How to Create a Mood Board (2024)

A step-by-step tutorial to create a mood board on Canva.
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Creating a mood board is my very favourite way to test our different design elements and ideas in a space. It’s the easiest way to see how each different piece fits into the space as a whole and how all of the different elements will come together within a room. It truly is the easiest tool out there to help visualize a finished space!

I’ve created a mood board for each and every space we’ve ever renovated (I’ll link up a few of my favourites below for you, just follow the links on each photo to read more about each space).

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Often, I find myself putting together multiple mood boards for a space to test out different looks or even just to swap out one or two pieces and see how that might look within the room as a whole. A great example of this is our Study – I tested out multiple looks for this space, including both light and dark paint, different flooring options and various furniture and decor pieces. You can check out all of the different looks here and here if you’re curious.

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Every time I share a design mood board for a space, I get questions about how I created it and so, I thought it might be helpful to finally create a tutorial to show you my favourite way to create a mood board. My hope is that you’ll put this strategy to work the next time you find yourself looking to make some changes to a space too.

How to create a mood board

I use a program called Canva to create all of my mood boards. It’s accessed completely online, so nothing to download onto your computer) and there is a free version available. I use the “Pro” version, which does come with a cost, but I use it SO much, it’s worth it to me to have the extra features like branding shortcuts for the colours + fonts I use most, as well as background removal, which automatically removes the background of a photo (super useful when placing different elements into a room). If you’d like to test out these features, you can always try the free trial of the Pro version to see if it’s something that might be worth it for you too.

1. Create a blank document.

From the Canva homepage, select a blank document to start – I’d suggest the one titled “Document (A4 Portrait)” as it’s the same measurements as a typical piece of paper and would be easy to print out if you’d like to.

2. Name your project.

From there, I always start by adding a title to the top of my page so that I can easily remember what project I’m working on. You can do that by selecting “text” on the left hand side and then “add a text box”. Then, simply type whatever title you’d like – I usually name the space I’m working on. You can play around with the font and size using the menu options along the top and move your text box around by clicking and dragging it wherever you’d like (I usually place mine at the top). I’m going to create a bathroom mood board for this tutorial, so that’s what I’ll name my document.

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3. Gather all of the different pieces.

I find it easiest to gather all of the pieces onto a Pinterest Board first, so that there is easy access to all of the pertinent links in one place. I’m going to pull from my Pyramid Bathroom Pinterest Board for this project. The different elements you might need to gather will change depending on the room you’re designing, but here’s a general list of things you may want to consider:

  • paint colours
  • flooring
  • wall coverings (wallpaper, panelling, etc.)
  • lighting
  • plumbing fixtures
  • hardware
  • cabinetry
  • furniture
  • are rugs
  • decor pieces (mirror, plants, art, etc.)
  • window coverings
  • fabrics + textiles
4. Start adding design elements to your document.

Once you have all of the various design elements collected, it’s time to start adding them to your mood board. There are a few different ways you can do this: the first is to simply screen shot a photo of each different element or download a copy to your computer and then upload the photo by clicking the “uploads” button on the left hand side. To add the photo to your mood board, simply click on the image in the grid on the left hand side and it will populate in the centre of your mood board.

The other way that I’ve found to add each element to my mood board is to simply make a copy of each photo (usually by right clicking your mouse) and then paste it right onto my document – you can do this right from your Pinterest board. Canva will automatically add the photo to your “uploads” folder on the left, so you can easily access all of the different elements there if you need to add anymore (for example when you have two of something in a space). I find I prefer this method so that my desktop doesn’t get crowded up with downloaded images.

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Once an image is uploaded, you can resize it by clicking and dragging the markers located on each side and/or corner. You can also move each element around your mood board by clicking and dragging it to your desired location. Sometimes I just add all of the different pieces with no rhyme or reason to where I place them, just to see how the different elements look with one another. But, more times than not, I like to resize and place each piece in the general area of where it will be in the space. So, for example, I will cover much of the background with a wallpaper and then place my vanity, lighting, etc. in front of it to give me a better idea of how each element will actually look in the space. For the mood board below, I actually copy & pasted 4 separate squares of my wallpaper pattern so that I wouldn’t mess with the scale of the pattern too much.

Then, I just followed the same process to upload each additional design element to my mood board.

If you choose to spring for the “Pro” version of Canva, you can go even further and remove the background from your uploaded photos so you get an even better feel of how each element will look in the space. You can see an example of the what a photo looks like with and without a background in the example below. If you’d rather not pay for the “Pro” version, you can simply crop out as much as the background as possible.

As you upload each different element, you can play around with the scale by resizing and adjust the placement by selecting the element and dragging it around your board. If you find you need to move something forward or backward (in front or behind another element), simply click on the image and select “position” from the menu at the top – then you can move the element forward or back between layers on the left hand side (see image below).

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If you wanted to add a larger swatch of your paint colour to better represent a painted wall let’s say, just google image search the paint colour you’re considering and copy and paste a square or rectangular image of the colour sample. Then, you can resize it to create a background true to colour.

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5. Download your design.

Your mood board will automatically save as you make changes, making it easy to create and adjust at your own pace. When you feel like you’re done and you want to be able to share your design, so with a contractor, you can simply download a copy to your computer – then, you’ll have a file to share digitally or print a hard copy. To do this, just click the “share” button in the top right corner and select “download”. Below, you can see how my Bathroom Mood Board turned out (I linked all of the sources too just in case).

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floor tile | wallpaper | toilet | hook | toilet roll holder | towel ring | vanity | sink faucet | medicine cabinet | sconces | shower faucet | cabinet knobs

The easiest way to try out different looks

One of my favourite things about Canva is how simple it is to test out different elements within the design and compare the different looks. This is SO helpful when you’re trying to decide between two different elements within a space (for example two different lighting options you love). To do this, locate the small little square image of your mood board down at the bottom of your screen and click on the three dots in the top right hand corner of it. From that menu, select “Duplicate Page” and Canva will create another copy of your mood board. Then, you can easily swap out whatever element(s) you’re wanting to to test out a different look. You can see an alternate vanity option for my Bathroom Mood Board pictured below.

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I often use this tool to create several variations of a space, testing out different options for lighting, flooring, wallpaper, etc. until I find the perfect combination. Honestly, the possibilities are endless here, but creating a mood board is the best way to help visualize all of the different design options. You can see several variations of our Primary Ensuite below (and find the final design plans here if you’re curious).

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I hope you found this tutorial helpful friends! If you have any questions at all, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Wishing you such a lovely day!

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How to Create a Mood Board (2024)
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