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Best Tips for Putting a Mood Board Together

Posted February 12, 2020

Guest post by Ashley + Jamin Mills, The Handmade Home

We’re thrilled to be here today to discuss all things mood boards with Jeffrey Court.

It’s no secret around here that we love Jeffrey Court tile, and our passion is a good mood board when it comes to helping our clients select the best designs. It’s the best way to communicate the overall feel for a space.

We love that they’re hosting a mood board challenge, and we’re so excited to see what everyone submits! So, when they asked us to share our best tips for creating mood boards, we were honored to share some of their favorites. 

{barefoot in this photo since we were doing a shoot, and I was trying not to mess up that beautiful Jeffrey Court tile! #reallife}

What is a mood board?

Our design process usually includes an initial meeting, where we talk through the client’s needs. Next, we pull together the detailed design. A lot of this process includes the client actually putting their hands on fabulous samples. My favorite part is putting together a great series of detailed mood boards for our clients. We do this for our own home, too. It’s an essential part of the design process to have a plan in place when putting a space together. It’s a great way to communicate the design.

Today, we’re sharing some of our very best tips for mood boards, and how they culminate into fresh spaces.

1. Don’t be intimidated.

Before I dive into all my fave tips, you may be wondering how on earth to create your own! If you’re new to the process, don’t be intimidated. I feel like that should be the first tip. There are two main ways to create mood boards, as we’re sharing here. Both have their benefits and both are great ways to curate all your ideas! 

A. The first way, is a photograph, with all your fun design elements, like the one above. This is a great way to convey your idea, and showcase great, multiple ideas for the design.

B. Or digital files, like I’ll show below. We get this question all of the time: how do you make your files? We actually use a combination of photoshop and illustrator to do our main mood boards. But if you’re not familiar with these programs, {they can be pricey} check this out, here! It’s a free way, online, to curate your own mood boards. Winning!

So don’t be intimidated. Stick with that is comfortable for you. We can’t wait to see what you create! 

2. Make it interesting.

Yes, this probably sounds so basic. It’s my main guide when creating a mood board, and we think it’s an important tip to stick to. When stepping back to look at a mood board, we love that wow factor. Whether it’s the tile to bring in something unexpected, or the combination of elements to make it an interesting space. It’s important that the room speaks to the viewer, and communicates the entire feel.

We honestly know we’ve done our job when our client says something like “I would have never thought of that” or, “I couldn’t pull this off without you”. At the end of the day, it’s like putting together a complicated multi-dimensional puzzle. We love creating fun possibilities with the initial design concept, all the way to the execution. 

In a world of what everyone else is doing, it’s important to stand out by pushing the envelope. Apply your concepts in interesting ways. What am I saying? The best designs are the ones that stand out and go beyond. We’re looking at you, monochomatic.

Think through the elements that really bring a space to life.

Texture, color, materials, and various, unexpected combinations are great ways to do this. We’ll be covering more of that, below.

Here’s an example of one of our very favorite spaces with a client. The initial design, and the after. We love looking at how the spaces evolve with client needs, the availability of products, and real-life compromises over time to create the final product. 

3. Focus on contrast. 

It’s the most basic of design elements. But it’s so diverse in its application, the possibilities really are endless. 

Contrast is a fabulous way to apply all the pieces that you’re bringing into a mood board, to cultivate interest.

  • How can the tile you choose, play with the countertops?
  • What are the ways you can bring depth to a space by applying a different look to the room? {Back to that unexpected application thing again.}
  • How can your patterns play together with what you choose, from organic to geometric applications, and contrast together? 

Here are some examples:

If you have a lot of movement in your countertops, go with a bolder solid in your tile. {Ceramic might be a nice material choice to contrast with marble.}

Or if there’s a lot of white in your bathroom, go with a bolder cabinet color choice to really bring interest to the space. Contrast can be applied in so many fun ways to make a space work!

4. Look for opportunities to add color

Color communicates so much. We find that a lot of people are scared of it, and don’t even realize it. We see the world in color. We live in color. The world is a colorful place. Why would our designs be any different?

It can be used in soft ways to bring real dimension to your mood board and space. It can be bold, for contrast and fun. Tell a story in your space with color. Look for different opportunities to enhance an unexpected hue or bring in a fun new element, and use it in various ways throughout, to enhance your color story. Think beyond what everyone else will be doing and apply it in unique ways.

We loved bringing in different elements of color, that played well with neutrals in this space. They were subtle but fun. It’s also interesting, once again, to see how the design evolves over time for our clients, {and in our own home, too}.

We love how that Jeffrey Court tile brought in so much added interest.

Another example would be this space.

Our clients had a lot of white in their kitchen, and it was a great opportunity to go bold with cabinets, and vintage pantry doors with unexpected elements. It enhances the simple white and makes it interesting.

5. Unexpected Applications

We love applying tile in new fresh new ways, whether it’s for our own home, or our clients.

It adds value and interest to the final look of a space.

We love this little design we came up with, for an entryway nook/mud room. Who knew simple spaces could be so fun? It’s always interesting to think beyond the bathroom and kitchen applications.

But even in the bathrooms and kitchens… we adore the way this Jeffrey Court tile brought the entire bathroom to life for a little boy to grow into. The wall of tile was a little bit unexpected in such a tiny space, and we love the way it enriched everything.

We had one very happy little client on our hands!

6. Patterns are your best friend

We’re seeing a lot of fun patterns in tile these days.

It’s a great opportunity to combine simple with bold and unexpected, to create a beautiful space. 

This is actually a kitchen design we cooked up for some sweet clients {coming soon}. But we think it’s a great opportunity to bring in unexpected combinations with pattern, to create one-of-a-kind spaces. Consider this when creating your fun designs! It’s a great tool to keep in your back pocket and bring it into your spaces.

7. Be Fearless + Flexible

To wrap it all up my final tip, is both. I think it’s important to start out fearless. And when you actually execute your design, be flexible. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes in real life… see our barefoot photo above. 

Here’s the fearless part: I can design things fearlessly for clients, all day long. But when it comes to my own home, I let over-thinking hold me back. The very thing I tell our sweet readers not to do.

Here’s an example of our initial design board we came up with for our addition on our house. We loved integrating Jeffrey Court tile for the space. Once I got over myself, it was fun to be fearless. It’s a great characteristic to find in your designs.

Here’s the flexible part: The final look and execution ended up a little differently, because with all things design there is the vision, and then real life. I’m mentioning all this, because it’s an important part of the process.

It’s fun to go bold with design choices, and then be flexible when executing the final look. Sometimes the sconces you wanted are on back order, or the hanging bed you envisioned isn’t always the best move right next to a window. Dream big and be realistic.

Look for compromises to your final design because there will be challenges… but there’s nothing you can’t do. It’s just a part of figuring it all out.

Learning to pivot from your original plan and making it work in beautiful ways can be one of your greatest superpowers.

And sometimes, happy accidents are the best solution.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these little tips today, and we’ve loved sharing them with you.

Thank you so much for tuning in and we can’t wait to see what you come up with! Be sure to share your Mood Board Challenge entries here.

Good luck and have fun!

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