I mentioned this idea recently on my blog and the comments section came alive — so many people loved the idea of a mobile mood board and few had given it much thought before… This surprised me honestly, I assumed that most people carry things like this when they are out and about but perhaps not. I do it because I have a hard time remembering tints and tones of color and so for me this is easy, saves me time (no return purchases!) and I always match the colors correctly this way. Here is an example of a mood board to go:
Above is one that is currently in my bag at all times because it contains a view of the fabrics and colors that I need to have on me for a styling project that I'm working on at the moment for a gorgeous London department store called Liberty. I taped on my swatches because my stapler ran out of staples, but stapling them is my preference since they stay on better. I find that it is very hard to look at a color in your home and then go try to match it up in-store without swatches on you. Even if it's not the exact fabric on your sofa, you can match a ribbon to that fabric and use the ribbon as your swatch. The point is to keep swatches of things on you and group them on little pages in a spiral bound notebook to create mood boards. When you are finished, you can tear them out and put them in plastic sleeves and organize them in a ring binder so that you can refer to them in the future if you need to. My goal is to keep it simple whenever possible and a mini mood board keeps things simple for me.
A mood board on the go can include:
1. Paint swatches
2. Ribbons that match the paint in your home if you don't have a paint chip.
3. Fabric swatches (or again, ribbons that match the fabrics). If you have a pattern on your fabric and no swatch, photograph it and print it out and put that in your notebook and use ribbons to match the colors exactly in the fabric and fasten them near the photo so you have the exact colors as photos can be deceiving.
4. Floor sketches - you may want to draw quick floor plan or if it's a table setting, draw how you imagine it looking.
5. Measurements – measure how large the diameter of the drum shade over the dining table needs to be, for example or how large the rug for your kitchen has to be. I measure the area to determine the maximum size that would work in the space so that when I'm out and find a rug within those measurements I know it would work okay — otherwise I don't buy it.
6. Notes - Identify what you need first and foremost and get those things on your list and then you can shop for the less urgent items later. I find getting the most important things done first frees your mind of potential anxiety so that your creativity can come to the surface.
7. A tape measure. Not ON your board of course, but in your bag. Always, always have a tape measure with you. I use the retractable kind. This helps you to avoid "guesstimating" only to end up with things that won't work or worse, not enough and then you return to the store and the rest of that great Belgium linen you found, for example, is gone!
I find that no matter where you go, whenever you show that you are serious and open your little notebook, sales people will usually respond quite favorably and even be a bit more attentive to you. I took mine out on Saturday in a fabric store and the sales lady got excited and said how clever I was to do this and her customers are never this organized. As a result, she pulled everything that I needed in record time which saved me the work of looking around for each item alone. Nothing makes a sales person happier than when you need a specific color and show them a ribbon in the exact color that you need for your walls, for example… This is so easier for them to match the color and makes their job (and yours) completely stress-free. Shouldn't decorating be fun?
Do you think you may want to try a mood board to go on your next interior project?
(images: holly becker)