Why You Should Create a Mood Board for Interior Design

By Caylin Harris
1 Oct 2019
Jess Ann Kirby talks about the benefits of creating a mood board before diving into interior design projects.
Styling by Alessandra-Salaris / Photos by Beppe-Brancato

Caylin Harris, JAK contributor here today to talk about an important design step, creating a mood board for interior design. With so much in the way of design technology, it’s easier than ever to be exposed to sources of inspiration when you’re redesigning your home. So we take screen grabs, we pin images to our Pinterest boards, or we tear pages out of our favorite magazines—but you’re skipping a crucial step. A step that most professional interior designers swear by. Make a mood board for the room. Sure, it might sound like a high maintenance collage, but at the end of the design process when you’ve saved yourself money and heartache, you’ll be happy you did. Just in case you need a little more incentive here’s why it’s worth your time.

What is a Mood Board?

A mood board is a creative visual tool used to convey a feeling, concept, atmosphere, or emotion. A mood board can be anything from a physical or digital collage of images, text, colors, and symbols that captures a mood. It’s a way to develop the foundation of a concept, create the foundation for design, or to give inspiration to others. Mood boards can be used to showcase the visual identity of a brand, to strategize a story, or to plan a project. They are a great way to get everyone in the same page, whether it’s clients, designers, or marketers.

Why You Should Create a Mood Board for Interior Design

print pictures are a lie. 

I love magazines as much as the next girl, hell, I work for them. But speaking as someone who worked to create these images of interiors, lighting, angles, and professional photography changes the look of a room. So what looks good on camera might look completely different in real life. That’s why getting paint, fabric, and hardware samples so you can see them in person is so important. Plus, you’d be amazed at what can get tweaked in post-production. The designers can change a paint color or even play with the look of the fabric. It’s really cool, but it also means you shouldn’t commit to a paint color without seeing it in real life. 

You can take samples with you.

Headed to buy throw pillows? It helps to take a fabric swatch from your couch. It’s more helpful than referring to a tiny, image on your phone. It works the same way with paint swatches, wood finishes, and tiles. It’s always easier to choose accessories when you see what they’ll be hung/placed on top of.

texture is important.

Interior design isn’t limited to shapes and colors. Texture is one of the most important elements of a room because ultimately you need to live in the space. I know it sounds obvious, but many times people forget that. More than looking pretty, how a room functions is the most important thing. So actually seeing what something feels like in your hands, from fabric to hardware is so important. Getting fabric samples on your mood board for interior design is especially important for big purchases like chairs or couches. It will save you so much heartache. Imagine spending a lot of money only to find out your fabric is itchy, won’t hold up to wear, or looks cheap.

it lets you put it all together.

It’s a lot more work to add in images of things that are staying in a space (so your existing furniture or accessories) on a site like Pinterest. On a physical mood board, not only can you snap pictures of items you’re keeping, you can play with images of new items and reposition them to see how things look next to one another. So putting the dining room chairs next to the dining table with a light fixture over the table. Digitally the average person is more limited on getting that nuanced with design pieces unless you’re using interior design software. Most people don’t have access to that!

See more interior design and home posts HERE.

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  1. Shannon wrote:

    great post & perfect timing because we are working on redoing our apartment and interior design is NOT my forte! I know the picture we have in our head so this is a great way to get everything tangible and in action! x Shannon • www.essellesse.com

    10.1.19 | Reply
  2. Praveen Kumar wrote:

    Learning about new things in interior design is always an interesting thing for me. Thanks for sharing this post which added to my curiosity about learning new things in interior design.

    12.10.19 | Reply
  3. Praveen Kumar wrote:

    I didn’t have much knowledge about the mood board before reading this post. Thanks for writing and sharing your knowledge on this topic.

    7.7.20 | Reply
  4. Praveen Kumar wrote:

    That’s the most insightful post that I have read on the importance of having a mood board for interior design. By the time, I will do interior design for my home, I will create my own mood board. Thanks for writing and sharing this post with us.

    12.31.20 | Reply
  5. Marita du Preez wrote:

    how to bring ceramics into this concept? Thanks.

    12.15.23 | Reply

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