Does this sound familiar? You know you saw the perfect fabric for your master bedroom makeover—in fact, you planned to base your entire color scheme on this fabric but you can’t quite remember where you saw it or exactly what it looked like because you saw it three months ago when you were out running other errands and now that you’re ready for it: Poof! It’s gone. Well, I’ve got a solution for you. It’s an inspiration board and besides being fun, it can be a lifesaver when it comes to tackling bigger design and redesign projects.

The concept is simple. Before you move a muscle or buy a single item for your project, start an inspiration board. What’s that? It’s typically a sizeable piece of cardboard or foam core board you use to fasten anything that strikes your fancy that you might like to see in in your finished space. Here are some items your board might include:

  • Magazine pictures that show a particular style or piece of furniture you love
  • Paint, flooring, or fabric samples that combine to create a color and texture palette
  • A brochure from a home improvement store of the window treatment you want 

The secret to success with an inspiration is to attach items whenever you see them, so your ideas don’t get lost. Starting out, I suggest using masking tape or painter’s tape to fasten your items. You’re just collecting possibilities at this point so no ideas get lost. And don’t forget to write notes to yourself as to where you found the item you’re attaching. 

When you’re ready to start your project, sort through your possibilities and fasten on items you truly want to use (you may want to do this on the back of your board so your B and C options will always be handy to review on the flip side). This step serves several purposes: 

  • You’ll make good decisions based on all the options you considered
  • You’ll have a preview of how all your elements will fit together in your space—before you buy 10 yards of some odd patterned fabric you loved initially and grew to hate
  • You’ll stay on track—seeing each element and all of the elements together will help you organize a step-by-step work plan
  • You’ll be able to create an accurate budget estimate—don’t forget to use the principles of redesign: consider what you need to purchase new versus what could you make, reuse, recycle or find as a more unique piece in used condition 

When you make your board, don’t hold back. Make everything just the way you would want it, as if you had an endless budget (we can dream, right?). Your inspiration board could help you make tradeoffs in your budget to get just what you want, or motivate you to save extra money until you can afford that beautiful bed you want or the flooring you just can’t live without.

Essentially, an inspiration board is a simplified version of a project board professional interior designers use to present ideas to clients. It’s a great tool and fun to make, too! It’s also a great keepsake. You can look back in 10 years and wonder what on earth you were thinking when you made such crazy choices!

Now, what will you do next to love where you live?


Have design questions for me? Submit them here - or visit our forum to chat with other design and DIY enthusiasts!