What in the world is a Mood Board?

Image via polyvore.com

We are not newcomers to the design world. But this term, “mood board,” had us scratching our heads. When deciding to start our Interior Design business, we of course wanted to see who else was out there, what they were offering, what their qualifications were, etc. And we kept bumping up against this idea of mood boards. Usually digital, mood boards are a compilation of images found on the web that theoretically comprise a room design. According to the all-knowing (so long as some joker doesn’t edit it) Wikipedia,

“A mood board is a type of poster design that may consist of images, text, and samples of objects in a composition of the choice of the mood board creator. Designers and others use mood boards to develop their design concepts and to communicate to other members of the design team. The mood board may be used as a frame of reference during the design process in a variety of abstract disciplines.”

And from WiseGeek,

“A decorating mood board often contains magazine clippings of furnishings that inspire the design concept. Sketches and a floor plan are also usually included on the board. Paint chips and other color swatches are also featured on a decorating mood board. The client can view the mood board and decide whether he or she likes the main design concepts the board represents.”

Ok, sure – that sounds great. Aside from the name – MOOD board? It sounds so flaky, like a mood ring. Sara and I MUCH prefer concept board, or design board. Those are terms we’ve actually heard of in our education, and professionally we often call them presentation or finish boards. In a little bit of research, the seemingly ubiquitous “mood board” came from graphic design or fashion, and has been adopted by decorators. There are a LOT of sites out there offering decorating services for sale via these digital clipping boards. And sure, we see the value there – many clients can’t visualize their space via plans and elevations.

However, my point in all of this is people who put themselves out there as “designers” offering JUST these digital mood boards make me very nervous. The pasted together imagery makes me feel that the design was pasted together. (Maybe it wasn’t – this is just my impression.) At EF eDesigns, the mood (CONCEPT) board is just a PART of the package we offer. We do real space planning based on real and accurate room measurements, so that your purchases will work in your space. Furniture is an investment!! Imagine getting it home and finding it 3” too large for your room! Not only will you get the pictures to help you visualize the space, but you’ll get the layout to confirm that it will work. If there is something special or unique happening on the wall, we will draw the elevations as well.

I also am a firm believer in PHYSICAL SAMPLES. How often do you see a disclaimer, “Colors may vary from your monitor”? It’s SO TRUE!! Just because two pictures from two websites look like a match, the actual products might clash in person. We believe in ordering samples of the actual materials, and looking at them together in daylight – SO much more reliable than artificial lighting when it comes to color rendition. And we give you these samples as part of your package.

We also provide a narrative of your space – why pieces are placed in certain places, the sense of space we are trying to convey, what the textures mean, why this type of paint is best in the space, the order in which you should execute your room, etc. I know I often find it difficult to pick up on the nuances of a design on paper without a description, so why should our clients have to? Sure, you might “get” that seating area once you’ve purchased everything and set it up – but I think it makes taking the leap so much easier if you can truly visualize your final product before making that investment.

So after all of that, maybe you are thinking, “Ok, these ladies SEEM to know what they are talking about, but why should I hire them? Where are the actual samples of their work?” Well, they’re coming. Promise!! A portfolio is a hard thing to put together! To that end, to build up our portfolio content, we are willing to work with you during this development stage of our business. If you are interested in room design, or the mood boards you’ve seen other places that are tough to get, send us an email at info . Chat with us about your project, we can work with you on pricing as we haven’t set ours in stone at this point (discount alert!), we can send you the down and dirty images we are considering for our online portfolio. We would love to work with you!!


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