≡ Menu

Mood Board Tips

Welcome back to a fresh new week! It felt luxurious to have three days off – isn’t that funny how one extra day can make such a difference? Sunday was unseasonably warm, so we took off for one last trip to the beach – sigh. So nice. After a good balance of relaxation and taking care of business these past three days, I feel energized and ready to tackle the week. Today I have some thoughts + photos on creating mood boards to share with you. Tips, ideas, and an example that I created myself just for fun. I meant to post this quite some time ago but it got lost in the shuffle, and well, I just came across them and felt inspired all over again…I hope you feel it, too! :)

What sparked this post was Holly Becker’s mood board event back in August. During her presentation, Holly shared her personal tips and techniques on creating and using mood boards. I was so inspired I immediately scrounged for a pen and began scribbling notes on the side of a file folder, which was the only thing I could find to write on! Of course, I was also busy listening and taking in the whole scene, so I undoubtedly missed a few key points – Holly was quite thorough, so it’s all on me if I left anything out! Ha. Are you ready to get started? Oh goodie.

Let’s begin with the basics. What is a mood board? Well, a mood board, or inspiration board, is a visual tool you can use to organize your creative ideas about style, color, and feel. It can be used to pull together ideas for a specific room in your house that you want to change, or a more general collage of anything that catches your fancy. Mood boards can be very helpful even when not focused on a particular room or space – making one will hone your personal sense of style and train your eye. Plus, it’s fun!

The first step is to gather information. Tear sheets from magazines and catalogs you love, photocopies from books, printouts of images you find online, photographs, postcards, inspiring words and quotes, bits of ribbon and fabric – these are all fair game. Collect them in a central place, and be sure to note what it is you like about each image. This is so important! Down the road when you pull out your fat stack of clippings you may not remember why you saved an image – and a great idea could be lost in the waste bin! Use sticky notes and make sure to note the source as well. For example, one sticky note might read: “Love the white chairs and rustic table! – Elle Decor, Sept. ’10. Chairs from The Conran Shop.

Once you’ve collected a good thick stack of images (and this could take a month, or more!), fix yourself a cup of tea, sit down somewhere with room to spread out, and have a good look at what you’ve chosen. Now is the time to look for themes in your images. What do you gravitate towards? Do you notice anything popping up in more than one image? If so, pay attention, because that’s what this exercise is all about: finding what makes your heart go pitter-pat. Also use this as a chance to consider your color palette. Narrow it down until you have a combination that’s to your liking, and then stick with it!

To use myself as an example, for this mood board I was drawn to simple spaces in white and gray with a modern or industrial edge, but enlivened with cheery art and accessories in sherbert hues. Once I had the idea for my general palette, I pulled a few paint colors and added those swatches to the board as well. This particular mood board was not meant to be used in planning a specific room, so I just had fun with it.

If you were using this to plan, say, a living room, you would want to be sure you found examples of each item you would need – i.e., lamp, sofa, coffee table, etc. – as well as draw a floor plan of your space. Your floor plan does NOT need to look pretty in order to be effective! Simply measure your room and furnishings and sketch it out to the best of your ability. You can use graph paper and pencil, or find a simple program to use if you prefer to do things on the computer. Do you need a floor plan? In a word, YES! Designers always do this for their clients, and it sure beats hauling furniture around only to find an arrangement you had been counting on doesn’t work!

Now is also the time to think about another practicality, budget. Think long term as well as short term: might you be able to make due with your existing chairs for a while so you can splurge on the table you really want? Or would you rather get it all done now, in which case you might need to rethink that table? Be realistic with yourself. This is decorating after all, it’s not worth going into debt over! And remember, sometimes spending less can actually inspire creativity.

As you get into the fine tuning of your plan, consider what will be your jumping off point for the room. Even if you are doing this just for fun, it’s nice to have one piece to build your board around and inspire your other choices. For me it was the image of cupcakes with rose petals on top, sitting in a vintage tin (from Jamie Magazine) that proved to be the heart of my board. In a room plan, your focal point might be a piece of art you love, a vibrant rug, or a special antique you have your eye on. Whatever it is, by building up your board around it you ensure that all of the pieces will complement one another.

When it comes to actually putting your board together, play around and have fun! I highly recommend using Japanese washi tape to affix your images because it’s pretty (of course) but more importantly, you can stick and restick and even peel it off with minimal damage to your images or the wall. What if you don’t have a bulletin board? Well guess what, I don’t have one either! :) The solution I came up with was to create a “frame” with washi tape directly on the wall. It was simple, cheap, and yet still provided that sense of my images being collected on a board.

Then let your eye rest, take a breather, and come back when you are refreshed to have another look, maybe move things around a bit more. Mood boards are meant to be works in progress. The most important thing is that it helps you. And a final tip from Holly that I would like to share is to add one thing that feels “off”, but in a good way. Often this is the piece that ends up making the room, the one that friends always comment on. Shake things up a bit!

If you are working on a room, when you’re done with your mood board you will want a way to transport your ideas with you when you’re out shopping. Holly suggested bringing along a small notebook with copies of your room plan, color swatches, measurements, and other ideas, this way you have something to refer to right in your pocket. :) Finally, organize a schedule for yourself. It’s all too easy to get confused about what was ordered when, or how much money you’ve spent – so keep track of everything in one place.

To sum things up, here are the steps in creating a mood board:

+ Gather inspiring images you love
+ Note what specifically you love about each image
+ Look for themes in the clippings you’ve collected
+ Pull together a color palette
+ Draw a floor plan
+ Consider your budget
+ Choose a jumping off point
+ Play around & have fun!
+ Add one thing that feels “off” but in a good way
+ Make a schedule

And there you go! I had lots of fun creating this mood board. To be honest it was the first one I’d created for a long time. It felt good, so I plan to make more in the near future…maybe to help organize ideas for my entryway, which is a space I’ve had trouble pulling together. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas – do you find mood boards useful?

Happy new week, friends! xo Laura

(all images by me, Laura Gaskill :) )

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Nina Lamb October 11, 2011, 8:18 am

    Thanks for these great tips Laura! I loved creating the mood board for “Blogging your way” and it’s still hanging above my desk. We are moving at the end of the year and I can’t wait to decorate our new home. Mood boards will be key in pulling it all together – so excited. Take care, Nina

  • rym October 12, 2011, 5:06 am

    Great tips! You got me so excited i’m going to begin a mood board right now!

  • leah of sang the bird October 12, 2011, 10:18 pm

    Laura, this is great, Thank you! I always struggle a bit with mood boards. I have a tendency to add too much…. {I’m doing a moodboard for BYW at the moment so this will be helpful} xxx

  • Cristina | Positively Beauty January 4, 2012, 9:47 am

    Again, I’m a bit late on this…but I wanted to say that it’s an excellent post!
    And you’re right about drawing a plan – it doesn’t have to be fancy, and it does help decide the best layout.
    Cristina | Positively Beauty´s last [type] ..Starting the New Year with Gratitude

  • Lauren {L'amour chez nous} March 27, 2013, 11:21 am

    Such a helpful post! I love your points, and it the way you laid it out. I realize I’m a little late to comment on this one, but I just stumbled upon it today. I’ve only been making mood boards for a while, and this gave me such great ideas for my next post!
    Lauren {L’amour chez nous}´s last [type] ..Our To Do List

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge