...because home doesn't happen overnight.

By now you should be all set up with your polyvore account and have several items of interest clipped/added under the ‘my items’ tab. Let’s get down to the business of placing items on a mood board. Go ahead and log into your polyvore account.

Once you’re logged in, click ‘create.’

To access all the items you’ve clipped and added to your polyvore account, click ‘my items.’

All of your items should be on the right side of the empty mood board. Choose an item to add to your mood board. I’ll be starting with the bedding my sister has already purchased for her bedroom. You can either click on the item and ‘add to set’ OR simply drag the item onto the mood board.

Your item will appear in your mood board. Once the item is there and highlighted, you have three options. The first option is to let polyvore crop the image for you as shown above with the first box in the upper right hand corner of the mood board highlighted in orange. If you are using an item that wasn’t ideal {remember, simple large images with no/little background are best!}, your image may appear distorted – like mine. I appreciate that polyvore is trying to save me a step but this isn’t going to work.

The second option, as shown by the second box in the upper right hand corner of the board highlighted in orange, lets you use the original image as-is without any cropping. This isn’t bad but it could look better with a little cropping action.

By selecting my item and clicking the third ‘custom’ box in the upper right hand corner of the mood board, you will be given the option to crop the image yourself. A box will pop up with your item in it. To the right of the image are any saved cropped images. These are images that you or someone else may have cropped and saved already. If you see one you like, great! Select it and click ‘ok’ to add it to your mood board. If not, then it’s time to get cropping.

If your item isn’t perfectly square in shape, you’ll want to choose the first cropping option indicated by the first gray box to the left of ‘click to draw a path’ above your image. This allows you to cut in around the item for a close crop. The second box – directly next to ‘click to draw a path’ – is a more basic crop that closes in around the image in a square/rectangular fashion.¬†Since my item isn’t square in shape, I choose to cut in around the image.

There is a learning curve when it comes to cropping and you’ll get better with practice. My advice is to crop in as close as possible to your image. If any traces of background are left, you will have a sliver of space around your item. This gives items that cartoon-y or cut-and-paste look that makes mood boards look like preschool projects instead of inspiration.

Once the image is cropped to your liking, click ‘save’ so you can use it again if necessary without going through the entire cropping process. Then click ‘ok’ to add the cropped image to your mood board.

See how my custom cropped image now has a crisp look without a shadowed background, unlike the original image? And it looks waaaaaay better than the version that polyvore automatically cropped. Not every item you add to your mood boards will need such TLC but proper cropping gives a polished look which is great for boards that you’ll be posting to a blog or sharing with clients.

To enlarge or shrink your item, click on it then move one of the corner boxes in or out. To pivot an item, click on it then move the circle, top center.

Continue adding items to your mood board. A few words of advice:

*Keep the overall shape of the board square. Polyvore automatically centers boards into a square shape. You can see what your mood board will look like after polyvore centers it by clicking the small circle with a black dot in it on the left hand side of the board. It helps me to place round or circular items near the center of the board and straighter items along the perimeter.

*Think about where you’d like to place text on your mood board. Leave ample space along the top or bottom of the board if you’ll be giving it a title. Leave pockets of space around images to number, point at or briefly describe them. You can always rearrange your items after you add text, but it’s something to keep in mind when playing around with the layout.

*Use the shortcut buttons at the top of the board when applicable. ‘Remove’ items that don’t work. ‘Flop’ or ‘flip’ items to transpose them. ‘Clone’ items that you need more than one of…table lamps, nightstands, chairs, etc. Move items ‘forwards’ or ‘backwards’ for a layered effect. Layering is especially useful when trying to visualize one item on top of another {i.e., a lamp on a table or a pillow on a couch}. Sometimes you will have to click the ‘forwards’ and ‘backwards’ buttons several times before your image moves. I don’t know why.

