How To Create a Concept Board For Interior Design Project

June 26, 2014

The work on my 3rd Module with KLC is moving forward, though I’ve been procrastinating with it for such a long time (it is really hard sometimes to push it and stay organised with studies with so many other tasks to do – the best thing is to work on projects every single day: even 15 minutes is better than nothing). The biggest challenge for me is lack of feedback, so I keep working on the same thing for an incredible amount of time, trying to get the “perfect” result, which I think will please my tutors. One thing I managed to complete though (finally!) is my Concept Board. And this is perhaps the most essential part of the whole project.

I want to share in this post my work on it – step by step – perhaps this information will be useful for other interior design students as well.

So what is the concept and why it is so important? I would probably define it as a starting point of any interior design project, which consists in visual presentation of style, mood and colour of the future space. Client looking at a concept board must be able to understand the overall feel and look of the room. Though, it doesn’t show the concrete furniture, finishes or accessories yet, so the designer has the freedom when working further on the project. Let’s say, concept is showing the direction, but not the particular road.

And here are the steps of creating my concept board:

1) Meeting with clients, design brief and analysis. My starting point was clients’ portfolio with their profile and design needs. From it I learnt the following information: age, profession, scope of work, likes and dislikes of the clients. I needed to analyse it, understand clients’ personalities, make conclusions based on their habits, the way they dress and live. For example, my client Ross is investment banker, he wears expensive clothes and smokes cigars. I can thus conclude, that he appreciates solidity, quality of materials and expensive look. In no case I would suggest to him design in shabby chic style or cheap furniture.  For my design analysis I used my PRJ, where I “digged” into clients personality and character.


A picture is worth a thousand words – so I widely used images (cuts from magazines and printouts) to illustrate clients’ taste:

concept-1 concept2PRJ is a notebook reserved only for designer, it is not shown to the clients, so I allowed myself to be a little bit messy, playful and free to express any thoughts that came to my mind (I used a lot mind maps and collages):

concept-3 concept-42) When the design analysis was ready, the next step was to write the design statement: short paragraph reflecting the essence of the proposed scheme:


The design scheme will be based on the game of contrasts reflecting different personalities of clients. Thus, overall dark neutral colour palette will be livened up with bright and rich accents, such as deep reds and burnt oranges. Warm and soft textures will encourage observer to touch and relax, while symmetrical layout will be used to hint at formality. 

Overall design will be in contemporary style with solid finishings such as wood and leather. Some glimmer and sparkle will be added to gain glamorous and sophisticated look. 


4) From that point I needed to highlight “key” words in design statement and search for the images which would illustrate them. Mine were “Solid, Glamorous, Formal”. It is important  not to be too literal and not use images of interiors and furniture as it might mislead in the wrong direction.

concept-65) I sourced probably more than fifty images, but for my concept board I’ve selected only six, which I thought would better illustrate the proposed scheme. I printed them on the photo paper and accurately cut them out using special mat and paper scalpel:

concept-76) I also used white carton underneath my images to mount them on the board: it made them stand out and look more impressive. For sticking them to the board I applied double sided tape.

concept-87) It is important to think about background colour and layout of the concept board: they should also coordinate with the proposed scheme. Since my concept was interior in dark tones, I have chosen black board, while symmetrical layout of images would reflect the formal look of the space.

Voila, my concept board is ready:

concept-9 concept-10

The next step of the project will be sourcing furniture and finishes, based on the forms, textures and colours from my concept board. I will be writing about it in one of the future posts.

Check out my eBooks for interior designers: the first one is about how to market your interior design business and getting more clients, the second one is about various interior styles:

[ebook_store ebook_id=”16032″]

[ebook_store ebook_id=”15760″]

June 26, 2014 at 12:46 pm

This is a fascinating post! Thank you for walking us through this process. I LOVE your final concept board, and I think you have illustrated perfectly the concept you set out to do. It would never have occurred to me to NOT use interiors in it, but I see why; once you explain it, it makes so much sense.

