How to Make an Interior Design Color Board


A design color board is a great way to keep all of the details in a home remodeling project organized. It can help the homeowner see how all of the selected finishes for a room will work together and makes client presentations more polished. Although they can take time, organization and a lot of patience, color boards are relatively easy to put together. The steps listed here will take you through the process of creating an impressive board.

Things You'll Need

  • Foam board X-Acto knife and blades Self-healing cutting mat Metal ruler T square Silicone adhesive (for heaviest items) Rubber cement Glue stick Scissors Adhesive pick up sponge Photos of: furniture, lighting, accessories Samples: flooring, paint, fabrics, tile


  • Gather all of the supplies on a clean, work surface. Select a surface where the board can sit overnight to allow the adhesive to dry completely.

  • Use the X-Acto knife to cut the foam board for the final presentation board to the desired size (usually 24 inches in height x 36 inches in width). Place the self-healing cutting mat underneath and use the metal ruler as a straight edge to run the X-Acto along. Keep fingers safely on the ruler and out of path of knife. Cut slowly through the foam board repeatedly using smooth even strokes. Do not try to cut all the way through the board in one stroke as this will cause the edges to become jagged. Replace X-Acto blades frequently to ensure clean cuts.

  • Cut smaller squares or rectangles of foam board for mounting fabric samples, photos and other items that will be raised. Raising some items adds dimension to the board and makes the final presentation more visually interesting.

  • Glue selected samples to the smaller pieces of foam board. Use glue stick for light weight fabrics, photos and paint samples. Use rubber cement for heavy weight fabrics, some flooring and countertop materials. Clean up any frayed fabric edges by dabbing a little glue stick on your finger and then smooth it along the edges until they lay flat.

  • Print out labels (if you choose to use them) to identify each sample, like: "backsplash tile."

  • Determine the layout of board by laying all items out on the surface before gluing them down. Leave at least a one inch of empty space along ALL edges of the color board. Leave some empty space here and there in between items so the board is not completely covered. Mix the placement of raised items with items attached directly to the board. If possible, attach samples of cabinet hardware or tassels to add visual impact.

  • Attach samples to the board. Use rubber cement for raised items on foam board (follow directions on package), silicone for heavy items and glue stick for very light items. Use ruler or T square to ensure items are straight.

  • Attach labels if using them.

  • Set board aside to dry completely overnight, laying flat and undisturbed.

  • Remove any stray bits of rubber cement and other adhesives by using the rubber pick-up square to wipe them away.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most of supplies needed can be found at an art supply store. Many art supply stores will cut foam board to size for an additional charge.
  • Use adhesives in a well-ventilated area. Exercise caution when using X-Acto blades as they are very sharp.

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