How to Create a Mood Board Using Canva

Note: This post was originally published in 2016, with steps to create a mood board, using Polyvore. Since Polyvore is no longer in business, I switched to Canva and I love it! Here’s my updated mood board tutorial. 

One of the first things I do when designing a space is create a mood board. It’s such a great way to visualize paint colors, furniture, and decor items BEFORE you get to work purchasing anything! While I feel like I can look at an empty room and see the potential, it’s sometimes hard for me to explain my vision to Finn. I find that it’s always a good idea to present him with a mood board, so he can get a good sense of what I want to do and he can get excited about the design!

Boy nursery design plan

Nursery Design Plan

While I use Adobe Lightroom to edit all of my photos for the blog (you can find my Lightroom tutorial here), I am not proficient with Photoshop. It’s a bit too overwhelming for me and I’ve found that I end up wasting hours of time just trying to create a simple mood board.

Instead, I use the program Canva. It’s totally free for anyone to use (although I did upgrade to the pro service and I’ll share more details below), so it’s a great resource for anyone looking to create a mood board. I encourage EVERYONE to play around with different looks, via mood boards, before shopping for a new space. This simple, free step has helped me design with intention, so I’m never a victim of design regret.

our main bedroom design plan

Main Bedroom Reveal

For example, the mood board for my main bedroom design was incredibly helpful as I figured out what would work best in the space. After seeing the wood nightstands in the original plan, I realized that I needed to add something a bit darker to the room, and I opted for black nightstands, instead. The mood board helped me easily come to that conclusion!

Step-by-Step Mood Board TutorialThe nursery design planMy mood board tutorial - how to create a design plan for your space

Rory’s Nursery Reveal

I often get questions about how to create a mood board, so I figured I would break down my mood board tutorial  right here. And while I talk a lot about Canva today, this not sponsored in anyway! It’s just the platform that I happen to use for my business.

Sign Up for CanvaCanva mood board tutorial

Head to canva.com and sign-up in the upper right corner. You can use an email account or sign up with your Google account. Once you’ve signed up, you’re ready to create your first mood board.

Create a DesignCreate a custom size for your design

In the upper right corner, you’ll find a button that says, “Create a design”. Here you’ll be presented with various sizes for your graphic. For me, I use a custom size that is ideal for Pinterest (735×1102), but you can choose a size that works for your project. How to make a mood board using Canva

At the top, where it says “Untitled design”, you can change it to the name of your project. Then, the left side of the screen has everything you need to get started. You can add text, peruse the photos they already have, or upload your own.

Upload Your Own Photossearching for a paint color

Since I’m often creating mood boards with pieces of furniture or paint colors, I have to upload my own images. To do this, I’ll just find the image on its website, or via Google, right click it to save it to my desktop, and then upload via Canva. For example, I knew I wanted the color “Tarrytown Green”, by Benjamin Moore, for my nursery mood board. I simply searched Google to find it, saved it, and then uploaded it to Canva. Mood board to tutorial

Remove the Background

background removal tool

I usually create mood boards on a white background, so I can really see the products and how they work together. However, if you have a picture that you save and it doesn’t have a white background, it can ruin the look of your entire board. (See the olive tree above.) Or, if you want to layer items, they will still have the white background and it can be hard to create a cohesive look.

Canva has a “background remover” tool if you upgrade to the pro version, which I believe is $12 a month. It might not be a necessary purchase if you’re not making mood boards regularly, but if you’re a blogger like me, it’s money well spent!

Once you press that button, the background will be removed. It doesn’t work perfectly all the time, and sometimes you have to manually remove and restore some pieces of your image. But it is such a big time saver for me!

Use Images from Canva

Use photos from Canva

Canva also has a great library of photos to choose from. If I’m sharing an image of a planter, I’ll sometimes search the Canva library for a plant to pop inside of it to make it look a bit more realistic. Or perhaps I want to add hardwood floors to the mood board, I can search that right there and often times I’ll find a good option.

Add Text

add text to your mood board

At any point, you can add text, symbols, or special effects to your mood board. I usually wait until the very end of the process to add text, numbers, and arrows, but you can choose to do this step whenever you want. There are so many text options to choose from. I typically choose the same text every time to keep my mood boards somewhat familiar to readers, but you can have some fun with these fonts and test out a lot of different looks!

Download your Mood Board

mood board tutorial save your design

The good thing is, Canva continuously saves your work, so you don’t have to save manually, over and over again. Once your mood board is all set, you can download it.

You’ll find this in the upper right corner. (It’s an arrow symbol.) Just hit this and it will give you lots of options for downloading and saving.

Reference Your Mood BoardSet a reminder on your phone to change your air filter

While I often save the mood board to my desktop to share on the blog, I’ll save it to my phone too. That way I can easily reference the design plan when I’m out and about, shopping, or searching for more items for a space. It’s super helpful to have this as a reference guide.

Jan's guest bathroom mood board

Mood board tutorial, how to create a design plan

Jan’s Guest Bathroom Reveal

Whether you’re a blogger, looking to create more mood boards, or you’re just looking to get your partner on board with the new dining room design, I hope this tutorial helps you visualize your space and plan accordingly. I promise that these mood boards are pretty easy to create and WELL worth the time throughout the design process.

Casey

Mood Board Tutorial using Canva