Designer Trick : Making Moodboards & Conceptualizing A Room

Designer Trick : Making Moodboards & Conceptualizing A Room - roomfortuesday.comIt has been months (more like five, to be exact) since I’ve shared a “Designer Trick” post. Don’t worry though… I’m back with a new one, and I’ve added it to the monthly blog calendar rotation because I feel like this series is especially helpful. If you missed the first few Designer Trick posts, definitely check them out: How to Choose the Perfect Paint ColorTips for Getting Scale Right, and How to Examine a Room in 2D. Today I’m sharing a peek into my design process. A big of part of that is making moodboards and sharing tips for how I conceptualize a room. It makes purchasing interior items and decorating feel more comfortable and calculated (as opposed to just winging it- which could lead to expensive mistakes). Click through to read all about it!

Designer Trick : Making Moodboards & Conceptualizing A Room - roomfortuesday.comBefore renovating a room, I always begin by asking myself important questions, like… how will this space be used, how do I want it to function, what is not working in the current space, what do I like about the room as is, etc. Once I’ve figured those items out, I can begin the design process. That’s when I start visualizing how to fill the space. What materials I’d like to include, what pieces of furniture to add (new & existing), accessories, art, color, textiles … it can become an overwhelming list. This is where making a moodboard is helpful (example of my actual guest bath moodboard pictured above).

Designer Trick : Making Moodboards & Conceptualizing A Room -

By pulling your ideas into a moodboard, you can better visualize how a space will come together. It helps you identify items that feel cohesive, outliers that should be removed, and even brainstorm a better direction or additions you might not have initially considered.

Something important to note? You don’t have to be a designer to make a moodboard. I compile moodboards and visuals for everything- in physical AND digital forms.

Designer Trick : Making Moodboards & Conceptualizing A Room - roomfortuesday.comIf you’re proficient in Photoshop, I shared my easy tutorial for creating a moodboard in this post. If you don’t have Photoshop or don’t want to make a digital moodboard using software, that’s fine too! I actually prefer to do both a digital moodboard, as well as a physical visual. I’ll print out images, order swatches, hardware samples, snippets of textiles, paint chips, etc. You’re probably already familiar with both of these options, because I’m often sharing them on the blog as part of my design plan in “project intro” posts.

Designer Trick : Making Moodboards & Conceptualizing A Room - roomfortuesday.comNo matter how you’re viewing the pieces that will fill into your space, the important takeaway is seeing them all together. Are they cohesive, do they feel balanced, is the overall aesthetic what you had envisioned, is the palette working? Ask yourself lots of questions and make changes until it feels right.

Designer Trick : Making Moodboards & Conceptualizing A Room - roomfortuesday.comThe nice thing about making a physical moodboard, in addition to a digital copy is being able to see the swatches in the actual space. You can touch them, get a better feel for them, and see how they interact with the light and environment- it’s a more tactile, realistic experience. You never know how something will translate from a computer screen to viewing it in person. Due to the nature of screens displaying in RGB (red, green, blue) and based on your monitor settings, colors can easily be depicted incorrectly on your computer. If I’m making a big purchase, I always order a swatch first, if that’s an option. I would rather see it with my own eyes to confirm the accuracy.

Designer Trick : Making Moodboards & Conceptualizing A Room - roomfortuesday.comMy design process is pretty involved because I want to ensure everything is planned, ordered, and accounted for prior to beginning demo and a full-blown renovation. It’s better to be super organized. Sometimes it takes me weeks to figure out the design plan. When planning our kitchen renovation, I pulled five cabinetry samples and narrowed it down from there. That was the case with most of the items in our kitchen- I would choose a few good options and pick the one that worked best with my overall plan and vision.

Designer Trick : Making Moodboards & Conceptualizing A Room - roomfortuesday.comTo sum up my personal design process (everyone’s process varies, BTW) I begin by analyzing how the space will evolve to fit our needs, make product selections, create a digital and physical moodboard, then narrow it down, and hone it in. Once I feel comfortable with the plan and swatches, I begin ordering materials, furniture, decor, and accessories. Lastly, Emmett and I work together to bring my vision to fruition.

Designer Trick : Making Moodboards & Conceptualizing A Room - roomfortuesday.comI supposed the point of this Designer Trick post was to share a few key things…

  1. Moodboards (both physical and digital) can be extremely helpful.
  2. Each person’s process varies- find what works best for you.
  3. Planning and visualizing before purchasing can save you money and make your renovation go more smoothly.

Will you do me a favor? Let me know what other Designer Tricks you want to learn more about in the comment section below! I’ve got floor planning, organization, and a few others on the calendar, but beyond that- I’d love to add YOUR ideas. I want these to be really helpful! I hope you all have a wonderful week. I went back to the doctor yesterday and can’t seem to get well or kick this bronchitis. Here’s to hoping my new meds will work and I’ll be feeling more like myself before I know it. Fingers crossed! Happy Monday.

