decorating mood boards. Lela Burris In the New House Designs
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How To Make A Visual Design Plan

The impatience is really kicking in now, my friend. This building-a-house stuff is hard! I want it all done right now and unless there’s a magical house building fairy nearby, it just isn’t going to happen. We’re in the home stretch though, only a month left, and to keep myself from going insane, I started working on a design plan for our House On Gregg.

how to make a design plan with mood boards

I am best friends with design plans. I make them for all of my clients, and sometimes I make them for no one at all, just for fun. Design plans are my absolute favorite thing about being an interior stylist because I can see exactly what’s in my head on a piece of paper. Sometimes what I envision doesn’t exactly work out once it’s all together in print, but by planning it out ahead of time, it saves me hours and days of returning purchases and eye rolls from my husband as I ask him to move a couch for the third time this week.

printed design plan mood boards

While I was at Staples picking up my plans, a lady stopped me and asked if she could see them. She was so impressed with how it was all compiled in a book and begged me to give her the name of my graphic designer. When I told her I made them myself, she just had to know how to do it, too. I never really thought anyone other than designers wanted to make a design plan, but after chatting with her, it made perfect sense.

design plan mood board tips

What Is A Design Plan?

It’s basically a compilation of mood boards to get a feel for the entire vibe of the house. In my design plans, I combine floor plans to scale, furniture and accent pieces, material inspiration, and texture pairings. I start with a page that clearly shows the vibe I’m looking for. If my client loves beach waves and the color pink, this page has the exact photo of the ocean that makes her swoon. And the exact color of pink of her favorite sweater, straight from her very own closet.

Then I go into the next page with fabric, texture, and materials. Again, they don’t have to be something purchasable. I personally love wood tones, so on this page, a thick oak wood slice serves as my inspiration. The following pages consist of room-by-room mood boards and photos of rooms that grab my attention. The purpose isn’t to copy another room, but to pull ideas from them and build your own creativity.

Read More: How To Draw A Floor Plan To Scale

mood boards for redecorating

Ways To Create A Design Plan

There are so many ways, from free and quick to pricey and time consuming. I fall between the two categories. My method is almost free (only about $10) but it’s definitely time consuming. I like to use Canva to design PDFs of my entire plan, then print it all out into a booklet from Staples. Seeing the plan in print just makes it all more real and serves as a road map for me to pull a room together. It also gives clients something tangible to see and look forward to while the process moves along.

Design Plan Creation Options

  • You can use Canva (it’s free!) to build each page as a PDF like I do, then either download and save to your computer or have it printed from a local shop.
  • You can create a file on your computer and save photos and links to reference as you redecorate your house.
  • You can build Pinterest boards with inspo, just be careful not to find yourself mimicking the photos. This is your house, not theirs.
  • You can go old school and glue magazine clippings and computer print-outs onto pieces of paper.

mood board print

Putting The Plan Into Action

The best thing about a design plan is it isn’t concrete. Don’t get caught up spending hours searching for the right pieces in the right price range you know you’ll buy. You don’t have to find the exact wall art or the perfect tv stand. You just find something that inspires you and plug it into your design. Since I print my plan out into a booklet, I take that with me when I shop for pieces. That way when I’m at a store and I see an awesome mid century end table that looks similar to the one in my plan, I already know it’s going to look great in the room.


how designers make mood boards

how to make mood boards

design plan notes page

Get Started

Have a decorating or remodeling project coming up soon? Or are you buying a new house and you are just a forward-thinker like I am? Now’s the time to get started on your design plan! Whether you make a compilation of mood boards like I did or a folder on your computer packed full of inspiration, I promise you’ll get so much benefit from putting your thoughts together visually. And if you need some help along the way, give me a shout! I can always help you get un-stuck.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for great tips. It would be great if you could also create similar “to-do” list for making video room 🙂

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