From advice about where to find inspiration to the best crafting materials, two interior designers share their wisdom.

By Caroline Biggs
September 15, 2020
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Mike Krautter

Ask any interior designer and they'll say the same: A good vision board can help streamline an entire design project. "A vision board is a tool used to create a collage of images, fabric swatches, and other small items that tell a design story or convey inspiration for one," explains Breegan Jane. "This process helps to envision the mood and aesthetic you want to achieve and also helps facilitate the manifestation of such goals."

Not only will creating an empowering vision board provide you with inspiration and the opportunity to see an overview of what you want to achieve with your design, Jane says it also allows you to see the bigger picture of the project. "As you create your vision board, you will come across new ideas that might benefit your design as well as ones that don't quite mesh with your concept," she says. "This allows you to edit appropriately and encompass what's best for your overall vision."

Curious about how to design a compelling vision board at home? We asked Jane and interior designer Kendall Wilkinson for their advice, and here's what they had to say.

Timing is everything.

According to Wilkinson, the sooner in the design process you can create a vision board, the better. "It will help guide you to select the right fabrics, colors, and furniture pieces for your project," she explains. Along with ensuring you pick the right items for your space, she says designing a mood board right at the beginning of your project will help focus your ideas along the way. "It's easy to get inspired by images, and a vision board will serve as a reminder of what track to stay on," she says.

Inspiration is everywhere.

Not sure where to look for inspirational images for your vision board? Wilkinson says Pinterest is a great place to start. "Pinterest allows you to scout, edit, and share inspirational images and products, as well as create your own digital mood board, without any mess or waste," she explains. In addition to Pinterest, Jane recommends combing through Instagram, shelter magazines, books, and even flea markets and thrift stores for visuals that speak to you.

Keep an open mind.

When designing a vision board, Jane says it's important to remember that not every image you choose has to be an exact visual representation of what you want for the space. "If you're only interested in one part of an image for your design, such as a gold inlay on a counter, simply highlight these areas with a marker, sticky arrows, or a digital note (if on a computer)," she says. "Nonetheless, feel free to think outside of the box, with patterns, shapes, and textiles, you never know what might wind up working for you."

Set specific goals.

If your design project includes multiple rooms or spaces, Jane suggests creating an initial vision board for what you want to achieve in your overall design, and then making smaller, separate boards for each individual space. "This will help promote cohesiveness with your aesthetic," she says. More importantly, Wilkinson says it's essential to use your vision board to focus your goals for a space, so you can stay inspired and on track throughout the design process. "A vision board without purpose can be inspiring, but it's most useful as a tool with a specific goal in mind," she says.  

Materials matter.

While both interior designers say creating a digital mood board with a program such as Keynote, is a smart way to reduce waste and stay organized, if you prefer doing one old-school style, they have suggestions for that, too. "A cork board is a very effective way to create a vision board because you can organize and move items around freely," Jane says. For pinning pics, fabric swatches, paint samples, and other items, Wilkinson recommends bamboo thumbtacks or marking pins, for a clean and eco-friendly look.

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