How to Use Pinterest

The site is called Pinterest and it is, in its most basic usage, an online image collecting site. But Pinterest can be oh-so-much more than that! With Pinterest, you can organize your images onto “pinboards” to gather ideas or simply park them for later use. (Those are some of myboards in the image above.) It allows you to make notes for each image and links back to the original source where you found it.

A pin of a dining room on Pinterest

Some great ways to use Pinterest:

  • Plan interior decorating or crafting ideas. Looking for fabrics for a new quilt? Pin your favorites together to see how they coordinate before you commit to buying. Also pin images that are inspiring your project or have a look and feel that you are trying to emulate.
  • Researching purchases. Looking for a new coffee table? Shop around online and pin your favorites to a single board. Once you’ve checked out all your sources, you can easily compare your options all in one place.
  • Learn more about yourself. Not sure exactly what your decorating style is? Try pinning on a single pinboard all the images you can find of rooms/homes that make your heart skip a beat. When you’re done, take a step back, survey your board and see what consistencies you can find. Are you drawn to some colors more than others? Do you prefer a simple and uncluttered look or something more accessorized? This exercise can work well in learning more about your style of clothing, too.
  • Keep track of to-do’s. With all the reading I do, I am always stumbling upon neat products or ideas that I want to learn more about but that will distract me from my task at hand. In these cases, I like to park an image on my “For Follow-Up” board so that I can remember to go back and see if I really do need (want?) those glasses/dresses/shoes.
  • Get inspired. I like to keep a pinboard just for pinning things that are interesting and thought- or idea-provoking for me. For example, I keep one for photography that inspires me, one for things that make me chuckle, and one called “Yum” for just all-around yummy images that make me happy.


Pins of rugs on Pinterest

But the addictive part comes with the social aspect: Pinterest lets you create a circle of followers whose pins are displayed for you in your personal feed (similar to Facebook’s news feed and Twitter’s timeline). If you like something you see, you can re-pin it to one of your boards, “like” it or leave a comment. As you generate your own pins, you can watch as others discover it and re-pin it to their boards. You can also search and browse all the other pinboards on the site and, if you’re not a control freak like I am, even allow others to pin images to your board.

Screenshot of the Pinterest feed

It’s all a really wonderful visual tool that can be as much as you make it. But it’s worth noting that Pinterest still operates like the smaller scale website that it is. It can be a little buggy (hey! where did my pin go?!) and it still sometimes gets confused but, in the end, it’s worth it for the daily (hourly?!) inspiration it can provide. If you’re not already using the site, you do need to be invited by an existing user. If you’re in need of an invite, contact me on Twitter or leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to help you track one down!

Happy pinning!


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