June 26, 2014 at 6:15 pm

thank you so much Susan! glad you liked the post and my concept board – actually so proud that finished it! now need to move forward 🙂

June 26, 2014 at 1:07 pm

I think you can read my mind… For my new clients I’m struggling to make a concept board. I made several for some previous clients and they were ‘good enough’, but not perfect. So I was browsing the net looking for some good tips. And then along came your post…..The way you explain it step by step is so clear. I know now exactly how to do it. As mimiswardrobe says : it make so much sense now ! Thanks my dear !

June 26, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Thank you Ilse – so glad it was useful! 🙂

July 1, 2014 at 3:41 pm

What are your thoughts on digital concept boards vs. physical?

Reply Support
July 1, 2014 at 4:20 pm

I believe they allow us to significantly save the time! making a board as the one I mad takes enormous amount of time which could be used for the developing project further. However physical boards are required by my school so I had to make it for presentation.

September 18, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Thanks for sharing! I am a 2nd year interior student and i am struggling doing the concept board and how to create a good one. This post helps a lot. Thanks again!

September 18, 2014 at 7:06 pm

glad it was useful!

October 22, 2014 at 1:29 pm

This is a great post and I love the step by step peeps into your reflective journal. I find concept boards hard as I’m much too analytical, but I know there are the key to success and this shows beautifully why they are a good idea.
I have heard that KLC are usually not keen on black boards though so I hope you won’t be penalised for that. Also I did expect just a little more ‘bling’ in the final concept, but I’m guessing that’s because the top right image looks more shiny in reality than it does in the photo.
Thanks for taking the time to share.

October 24, 2014 at 7:48 am

Hi Helen! I have intentionally chosen black board cause white or grey wouldn’t transform the mood I want to create – dark, moody and glamorous! I hope the tutors wouldn’t penalise me for this. Thanks for commenting!

November 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Hi, thanks a lot for this post! So helpful. I’m working on section 2 (Klc) and noticed that if you email your prepared work (or work in progress) pictures to tutor, they do actually comment on it and tell you what could be improved and how.

November 8, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Thank you, Zita – that is a very good tip, actually! I regret I haven’t use it during the module and now since the Project is almost ready I will send it as it is… But in the 4th for sure will try to get more feedback from tutors.

Patrycja Hojna
November 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm

many thanks for this great post! I somehow forgot about it but thanks to you I just started my own Personal Style Board:) I find your blog very inspiring. How far are you with the projects? I am currently working on module 3 and it takes ages

November 7, 2014 at 5:41 am

Hi Patrycja! Glad you liked the post! 🙂 I am also on the 3rd Module – and you are right – it takes ages! I’ve just completed the Concept Board, Furniture book, Plan, Section and almost Axonometric. now in search for the materials for my sample board – in Moscow it is quite difficult to find them (yesterday was begging in one of the shop to cut me a little sample of wallpaper I liked 🙂

Baths lie Hailey
June 10, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Hi, this a great post! Very useful! I am also a KLC student (working on section 1) and in addition to the OL course I also attended one of KLC’s day courses on concept boards. I understand the process from design analysis to concept board but I am wondering if a PRJ is necessary for every project? I guess it is when working on the course but what about clients’ projects? Nathalie

June 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Hi Nathalie,

I have my PRJ for the the clients projects as well – it really helps! I love to use it for working drawings, developing ideas, mind mapping, etc. So I think it is great that KLC encourages us to have them.

September 25, 2015 at 1:03 am

I this information its.very good business idea I wl clients thank you subramani citadil interior design

January 21, 2016 at 11:41 am

Perfect post! Big of you to address your needs with the lack of supportive feedback. This is pretty a common issue as the majority of individuals around you are self-developing on an independent goals. Nothing is more important than a visual concepts even if it’s a singular item to carry the conversation in YOUR direction. Utilize a design mentor to eliminate your doubts so your 15 minute increments save you days of unnecessary sensitive clouding. This will assist quickly in Independent confidence to adapt to group/team collaboration. Always work on a personal creative project, keep a moodboard going like a deck of cards. Be the Ace with the heart of Diamond mentality. You are going to do great things I can see that. Ask for the help you need and if you don’t receive it please feel free to contact me. Enjoy

January 22, 2016 at 7:45 am

Monica thank you so much! Your comment made my day 🙂 Your words are full of wisdom, and thank you so much for offering me your help, I really appreciate it!

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