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How to Make a Mood Board

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When I was in college studying Interior Design, I learned how to make a mood board. It was one of the first aspects of design that we covered and an important part of the whole design process. To be honest, I had never even heard of a mood board before. Before any design would go into the full on planning stages, you would create a mood board depicting your ideas.

A mood board can be a brilliant tool for helping to visualise your design. By matching up colours, fabrics, photos, pictures and materials and grouping them all together in a kind of collage. It can be referred to by you whilst designing your scheme, whether it be a home improvement project, interior design plan, fashion design project or anything you wish to create. A mood board can also help you to show your ideas to others, especially if you are working with clients or trying to pitch your plan to anyone.

Your overall vision can be depicted through a mood board. It is usually a large A2/A3 size robust card on which you place fabric samples, finishes (materials you plan to use), magazine cutouts, photos, colour cards, paint swatches, drawings and just about anything you can find which represents your scheme. Co-ordinating the colours is important and the finishes and patterns should be matched as they would be in your scheme. The materials should be matched together and perhaps depicted in pictures too. Try to give an impression of the end result which you envision.

Blue and white Georgian kitchen mood board
Blue and white Georgian kitchen mood board

 

Spend time looking for inspiration by visiting fabric, paint, tile and furniture showrooms. Usually the style is based on the type of building you are working with. Get inspired by the architecture of the building and look through interior design/fashion magazines and scour the internet for your ideal furniture and accessories. Go to showrooms and take photos of any furniture, artwork and accessories that fit in with your overall scheme and vision. If you have a budget stick to that will need to be taken into account but you can nearly always find dupes and cheaper versions of luxury items so do your sourcing. It pays to shop around. If you are working with a high budget then feel free to use the high end luxury items. Once you have gathered your samples and pictures, put them together in an eye-catching and uncluttered manner on the board. It is ok to have spaces if it gives a better look. 

It is fine to add in some pictures of whatever inspires you such as scenes of nature, architecture, materials and finishes, pictures from magazines and anything that gave you the ideas and inspiration in the first place. This is a mood board so it depicts the mood and atmosphere of your design. It can help you get your vision seen better by others while reminding you of your visualisation daily. It is a good idea to have your mood board on display wherever your workspace is. That way you won’t lose track of your desired end result. It also helps your client understand your motivation and inspiration. It is an artistic touch as well as being highly functional.

Your mood board should stand out well. It should be eye-catching, appealing and most of all true to your design. It doesn’t have to be completely accurate since it is the first draft of the planning stages. It does need to reflect your chosen overall design plan and have the fabrics, colours, furniture style, materials and samples on there. It is what you and your client will agree on, therefore needs to be accurate. If you decide to make any changes, you should recreate your mood board or at least rearrange it to depict those changes and discuss with your client prior to doing so.

Mood board with colourful fabrics for a modern retro style hotel project
Mood board with colourful fabrics for a modern retro style hotel project

You will need plenty of samples to work with in order to make the best possible choices. Order samples through the showrooms, over the phone, online or any way possible from the dealer or manufacturers. I prefer being able to see, touch and hold the fabrics and materials so I rather go to the showroom if at all possible. If not possible I will grab a sample and decide later by matching and trying the material myself. I would always ensure to use a reputable source, make sure the product will be available and decide based on the purpose for use, quality and how hard-wearing it is. For instance, upholstery fabric has a grade depending on what it is used for. The furniture and accessories would need to be available and obtainable in the time-frame of delivery.

Drawing hand-drawn pictures, designs, sketches and professional architectural drawings are a big plus, however not necessary. It is also possible to do a mood board on your computer but it doesn’t have the same effect as there are no materials to touch and see and it is not as personal. A digital mood board would be acceptable for business branding or website design, however interior and fashion designers are better off sticking to the original mood board design, in my opinion. It is best to get a feel for the materials and make an impact. You will be streets ahead of the competition and if only designing for yourself, better as you will have the samples to work with and it gives a more precise picture of your vision. Make notes of the suppliers for your materials, lighting, accessories and furniture as you will need those for reference also. Those can be added on, if you wish or kept in a folder with prices and availability dates, wait times and alternatives.

Here is an example of a mood board I created in college –

The assignment was a modern take on a 60’s hotel.

Retro mood board with colourful fabrics
Retro mood board with colourful fabrics
60's Hotel design mood board
60’s Hotel design mood board

 

60s hotel mood board with fabrics and pics
60s hotel bar mood board with fabrics and pics

Smoking area hotel mood board with samples and drawings

Smoking area hotel mood board with samples and drawings

Here is an example of a mood board for a record store revamp with metal finishes, shiny textures, glass and sparkly tiles –

record store mood board with funky metallic finishes
Record store mood board with funky metallic finishes
Metallics record store mood board
Metallics record store mood board

 

A Georgian house in Dublin – Drawing room mood board depicting greens and dark woods with elegant antiques.

Georgian house living room mood board - greens and wood
Georgian house living room mood board – greens, antiques, brass and wood

A dusty pink adjacent drawing room with samples of fabrics, perspective drawing and antiques.

A mood board of a dusty pink living space

A mood board of a dusty pink Georgian inspired living space

A blue and white kitchen with tile samples, designs, furniture, accessories and drawings.

Georgian house kitchen project - extension (modern)
Georgian house kitchen project – extension (modern) blue and white

 

Art Deco inspired modern restaurant design mood board. Fabrics, furniture, paint sample, drawings and paintings.

Mood board for Art Deco inspired restaurant with reds and copper
Mood board for an Art Deco inspired restaurant with reds, navy and copper

 

Art deco restaurant mood board
Art deco restaurant mood board

 

So those are some examples of mood boards I have done for some of the various projects we covered in Interior Design college. It was really fun creating those and often, the best part of designing a scheme. I love being able to use a mood board to display and showcase my vision for a design. It can really speak volumes without having to explain much. A mood board brings your ideas to life and is a fantastic tool to work with when designing. It is good to keep an open mind and have other fabric and material samples to choose from in case so keep those handy in a folder.

I hope to have inspired you how to create a mood board for your designs and ideas. It really is great fun to do. Save this post for reference later!

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Summary
How to Make a Mood Board
Article Name
How to Make a Mood Board
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When I was in college studying Interior Design, I learned how to make a mood board. It was one of the first aspects of design that we covered an an important part of the whole design process.
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Blog News Weekly
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Summary
How to Make a Mood Board
Article Name
How to Make a Mood Board
Description
When I was in college studying Interior Design, I learned how to make a mood board. It was one of the first aspects of design that we covered an an important part of the whole design process.
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Blog News Weekly
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