How to Make A Mood Board

Learn how to make a mood board

To see an updated mood board tutorial using Canva, check out this post.

If you are interested in decorating, chances are you’ve heard people talk about a mood board. This is just a collection of images of important pieces in your space that gives you a clear direction to follow for an interior design project. An interior designer may create this as a useful tool to give their clients an idea of a color palette, textures, and fabrics they plan to use. They are basically inspiration boards with the visual elements you want in a final design. Why should you spend time making one?

The main reason is that it helps you focus on your design ideas and how you want a room to look and feel. But even more important than that, it’s a great way to keep you from making snap shopping decisions that don’t fit the overall look you want. If you spend time coming up with your own mood board it keeps you moving in the right direction and fixes the images in your brain.

I’ve always heard people talking about these but I never thought about doing one myself. When I moved into our house I decided to try it when I was trying to decide what to do with my bedroom.

First, I was looking for a rug, which I posted about here. I didn’t really know what color scheme I wanted to use and I had essentially unlimited options. My walls are grey, my bed is white upholstered. My curtains are white. It was pretty much a blank slate.

How to start building an effective mood board.

Step 1 – The crucial first step is to take photos of any physical objects such as furniture, lamps, or accessories that you love and want to keep. If you snap a quick photo with your phone, it makes it easy to add these to your mood board. If there is nothing in the room you plan to keep, you can skip this step

Step 2 – Take a photo of your paint samples or get a chip off of the manufacturer’s website. I went to Sherwin Williams’ website and snapped a screenshot of the color.

Step 3 – Make a short list of things that you need to add to the room. For example, your list for a bedroom could be a headboard, mirror, chair, art for over the bed, and curtains. It gets overwhelming if you choose too many so start with five.

Step 4 – For each item you want to purchase, take three different images or screenshots of items you find that fit your price and style. (as a side note – to take a screenshot on a mac press command + shift + 4).

If you are looking for a headboard, it’s a good idea to take three screenshots of headboards you like. In a similar way take screenshots for each item on the list. If you are trying to choose fabrics that you may use for a curtain or pillows, take a screenshot of the fabric. I found chairs and baskets I like at target and took a photo of them by capturing a screenshot.

Step 5 – Spend a little time on Pinterest (or wherever you get your inspiration) surfing around and looking at rooms with design elements you like. This is a great place to get your creative juices flowing. While Pinterest may be one of the best tools for sparking the creative process it can also be overwhelming. Try to rank your pins. So if you find 20 bedrooms you like and pin them to a board, choose the top 3. This can be a time-consuming process, but the focus will help you achieve a better final result and save money.

How to Make an Online Mood Board

I think one of the best tools for making digital mood boards, which is free and SO much easier than photoshop, is PicMonkey. I’ve also tried Canva and I like it, but once you get to know a program you tend to stick with it.

In PicMonkey you can choose ready-made templates or make one from scratch. This is basically a visual tool for making digital collages. I started with a pre-made template that had 9 squares. Once you click to edit you can delete all of the images by clicking on each one in the “layers” rectangle and moving it to the trash.

Next start dragging in the inspirational images that you’ve saved. You can resize them as you go by just dragging the corners. They can overlap. You can also make the most important ones come to the forefront by clicking the arrows right under the layer tab.

Make a Physical Mood Board

You can easily make physical mood boards by getting a bulletin board or foam board and adding different things such as magazine photos, material samples, and fabric swatches. This can often be a more accurate way to see the graphic elements like fabrics and paint, but you can’t take it shopping with you.

Have you tried making a mood board? This was my first time and I have to say it really helped with the actual design process. Stay tuned for a tutorial on how to use PicMonkey in my next post.

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