*Arrange items in a visually pleasing manner. Pay attention to the different colors, textures and materials incorporated on your board. Don’t place all the white items at the top and all the colored items at the bottom. Place items of the same material on opposite sides of your board. This keeps your board from becoming too heavy in one area. It’s much like decorating a room but on a smaller level.

*Save a draft of your mood board.¬†Odds are you aren’t going to complete a mood board in one sitting. You may still need to find a few items for your board. You might become frustrated with your board or the items you’ve already chosen. Or, if you’re anything like me, you will probably get interrupted {by kids, housework, mealtime, errands, etc.} and simply need to step away. Save, save, SAVE so all your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

Find your saved drafts under the ‘my sets’ tab.

Tonight your homework is to add items to your mood board. Practice cropping, using the shortcut buttons and moving your items around on the board. Don’t forget to save your draft so you’ll be able to edit it tomorrow when we add embellishments and publish {!} final drafts.

Happy cropping, flipping and flopping!

Refer to Parts I and II of this tutorial series if you’re just tuning in.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



I used to use Polyvore all the time to make fashion sets! It’s really interesting to read about how it can be used for mood boards — I will definitely have to try making an interior design set sometime soon!

The reason that it takes a couple of clicks to move an item forward or backward is because each click moves the item in front of one other item in the set. If you have a rug, table, and lamp in your set, and you want to move the rug behind the table, it might take a couple of clicks, because the first click will move the rug behind the lamp, and the second click will move the rug behind the table. You just don’t see this happening because the rug doesn’t overlap the lamp or vice versa. The forward button doesn’t work as “send to front” button…it’s more like a “make this item in front of one other item” button. (I hope I made a little bit of sense…it might be more clear if you take three items and have them all overlap each other, then play with the forward and backward buttons.)

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replied on September 6th, 2012

Thanks for the clarification!

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I’ve been doing this all night- so fun!! And surprisingly addicting…

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Olioboard.com is another one that is devoted just to interiors (not fashion, etc.). Pretty user friendly.

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replied on September 7th, 2012

Olioboard is definitely another option for anyone looking to make mood boards! I’m just sharing how I make mine. That doesn’t mean it’s the best, right or easiest method. I can’t attest to olioboard as I’ve never used it but the boards I’ve seen created via the site look cartoon-y to me, so that’s why I passed on it.

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i love the simple black and the simple stainless pendants. can you tell me where you clipped them from? I would like something similar for over my kitchen sink.

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replied on September 7th, 2012

Most of those are from Lamps Plus. We order from them regularly. Can you tell I’ve been on a lighting kick lately? Still trying to find that perfect light for our bedroom.

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replied on September 7th, 2012

WHat about the small round capiz west elm chandy? It is like a minerature of what was in your old DR. I just love that little capiz light!

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replied on September 9th, 2012

It could definitely work. It would be a great feminine contrast to the other masculine pieces in the room. Hmmm….


How did you get the solid color paint swatch to show up? I’ve clipped images from Valspar directly and from myperfectcolor.com. Both of them show up as only a small text portion of the image and not the larger square showing the whole color when I look at them in “My Items”. It’s as if polyvore cropped them in the clipping process. Thanks!

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replied on September 10th, 2012

Hmmm…try googling the paint name for another image.

Sometimes polyvore will prompt you to say that an exact color match can’t be made or something like that and ask if you want to clip anyway. Agree to clip anyway.

You can always use an image with text as well. Just crop out a little square of the color with no text then enlarge it. Hope that helps!

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Thank u so much for sharing with us how you make a mood board! We just recently created an account, I know this maybe a silly question but what do you normally type in to search for the item you’re looking for? I’ve tried putting in “decor” but the results are usually very vague and general. Do you put in a specific name of the item?

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replied on September 12th, 2012

When searching for an item, I try to be as specific as possible. For instance, if I’m looking for an image of a bedside light with an industrial aesthetic I’ll type in “industrial table lamp” or “industrial sconce”. Hope that helps!

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