To Mood Board, or Not to Mood Board

To Mood Board, or Not to Mood Board

When starting a decorating project, are you someone that bothers with a mood board or not? I have started so many projects on a whim, by simply walking into a paint shop and buying a pot of paint for the pure hell of it, not thinking through exactly which wall it will go on, or how the colour will even work with everything else going on around it.  These days, I am more considered in how I pull a scheme together, using the brilliant Pinterest, but more importantly creating a physical mood board that I can hold and look at away from all the other digital interior noise arriving in my inbox.  

So, I have taken a little time to give my top tips on creating a mood board, whether you are creating a whole new scheme or simply a one-room project.

Pinterest, is probably the most obvious place to start a mood board, however this should also come with a warning, as you can often find yourself pinning ridiculously unachievable interiors, that you will never manage to create in your cute old cottage. Yes, it is brilliantly helpful to have this visual inspiration all around us, but it can also feel very overwhelming.    There is also nothing as good, as placing a tile, against a piece fabric, next to your sample of wood flooring, along with some paint swatches.   It allows you to start to see how the textures, colour and any pattern could work together.  

By starting to pin your ideas, it should help to organise your mind as to what you want the end result to look like.   If you do it well, it will be your guide to ensure that you don't go off tangent and end up mixing pieces, colours or pattern that simply won't work.   You would never expect an Interior Design to present their ideas to you without using visuals, to recommend colour, materials and the design elements. If you are using an Interior Designer, creating your own mood board will also help when discussing your ideas along with theirs.  


Here are my top tips on organising your physical mood board.  I have focused on a mood board for creating an interior project, however there are many other reasons you may create a pinterest board, such as brand identity, a party, packaging ideas for a small business, plus as well as there being a lot of visual content on the platform, there is also an enormous amount of linked written content.  


Simply start by pinning your ideas via the search engine platform that is Pinterest, which has an enormous amount of content.   At this point you can pin ideas for colour, style, overall look, fabrics and design elements.    Also, there are some other great content sources.   Unsplash is a favourite of mine, for free stock images.  If done properly, you will not finish this in the space of an hour, this process is likely to take at least a few days, so that you can take time viewing the images you have chosen.  

Once you have done all of that great work, you need to cull some of the images (I know, that's the annoying bit) you have pinned, to ensure that you drill down in to what are the real 'hero' images that will create the end look.

NB. At this point, it can become confusing, when you cannot recall why you have even chosen an image. Was it because you liked the style of the chair in the image, or the colour on the wall or the design of the kitchen?   Which is why I would suggest the next step is to create some extra boards, which you can start to move images between.

3.  Create your extra boards.    Example boards may be.  Colour Palette, Design, Furniture and Layout.  It may be that you will have a duplicate image in the board Colour Palette, as well as the original board, if it becomes one of your favourite images which you intend to print and use on the physical mood board.    It is helpful to keep the images you originally pinned, as they will all become a good reference down the line.  If you have pinned something, and you don't know, just delete and don't look back.  

4.   Once you have organised your Pinterest board, you should start creating the physical mood board.    You can get a small piece of mdf cut from most hardware stores, or just use a piece of cardboard which is also absolutely fine.   

5. Print a couple of key images from your original board which show the overall feel/look you want to achieve.  Then print images from the other boards, such as an key pieces you may want to source or already own.

At the end, you should have a Physical Mood Board which includes;  

  • Colour Palette, either using paint decks from the paint company's sample list
  • Fabric Swatches
  • A handful of images printed,
  • Images of the type of furniture you wish to source or if keeping current furniture, pictures of any pieces you will use.   This could also be a list that you include)
  • Samples of tile, flooring and wallpaper.  

Important not to forget, that inspiration comes in every form, so it doesn't have to always be obvious, it could be a flower that has dried in the exact shade of pink that you would want to include.  We had one of our participants for the mood board workshop, stick one of the beetroot vegetable crisps (available for eating) on the moard board.  That is the advantage of moving away from digital and creating a physical board, there are no restrictions (well may be some).  

Hope this helps.   Happy Pinning and Gluing!