How To Create A Mood Board
So; you’re got a problem room, you’ve chosen your paint colour and are therefore - or so you think - ready to decorate. Well think again. Before so much as reaching for the roller or brandishing a single brush, there are issues to consider and, if you don’t indulge your dream scheme with a little forethought, the likelihood is you’ll live to regret it; in some way, at least. Being well informed, after all, is paramount and there are things you can do, while planning, to make your project run as smoothly as it possibly can. Cue the mood board. That oft’ overlooked, regularly misunderstood and sometimes maligned tool which, envisaged correctly, will help you on the road to design salvation. In lay mans terms, the mood board is a crucial mechanic with which to ease uncertainty; a device that proffers vital assurance, before committing to expense and upheaval. To fail to plan, after all, is to plan to fail (as we often report) but worry not; if you follow our logic, every project you tackle will roll out successfully.
So do we practise what we preach? Absolutely. Along with the thousand or so rooms we’ve re designed thus far, we’ve created a thousand or so thematically appropriate mood boards. Historically, some of our staff have viewed the mood board as an unnecessary obstacle to hinder timely completion of projects, but the erstwhile tool is, as far as we’re concerned, an important stage if our visions are to be carried out correctly. As a starting point to any design, mood boards are indispensable and, thoughtfully imagined, needn‘t take too much time to compose.
The mood board we’ve used to illustrate today’s opus is from a UK project on which we’re currently working. As part of a scheme to re identify several rooms in the home of a London banker, we’re also reworking a semi derelict integral garage to the side of our client‘s house. Felix, the seventeen year old son of our paymaster, expressly asked for a casual domain at odds with his father’s more retrained instruction. Essentially a secondary lounge/bedroom where Felix can chill with his peers, we’re creating a loft living mood with a white painted backdrop and red accents. To soften the contemporary feel we’re incorporating an antler chandelier, grey rugs on a poured rubber floor and monochrome accent wallpaper. The scheme, ultimately, will be pulled together with ruby ceramics and glass wares and a trio of red leather bean bags (and an outsized platform bed) sourced at Maison et Objets in Paris
The mood board ‘concept’ - how it works
A mood board, put simply, is a visual realisation of ideas. By combining proposed paint colours, wallpaper scraps, fabric swatches and flooring - alongside pictures of furniture and accessories - you’ll find it easier to stage your work due to the fact you’ll be able to see elements of everything at one time. With schematic samples carefully collected you can assess colour combo’s and then adjust everything until it all comes together. It’s sensible to start off with a key piece around which you hope to build the room; that ‘anchor’ could be a wallpaper sample, an image of a credenza or perhaps a favourite rug, the identity of which you love. If you’ve spotted an appealing vignette in a magazine like Elle Deco or Wallpaper, simply tear out the page so it may be considered it as part of the overall picture. It may be that what you think will work will actually look less than comfortable when combined with other aspects of your mood board. Everything, after all, comes down to ‘balance’.
Building a mood board
To establish ambition, kick everything off with a section of strong cardboard or a piece of painted MDF; choose a colour that reflects the majority backdrop of your room. A3 size is perfect, but feel free to scale up - or down - to suit your own needs. Tester paint pots are useful but to avoid their associated costs, obtain colour ‘chips’ and ‘synch’ these with material, wallpaper and flooring. Some fabric outlets will charge you for sample cuts but these costs are generally deducted from subsequent purchase. If you’re working around an existing furniture piece, photograph it and position the image on your board. If you’re starting from scratch, download images of items you like from the internet or clip pictures from magazines and brochures. The more options you have, the better your chance of success.
It’s useful to scale each sample according to how it will appear in your room. If painting all four walls, for example, colour the entire board in a uniform tone. If wallpapering, endeavour to add the relevant proportion of paper even if that means almost entirely covering your board. TIP - leave a white painted band around the perimeter edge to represent window frames and ceiling if your mood board is crafted upon a wallpaper base. When laying on fabric, ensure it’s scaled to represent the quantity that will appear in your finished design, and follow the same principal for soft furnishing such as upholstery, toss pillows and throws.
Assemble your mood board, wherever possible, in the room it references; it’s useful to look at the way in which component parts react to both natural and electric light. Some designers like to assemble their mood boards to reflect where each aspect will appear in the project room and, as such, will position flooring samples at the bottom, upholstery and curtaining in the middle and paint or wallpaper colours around and above. While this route is certainly viable, we actually find it easier to arrange layers and then play around with them to ascertain what works and what doesn’t in terms of colour, mood and contrast. When arranging pieces avoid attaching them with glue as this will limit flexibility and forego the flexibility that comes with being able to move things around; we find pins, tape or Blu tack much more appropriate. TIP - photograph your mood board as you build it and carry images during subsequent sourcing trips; doing this will allow you to remember what goes where if you actually have to disassemble anything and take it with you.
Yes’s and No’s
With all samples to hand, now is the time to be ruthless. If combinations don’t work, then it’s a sure fire indicator they’ll look like uncomfortable when realised as part of your room. And of course we don’t need to explain the logic of changing your mind at mood board stage to avoid costly regrets when you’ve bought and installed your kit. If you’re not ’feeling it’, hit the stores for further samples and jump back on line to find pieces that will comfortably replace those that didn’t quite marry. The most successful plans are those that evolve after careful consideration and the loveliest surprises are those which are birthed from unexpected, even ‘accidental’ pairings.
Further reading, ‘The Home Decorators Colour and Texture Bible by Adrienne Chinn (published by Firefly Books) $18.87 at
www.amazon.ca This lovely title is crammed with interesting colour combinations and workable palettes, all of which will help keep you on the decorative straight and narrow.