Design Tools


pottery barn room planner

A few times a week, we get asked to give the 411 on some of our favorite on line design tools. Being one of the most FAQs around these parts, we thought it deserved it’s very own post. So without further ado, here are some of our favorite, easy-to-use, oh-so-awesome online design tools:

First on the list is Pottery Barn’s Room Planner. To get started, you can chose from an example design from their room gallery or create your own design from scratch with your room dimensions. What makes this online program so much fun (and so useful) is all the tools are super easy. If you’re just looking to lay out a room, this is a great tool. But if you’re are a PB fan like I am, you’ll love the fact that you get to use furniture from the Pottery Barn catalog to design your room. Even if you aren’t planning to redecorate anytime soon or make any furniture purchases, it’s a lot of fun to daydream and decorate your ideal Pottery Barn-styled living quarters. is the bomb diggity. They have everything: black and white photography, abstract, scenic, still life, botanical, modern and classic movie posters… you name it, they’ve got it. One of the best parts of is the My Galleries feature. I use it all the time! It has been around for a while, but it seems to keep getting better and better. As you’re browsing through the thousands of artwork pieces, when you see one that catches you eye, all you have to do is click the “Save to Gallery” button and it will add it to your collection. In your gallery, you can organize your findings in folders (I like to organize by room), visualize how the different pieces you’ve collected look together (if you’re planning on a wall gallery of some sort), and share your collections with your friends/family on Facebook. My favorite feature is the ability to preview the art in your home by uploading a photo of the room you’re decorating. Yep, bomb diggity.

It’s no secret that we love to make mood boards here at 7th House on the Left. They’ve been a staple here since the very beginning, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. I’ve always used a mixture of Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to make my mood boards – both are which open on my computer pretty much constantly. Right now, actually. Recently on my journeys around the internet, I came across Olioboard. As it turns out, it allows you to create great-looking mood boards for free. (There’s also a Pro version that lets you add color swatches, text, and a budget to your mood board for $8/mo. That’s still several hundred dollars shy of Illustrator’s price tag!) They’ve even got a huge gallery of products to choose from so you don’t have to upload pictures from another site. is a site that I’ve seen mentioned a lot around the world wide web recently. I’m Β not too very familiar with the ins and outs yet, but from what I’ve learned so far, it seems to be pretty awesome – hence making it to our list. MyDeco is actually a suite of three tools in one: It’s a 3D room designer, a utility that can take images from around the web and save them to your account, and a mood board designer. (Yay for mood boards!) I feel like Olioboard is just a simpler tool to use if you justΒ want to create mood boards. If you want to store your whole design in a single place, though, and “whip up” some 3D rooms, MyDeco seems like the place to go. I can’t wait to start playing with this more!

Last but positively not least is none other than the one and only Pinterest. It seems like everyone and their mother is on Pinterest. Simply put… I. Love. Pinterest. Even though it’s the place to collect photos houses we want to live in, things we want to buy, places we want to go, and cute animals we want to own, it’s also a great place to collect inspiration for “that room you have no idea what to do with” or DIY projects you want to try. Pinterest is what you make of it. You can have a board totally dedicated to black and yellow bedrooms or all white kitchens. Therefore, it’s the end all and be all of online design tools.

So about you? Do you have a favorite, must-try online design tool? Are you addicted to Pinterest too? Share it with the class in the comment section…

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  • Reply
    KJ and Co.
    February 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing these! They’re great.

  • Reply
    Caitlin @ Desert Domicile
    February 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I knew about a few of these sources but I was oh so happy to hear about a couple of the others! Off to plan my future house πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Laurie L.
    February 28, 2012 at 12:55 am

    I’m a Pinterest maniac! That’s how I found your blog:) It’s addictive!!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Great picks!

  • Reply
    Yvonne S
    February 28, 2012 at 1:10 am

    Olioboard! I’ve always wanted to make my own mood boards! I’ve always wondered if I had a good eye for design. This will be a great way to give it a try:)

  • Reply
    Heather Saunders
    February 28, 2012 at 1:19 am

    I have used for a couple of years now and really like it. I don’t think there’s a picture made that isn’t available on their site. I spot pictures on TV (commercials & tv shows) all the time that I have also seen on When we’re watching TV I’m ALWAYS saying, “I know where you can get that picture!” Very user friendly to!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2012 at 11:18 am

    You only need 27 more votes to be in the top 6 for The Homies!

    • Reply
      February 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Haha, it seems to be changing every hour. Thanks for your vote πŸ™‚ We’re honored to have been nominated. Though, I doubt we’ll get there this year because we had to take some downtime after my surgery. But you never know, these things are so unpredictable!

  • Reply
    LISA H
    February 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Looks like I’m going to have to bite the bullet and get on Pinterest! I think I’m the only one not pinning! Ha!

  • Reply
    February 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    These are awesome thanks for sharing! Maybe you could do a post about how you use adobe for your blog as well.

  • Reply
    February 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Love your blog!

  • Reply
    Furniture Stores
    March 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Great tools. Thanks!

  • Reply
    June 20, 2014 at 10:27 am

    These are great. Thanks for sharing.
    I love the “tour the house” set up. How in the world is that done?
    I am a designer, and that would make my life so much easier! Please share how that’s done. Is it “coding”?


    • Reply
      June 26, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Thank you! Yes, fortunately I married a geeky web developer who codes neat features for the blog. Maybe he’ll be able to post a tutorial sometime.

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