Preparation and planning are key in any home renovation project. If you dive straight in and start picking pieces of furniture or wallpaper at random without thinking about how the space works as a whole, you’re not going to end up with a good design. Before you start making any big decisions, you need to decide on the general aesthetic of the room and start experimenting with some different decor options. One of the best ways to do this is to create a mood board.
A mood board is a collection of images that reflect the style you’re trying to achieve and give you some idea of where to start with colours, patterns, finishes and decor. Having a mood board is very helpful to refer back to when communicating with any architects, contractors, designers or when you start shopping for final choices to keep your initial vision in focus. Being able to visually grasp a specific aesthetic will also help you to make sensible design choices a lot quicker without having to go through all of the options.
If you’re planning a home renovation soon and you haven’t got a clue where to start with the design, here’s how to create and utilise an interior or exterior design mood board to make it easier for yourself.
Identify Your Aims
Before you start looking at any design ideas, get clear on your outcomes doing a home renovation in the first place. For example, if you want to renovate the kitchen because it feels small and cramped your mood board will consist of a lot of light and bright colour swatches and clipplings of ideas for space saving layouts, appliances and furniture. Or maybe you want to make your house more energy efficient, in which case, the mood board will be filled with things that help to cut energy usage like thick curtains, rugs, water tanks and double glazed windows and doors like the ones from Ecovue.
Having a good idea of what your aims for the home renovation project are will help you to find some direction with your mood board. If you don’t really know what you’re trying to achieve, your mood board will be a random collection of patterns and pieces of furniture that don’t come together into a coherent design. (PS. That's what Pinterest boards are for, start collating ideas there if you have no idea! This post might help: 12 Must Have Pinterest Boards for the Home Decorator)
Choose A Style
The next step is to choose the overall style that you want for the room. Look at your Pinterest picks, magazine clippings and the pieces you already have that you love and want to keep as well as the style of your home in general to help identify the elements that you are most drawn to. Whether you know exact design styles or not, you'll soon be able to come up with a name that best describes the 'look' you're aiming for.
Minimalist style is popular but might be too cold for your lifestyle and the style of your home (that you aren't changing) so you might choose to relax it a little with softness and texture and call it Nordic or Hygge. You might live by the sea but want to avoid the kitsch of store bought 'beachy' and instead lean more towards a coastal style that timeless or more Hamptons inspired instead.
Whatever your tastes are, it’s important that you find a specific style and stick with it to some extent. In some cases, you can marry two styles together as long as it looks and feels cohesive to you and your personality, lifestyle, budget and you can see yourself living with that look comfortably for years to come. Once you’ve identified the style that you like, you can start putting your mood board together.
Colours, Patterns, Textures
These are 3 of the most important elements of your mood board. There are a few things to consider when picking colours and textures for a room. First off, think about any adjoining rooms. Even though each room has its own decor, you need to make sure that the transition between them is smooth. That means avoiding any colour schemes that clash with rooms immediately next door. Next, you need to think about the size of the room and the light sources. If you decorate a small room with only one window in dark colours and heavy patterns, it’s going to look dramatic, sure, but also smaller. That might be great for powder rooms, libraries or cinema rooms but pick lighter shades that open the room up if you're aiming for light, bright, spacious living spaces.
"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way."
- Georgia O'Keeffe
Get thee to the local hardware store and pick up a book of paint colour samples, fabric swatches (if they don't offer them for free, just ask), any wallpaper or decal options and even carpet and tile samples (these you may have to take pictures of or purchase). Start putting together the ones that you like and trying different combinations to see what works well together. This is the fun bit! And PS. This is where a piece of foam core or thin square of mdf as your mood board base comes in handy - it will make for easy transport and leaning display to see and communicate your selections better. Wood glue is also your friend!
Now that you’ve picked some colours and patterns for the room, you can start filling any gaps you may have with furniture. Get hold of some furniture catalogues and look for items that suit the style you've chosen (they are usually grouped in well-known style types, and if not, the staff at most stores are used to helping people style their space so don't be afraid to tell them your vision and ask for help). Try a few different options and see what works. You could also take photographs of your finds out and about and bring home to see whether they work with your mood board.
At this point, it’s important to remember the size of the room and what you’re going to use it for. This will dictate the size and layout of the pieces you place in each space so it's worth getting dimensions not just for the furniture but for the room itself. You can use your mood board to create a rough floor layout for the room to see how the different pieces of furniture work together, remembering to leave space behind chairs that pull out (dining rooms and studies, for example) and room for comfortable movement between couch and coffee table for example. If you’ve got any pieces of existing furniture that you’re going to keep, put those on the mood board first and then build everything else around them.
By now, you should have all of the main elements in place, but it’s the small details that really bring the room together. Things like fittings or door handles can make a big difference to the overall aesthetic of the room, so too does art and decorative items. Don’t neglect these smaller details on your mood board. Take and collect pictures of all of the different options to try on your board to see what works, and resist purchasing these items until the bigger renovation works and furniture pieces are budgeted for. Although, it may be an existing piece of art, decor or hardware that inspires your entire design, and if so, make the photograph of that the first thing you add to your board...especially if you intend it to be the focal point of the room.
Creating a good mood board is the easiest way to create a design that really works for home renovation projects. Plus, it's great fun and good way to get the family involved in the process and keep contractors and decisions on track to it;s resolved completion.
Have you made a mood board for a room in your home?
Let us know how it benefited the overall design in the comments below.
And happy board-making!