. 


 As a designer, I often find that I’m picking up on cue words from conversations with clients. Translating those words into visuals such as color palettes that ultimately become real-world items in their home. You could say that designers are actually translators. Instead of languages, we translate words into visuals as design elements. These elements in the home will begin to define and support the lifestyle of the people living there, and that is the real magic of design. The way we progress through the design process from “It feels so, X and I wish it were more Y” to a finished space that supports our clients’ desires is definitely a road to discovery. So, trust the process, and believe in each step you take. The result will be a better-finished product in the end.  

I love to start with a mood board, and there are many ways to put one together. Above is a quick tutorial on how to create a mood board using Canva. We often ask clients to use Pinterest to gather images that they love and tell us why. We also love when they include things they enjoy doing and just overall visions for what they wish to live in the space with them. The mood board collage is not intended to define any actual items to purchase but simply groups images that show our client’s beauty, love, and vision for their interiors. There is no need to be grounded in reality at this point. Just because you’re remodeling a master bedroom doesn’t mean your mood board shouldn’t include garden scenery photos. This is a chance for your mind to run free and to truly be inspired.

Inspiration Floor Plan

The Design Board

Design Board: (Noun) Design boards are often referred to as a concept board. This presentation tool will help you visualize what real-life items to include in your design and how they would look together. This is a great way to virtually put a room together and see if there’s one item that sticks out, as just being not quite in harmony with the others!

Design boards become a little more concrete and begin paving the way to the finished design scheme. 


Design boards will contain actual items you’re interested in or at least styles you are searching for purchase. This is the stage where you are defining the pieces needed to create the desired overall feel for the room that was defined by the mood board. The mood board will be a great guide to work alongside in this stage, to help you stay focused on your goal for the space. While the design board will help you see how the actual items are fitting together visually.Mood Board

Are you starting to see the pieces come together? 

When you combine these tools, they are a compelling way to organize your thoughts for a cohesive space and pull together a polished look with an actionable plan for moving ahead with a project. The translation from client to the designer, back into a client’s space is an interchange wondrous to behold.

Do you have an upcoming project you’d like to see a mood board for? Look no further friends. We have done all the work for you already. Our Room Recipes are the perfect tool to help you pull those pieces together for a flawless design. The mood boards, the design board with all the pieces to create a beautiful space and even where to buy them.  It’s the shortcut to a finished room.  Share your projects and ideas with us, and we would love to work with you to bring that feeling home for you and your loved ones. Always be on the lookout for inspiration. You never know when an idea will hit you. 




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