How to capture and review your interior design ideas and selections by creating a professional-looking sample board

Last Updated on February 26, 2024 by

A sample board can give you a clear indication of how the interior decorating design selections for a room/home/workplace will look when placed together. In this article, the tools and materials needed to create a sample board are listed. Also included is a step-by-step guide on how to create your sample board. As well as some tricks of the trade are revealed to help you create a professional looking board that can bring your interior designing ideas to life.

Interior Design Concept Board created by Rosena On

Interior designers, interior decorators, wedding planners, landscape designers, architects, fashion designers and design students often create sample boards to give the client/tutor an idea of the design proposal they have developed.

Note: Sample boards are also known as mood boards or concepts boards

Designers place the color samples, images of the selected furniture, examples of the materials to be used and accessories selected for the project on a board. The number of sample boards created depends on the size of the project. Small one-room projects usually only need one board. Larger projects may need a number of different sample boards.

Some examples of different types of sample boards

  • Color (often used by color consultants)
  • Furniture
  • Drawings (perspective)
  • Plans (floor plans)
  • Materials (carpets and laminates etc.)

There are a number of reasons why designers use sample boards. Firstly they can be used as a way of communicating interior designing (design) ideas. It can also be used to act as a reference tool during the life of a project. The tools need to make a board include the board, tape, adhesive, Stanley knife and labels.

Sample Board created by Rosena on

 Tools needed to create a sample board

  • Board (paper, foam, illustration, museum boards, or Gator board for heavy materials)
  • Tape (masking, double sided, Velcro for heavy items)
  • Cutting tool (Stanley knife, pinking shears, sharp scissors)
  • Rulers (metal for cutting, scale rule for measuring)
  • Pens and pencils (felt tip, soft pencil, colored pencils, colored pens)
  • Adhesive (Clear all purpose, spray adhesive)
  • Cutting mat
  • Labels (usually white)

The size of the board selected to create the sample boards usually depends on the size of the project. In these eco friendly times, the smallest board size possible should be used for the project. The most common sizes used by designers are A2 or A1.

Wedding Inspiration Board created by Rosena on

Creating the board

  • Most designers leave a border of at least 1cm from the top and the 2 sides of the board
  • A larger space is left at the bottom of the board
  • The border can be colored to coordinate with the color scheme of the interior designing idea
  • Or the board can be same colour as the main colour in the scheme with another board used to create mounts for each item.

Tip:  A sample paint pot of the color to be used in the room could be used for the border or the space inside the border

  • Work out the size for each item (for example the carpet sample would be bigger than a lamp)
  • Trim the items to be placed on the board
  • Fabrics can be cut with pinking shears to stop fraying
  • If more than one room is involved in the project then each board should be labeled (living, bedroom etc.)
  • Create labels for each item (labels can be created on your computer or by hand)

Tip: Have all the tools and items ready before you begin

  • Position each item on the board according where they would be placed in the room (for example carpet at the bottom of the board, ceiling paint sample at the top of the board)
  • When you are happy with the arrangement you can use adhesive to place each item in place
  • Remember Velcro can be used for heavy items (tiles, timber….)

Tip: A hairdryer can be used to remove some glued items if they have been position incorrectly

Fashion Concept Board created by Rosena on

The eco friendly way to create interior design sample boards

Many designers are now creating interior design sample boards electronically. Last year, I wrote a tutorial on how to create a sample board using Word Publisher. This was before I discovered the wonderful website

SampleBoard is a brilliant, easy-to-use, eco friendly, concept creator online tool created by designers for designers. The same principles can be applied when creating a sample board electronically as those mentioned above. However, there are different schools of thought on the subject of interior design online. The most important thing is that interior design sample boards are clear, easy-to-follow and is self explanatory.

Landscape Concept Board created by Rosena on

You can create a visual representation of your interior designing ideas/design ideas with an interior decorating or design concept board/sample board. I have created some concepts boards and included them in this blog to give you an idea of how concept boards created a look.

Most items you select for your boards on have (when board is viewed) details of each product used and you can use the board and information as a reference point to keep the project on track.

Author: Rosena MacFadzean for - the digital moodboard editor for the Creative Industries

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