How to Design Your Room When You’re Not a Designer

LAST UPDATED: Apr 14, 2021 | PUBLISHED: Oct 03, 2020 | By:

Simple tips to design your room in your very own interior design mood board, without a room design app, software or any experience! Get the secrets and learn how to make a mood board in the easiest possible way.

It’s so much easier than you might think! These tips and tricks for creating an interior design mood board will have you envisioning a brand new space in no time at all.

I am not a designer, I am merely a design enthusiast that loves decorating our homes for our family. Through the years, I’ve found several ways to make design easier, even foolproof.

mood board of laundry room
mood board with laundry carts and ironing board

I always love sharing design inspiration with you! Especially when it saves us money or time, right? Don’t skip my posts about Vintage Turkish Rugs, Easy DIY Wall Decor, Coastal Modern Home Decor, and Adding Character to a New Home.

You don’t need a room design app or special software to design your room. Fancy software is nice, but intimidating.

Where to Begin for an Interior Design Mood Board

  1. Determine your style.
  2. Use catalogs and magazines as your guide. Study room layouts and consider what might work well in yours.
  3. Pin your favorites to a board dedicated to the space, then pare it down. Ask yourself common themes that you see among them all.
  4. Save any images you find of products you’d like to envision in the space.
  5. Use Microsoft Word or Canva. While it’s nice to have fancy design software or a room designer, it’s not required! In fact, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to use one! Instead, I determine everything for how pieces coordinate with one another to room layout in Microsoft Word or Canva. See more on how I do this below!
mood board with rugs chairs lamp and art

The art in the mood board above is actually available free in the public domain!

You can see below how I gather materials to see what plays well together before inserting into a photograph of the space. This helps visualize to see if it not only works, but works in the space.

An Interior design mood board of a white kitchen.
An Interior design mood board of a white kitchen.

Try the Old-Fashioned Mood Board Method

  1. Cut and paste photos, fabrics and more onto foam board. There’s nothing like doing things the old fashioned way and you can see and feel how colors and textures play together.
  2. Measure. Knowing the dimensions of a room can help ensure you purchase pieces to scale.
  3. Shop!  You can read about how to get the same piece/look for less here, or shop via my curated online store here! Be sure to check dimensions before you purchase and consider how they play into your room measurements.
An interior design mood board for a modern bathroom.

This is an example of a bathroom mood board… come see how this modern bathroom turned out!

How to Make a Mood Board

  1. Create a new folder on your desktop.
  2. Find the images you want to use. Drag and drop them into the folder or right click to save image to the folder. {Remember, these are for your personal use only as they are copyrighted}.
  3. Create a new Word Document or Canva layout and if needed, change page layout to landscape.
  4. Individually drag and drop each image one by one to the document. Crop images if needed and change the format to “in front of text”.
  5. Once all of your images are in your document, resize and rearrange as needed.

You can see how the room layout will work, how patterns, textures and colors look together as well. I do this for every room I design from “scratch” {rather than along the way} or before making big purchases.

This even works for exterior spaces! See these examples of a mood board in process for our new deck at the lake.

Screenshot of a tutorial for how to make a mood board, deck design in progress.
Screenshot of a tutorial for how to make a mood board, deck design in progress.
Screenshot of a tutorial for how to make a mood board.
Screenshot of a tutorial for how to make a mood board.
How do interior designers use mood boards?

Mood boards are a layout of inspirational ideas and elements that designers often use at the start of a new design project. While they are used in all areas of design, interior designers use them to help a client envision the look and feel of a space and the elements they are suggesting.

What should be on a mood board?

That’s entirely up to you! That’s what makes it so much fun. You can consider a variety of colors, decorative accessories, inspirational images of nature or design that evoke a certain feeling. For an interior design mood board, gather your inspirational elements from stores and place them together to see how they look!

Tutorial of how to make a mood board for a modern bedroom

What to Include in an Interior Design Mood Board

You can see an example here – above is how I designed the lake cottage guest bedroom. I played around with it on Word until I loved the design.

A few elements you might want to include in an interior design mood board:

  • hard flooring
  • rugs
  • lighting
  • furniture
  • bedding and throws
  • pillows
  • towels
  • hardware
  • paint colors
  • window treatments
  • appliances
  • decorative accessories

Here, I included the rug, furniture, a couple accessories, textiles and paint color. You can see how it came to fruition below…

Looking inside a white bedroom with a black and white photo on the wall over the bed.

I changed the orientation of the rug, selected a different lamp {the one I originally chose wasn’t available soon enough}, added bamboo shades, a drum shade pendant light and a piece of art.

Looking inside a white bedroom with a black and white photo on the wall over the bed.

This method makes designing nearly foolproof!

What do you think? Have you designed this way or will you try it?

bathroom mood board with vanity mirror and sconces

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Another designer trick? How to find the source of an image. Sometimes you’ll find something you love in an image but you have no idea where to look to see if items are named. This little trick will help you find them every time!

Check Out Some of My Recent Room Designs