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May 12, 2015

How To Create A Mood Board Like A Designer

by Kim


As much as we all may love to decorate, it can certainly be overwhelming, no matter if you’re simply updating a few key elements, like paint color or window treatments, or starting completely from scratch. This is why interior designers create mood boards. It’s the best way to really hone your design scheme, thereby avoiding a complete decorating meltdown and hopefully eliminating buyer’s remorse.

So what is a mood board? It’s a collage of images, materials and text artfully arranged to evoke a particular style or concept. It’s the first official step in the design process and is essential to creating a decorating blueprint for your space or home.

Before you start any home décor or remodeling project, gather inspiration and materials that visually appeal to you. After you’ve amassed a collection, start gluing or pinning each object to cardstock or a bulletin board, editing pieces as you go. Soon you’ll start to discover commonalities throughout your mood board, like color or decorating style. Once you’re finished, you’ll have a very clear visual representation of your ideal décor.

Ready to get started? Here are some additional tips and tricks for creating a mood board like a designer.

Supplies You’ll Need

Mood boards can be created using a number of materials, including magazines and catalogs; fabric and paint swatches; quotes and typography; photos; and texture and material samples, like tiles, flooring, etc.

Things To Include On Your Mood Board

Most rooms are made up of the following key elements: furniture, art, paint color, window treatments, lighting and decorative accessories. When you create a mood board, design a complete look, meaning you must select photos and materials for each category. For example, remember to choose throw pillows for the couch. And don’t leave walls and windows bare by forgetting art and window coverings. It’s also important to pay close attention to architectural elements, like flooring, trim, tile and surfaces.

Don’t Overthink The Process

The only question you need to ask yourself while creating a mood board is: “Do I like this?” Concerns like cost or practicality will kill your creativity in a flash, especially if you’re decorating on a tight budget – like most of us are! Mood boards are meant to be aspirational, so choose what you like. If magazines and decorating blogs have taught us anything, it’s that in most cases, it’s possible to get the “look for less.” It just requires a bit of shopping around.

What’s The Next Step?

Now that you have a clear idea of how you want to design your space or home, it’s time to get shopping. But before you head to the store, snap a quick picture of your mood board on your phone, that way you can reference it as you shop. It’s also recommended to carry paint and fabric swatches with you, for the best chances of making a match with other decorative elements you find.

Still Need Some Direction?

You may have a strong design concept but lack the time or skills to make your vision a reality. That’s where hiring a designer can be a decorating lifesaver. You’ve done the initial design legwork, now let a professional fine tune your decorating scheme and help you source design elements that match your vision and fit your budget.

Cover Image Credit: Caitlin Wilson Design | Houzz


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Kim is a window treatment and drapery certified designer helping clients in Ottawa and surrounding Ontario communities find the perfect window treatments for their homes. She has more than 14 years of experience in interior design and window coverings.

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