Look(book) Before You Leap: How to Use Pinterest to Get EXACTLY the Design You Want - DezignSpace

Look(book) Before You Leap: How to Use Pinterest to Get EXACTLY the Design You Want

You’ve probably heard of a ‘Lookbook’ before, or at least one of its many iterations. Maybe for you, it’s a binder, a dedicated album on your phone, a Pinterest page, etc. A Lookbook is the standard file where all the design-y things you’ve gathered are collected and compiled. Regardless of the form it takes, we’re willing to bet that it’s been a design dumping ground for a while. Just sitting there, looking pretty. 😉 The question is, have you been able to put any of that juicy design inspo to good use? 

Sure, having inspiration is one thing, but organizing and turning it into an actionable design plan is another. No worries, our fellow design hoarders; you’re in good company. You can use our system to distill down all your design inspo into a solid style story. Are you ready to take that Lookbook from a far-off fairytale to your day-to-day reality? Good.

Starting from scratch? No problem at all; keep on reading, and you’ll learn how to start with your best foot forward. 

Let’s get it into gear:


Style Sighting

Regardless of budget or the scope of your project, you need to have a strong sense of your design style and how it can best represent you at this point in your life. With this understanding comes the ability to create a design that will accurately and clearly communicate to others information about you, your lifestyle, and what you love. 

However, without a clear vision, it will be as if you’re walking in the dark without a flashlight. 🔦 Sure, you’ll end up somewhere, but it may not be where you wanted. With this step-by-step system, not only will you have a flashlight to illuminate the path, but you’ll also have a compass that guides you to your desired design destination. Say that three times fast lol. 😁

You cannot make solid design decisions without first understanding your style preference and knowing what’s included in that palette. The best way to start is by gathering images of spaces, furniture, art, colors, or anything that moves you. 

Time to get your inspo on…

Possibility Pinned Down

In case you haven’t already, do yourself a solid and get set up with a Pinterest account. Seriously, like right now. Here’s how to do it:


Creating a Pinterest Account
  1. Go to www.pinterest.com
  2. Click on sign up, give them an email and password, or you can sign up with Google or Facebook (we suggest using a code name for privacy)
  3. Boom! You have a Pinterest page where you can begin to upload any imagery to separate boards, any or all of which can be kept private if needed. 

The sheer volume of design-related content on Pinterest is bananas, so there certainly won’t be an issue of being unable to find things you LOVE. In fact, for most people, the problem is loving ALL.THE.THINGS. But don’t worry, we want you pinning with reckless abandon! The brilliant aspect of the Pinterest algorithm is that as you pin images, it begins to show you more photos in a similar vein, helping you flesh out your design style in greater detail. It’s like this amazingly yummy trail of design breadcrumbs. Enjoy! 😋

PRO TIP: Remember to include images of the exterior of your home in your Lookbook. Factoring in the architecture of your home is essential when forming a style statement. Not feeling the design direction your home’s exterior is pulling you in? That’s OK! You can incorporate a style that will blend with the exterior statement in a way that still feels like you and expresses your design style. It’s all about pulling it together, and you’ll be a master of the mix in no time. 

Design Distilled

Once you have your Lookbook filled to the brim, you’ll be able to begin the process of discovering the design style “cohesive thread.” 

Let’s start unraveling…


1. Create Categories

Our first step is to sort the images into categories. It can be any kind of category, such as by space (bedroom, kitchen, patio), furniture pieces you’d love to have, colors that move you, the bedding you want, etc. 

2. Repetition Review

Once you’ve broken out your inspo into the various categories, begin reviewing all the images and make a list of the things you see that are repeating elements

Let us help you out with a few examples:

  • All white spaces 
  • Mid Century Modern furniture
  • Natural textures
  • Ornate crown molding
  • Bold graphic art
  • Specific types of patterns 
  • Mixed metal finishes
  • Amount of items (minimal vs. heavily decorated)



Once you have your list, see if there are repeating elements that appear together in the same image, like:

  • All white spaces and Ornate crown molding 
  • Bold graphic art and Minimal decor
  • Mixed metal finishes and Natural textures


Now, categorize these images by room/space; “living room,” “kitchen,” “primary bath,” “backyard,” etc. Create separate Pinterest boards for each space and organize your images accordingly.


3. Design Direction

From here, you’ll want to refer to the Design Style Spotlights to begin to categorize the various style directions (yes, there’s likely to be more than one) that you see on your boards. Add the style names to the titles for each board, for example:

Living room / French Contemporary

Powder room / Traditional 

Guest bedroom / California Coastal

Primary bedroom / Scandinavian



Once you’ve put a name to the style face, you can use this search term on Pinterest to find additional images that are even clearer representations of your style statement and gain a better understanding of how the space could come together for you. 

Got it? Good. Let’s keep that momentum going…

4. Details Defined

You can now build “final boards” for each space you plan to work on. To do so, isolate all the elements that will be on your list to renovate or change, things like:

  • Kitchen cabinetry
  • New window treatments
  • Bathroom tile
  • Updated bedding
  • New dining room furniture


Create a new board with the space label, adding “final” afterward. (e.g. Living room / Final)

Let’s use a living room refresh as an example scenario:  

  • First, you’ll bring down a few favorite images from your living room board by saving them to the new “final” board. 
  • Pick one with some element that you’d like to have in your new living room, and click the edit symbol (the pencil). This will bring down a dropdown option indicating the board name and section. 
  • Create a section labeled with the important element in the image, i.e., sectional, fireplace stone, coffee table, etc., and then save the picture to this newly created section. 

You can repeat this process for every element of each space you’re planning on designing, giving you a specific road map to the items you’ll need to create your new space!  To take your design from the digital dream world to everyday reality.

Oh, just wait, it gets even better…

One of the grooviest things about Pinterest is the thousands of vendors/retailers that include shortcut links to their products from the pinned images.

For instance, let’s say you’ve got your heart set on a specific sofa you found during your inspo hunt.

The pin will often include all of the product info and a link straight to the product page of that particular vendor’s website. This will help streamline your product selection budget formation and enable you to solidify your final choices.



No matter the project, from foundation to finishing touches, you now have a system for taking your inspiration from Pin to plan! By the way, if you’re wondering what design style matches the vibe you want for your space, then be sure to check out our Style Vibe Quiz

May all your design dreams come true! 🪄


10 thoughts on this post

  1. I’ve been itching to check out this article since you mentioned it during the Q&A webinar on Sunday! I’ve had a Pinterest account for eons, but I found it overwhelming and chaotic; til now (hopefully)! Logging in right now to see if I can clean up my boards and add some new inspos….or is it inspoes? (Hmmm, neither, according to the squiggly red lines…)

  2. Haha!!! I know!!! The rest is a massive site, with no real systematic approach defined at all. Beautiful pictures, but as I always say too many choices is too many choices! So glad this helped you both out, if you’d like, I can do a deep dive lesson on this, keep me posted as to your progress with this system! xoxoxo L

  3. I’d like to see a deep dive on this. I love Pinterest and sort of get what you’re explaining here but would really like to see it in action. With more details, an example…. Loving all the design help, thanks so much!

  4. Pinterest is totally my jam.  Before Pinterest, I spent big dollars on magazines.  Tearing out the pages and then reviewing my choises to discover that I loved painted kitchen cabinets and light wood floors.  I am sure I have a 3 ring booklet somewhere of my last houses dream kitchen, complete with 2 dishwashers and a proofing oven.

  5. Hello-  Newbie here.  Was there ever a deep dive of Pinterest, as discussed above.  My Pinterest, I keep by Client, then rooms.  Also, Boards for Architectural Details, Drapery, Tile, etc  Lastly, I have Boards of : Loft Vibe, Coastal Vibe, Traditional Vibe, etc and have various images supporting that style, if someone is drawn to that design esthetic.

    That sounds all great and all BUT there’s no ‘buzz words’ , smart algorithm or Pinterest Etiquette …

    ANYWAYYYY, would love to see the replay, or read it or I look forward to it.  Whichever applies on 10-2-2023  Ha!

    Thank you,


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