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  1. Your process sounds so smart and decisive! Hello Scorpio. I have really learned from you to consider function and organization for a room; your laundry room post from the archives has definitely changed the approach to my current project. I, however, have to consider ALL the options before I make a decision. My extravagant (Leo) heart has to dream big for a while…before I narrow items down to affordable or thrift-able. Shopping for furniture can take me years. 🤷‍♀️I really like to collect swatches and samples, and I actually enjoy making (terrible) sketches in lieu of anything digital. On that note, I would love a floor planning post! And maybe something on incorporating lamps; why does that stump me?
    I’m sorry your recovery is stalled! Maybe this January has been teaching us to slow down. Take it easy, friend.

    1. Scorpio through and through. Ha! You know me well. I do appreciate your Leo self having alllll the options before making a final decision. It’s nice to know you covered all your bases and have the best option for your home (nothing better floating around out there). Is there such a thing as furniture, accessories, material FOMO in interior design? I’d have to say yes! I love the lamp idea- smart post idea :) Thank you! Hope you’re taking it easy and feeling better too. January is DEFINITELY teaching us to slow down.

  2. I am so looking forward to the floor planning post :) I really struggle with that! Happy to hear it is coming. Something else…maybe your favorite place/way to source fabrics?

    Feel better!

  3. Yay! I love this series and am so glad you’re bringing it back. Definitely yes to floor planning. Also, I can never read enough about creating whole-home cohesion – how to make every room and vignette feel like it’s part of the same home, without being overly redundant. So, anything and everything on that topic would be appreciated. Feel better! :)

    1. So glad to hear that, Julie :) I’ll make sure floor planning is the next one! Look for that post in February. Thanks for the additional ideas- really appreciate those. xo

  4. I am such a visual person. I need to learn to do this on photoshop. I TRY to sketch it out but it isn’t the same as seeing it together on computer or with you. I should see if our local community college offers photoshop classes!? Maybe I could teach myself.
    After seeing you go to Lowes when designing your kitchen, I went one evening and had a ball pulling cabinet colors, tile, and countertop choices! Replacing our backsplash is on our list to do this year.
    BTW, after reading about your shelf styling with books, I restyled ours in our bedroom. I just need an art print and bookends to complete it. Thank you for your post and ideas!
    Happy Monday

    1. Did you see my tutorial? It’s really easy! I’m sure there are also Photoshop classes on Skillshare. Have you checked there? It might be MUCH less expensive than a college course. I definitely think you could teach yourself. I love hearing that you went to Lowe’s and pulled swatches. That is SO exciting. I can’t wait to see the final result this year… and your shelves :) I’m so proud! Happy print hunting. xo

  5. Stephanie says:

    Totally random question, but this post made me think of it with your physical moodboards.. what do you do with samples after a project?

    1. Such a good question, Stephanie! If it’s a swatch or sample I think I’ll use again for a future project- I’ll archive it and store it in a design bin in my prop closet. If it’s something I’m finished with and won’t use again, I wait until I accumulate enough samples to donate. Lots of design students and classrooms love getting samples donated. It’s a great way to help with education, and avoid throwing things in the trash.

  6. It would be great to see a post on how to decide what your style is. I find I like different aspects of multiple styles and I can’t figure out how to mix them together. For example, spaces that follow minimalism make me feel calm. I love the boho vibe of loads of color. I love the industrial look but a whole room of it seems cold. And… I love chippy white paint. How can I pull parts of all of these together for one cohesive look?

    1. Great idea, Emie! Thank you. I’ll add that to the mix as well :)

  7. Ohhhhhh I LOVE this series!!! I’m a through and through Scorpio too, and your process is similar to my own. Every time we renovate I create a physical mood board; it really does help to see if the colors and textures work together and work for the room. I did that in our last home every time we renovated, and when we moved, I left every physical mood board for the new owner. I thought it would be helpful to know paint colors we used, and where things were purchased. One topic I’d personally love to hear about is how you tackle problems in a particular space. What is your design process for working with those problems instead of against them? Also, how do you plan out the electrical?When in the process does this come into play? I could ask a million questions, but suffice it to say I enjoy your blog so much!! Thank you for creating amazing content!!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that, Lauren (hello my fellow Scorp)! Guess what? I also left new homeowners with a giant binder, paint swatches,… the works! You and I are a lot alike :) I feel like those things were appreciated though. Great ideas for additional posts in this series- thanks so much for sharing those. I’ll add them to the mix! xo

  8. So, this is super helpful! Thanks so much for this post, and I love this series you are doing. I will gladly read whatever you have to say on the subject of interior design. I’ve read your blog for a while now and seriously, everything you and Emmett touch turns to gold. As far as ideas go, what about something to do with fireplaces? I’m crazy for the new mantle you all installed, but my husband will never go for ripping out a wall of stone to install something like that, so what can people do to work with what they’ve got? I’m not sure if that’s what you’re looking for as a suggestion, but it’s just a design question I have currently so it’s on the mind. Thanks for you all you guys do and for sharing it with the rest of us!

      1. Yes, yes, yes!! Thank you! Thank you!

  9. This is such great advice! I wish I had read this many months ago. I have taught myself so many tricks along the way since starting our home. I love how you consider function and you plan the details before just jumping and buying things that might not work. When you hire a process designer is this usually what the process is like?

    1. Thanks Halley! Love to hear that. That’s actually an awesome idea for a full blog post- what it’s like to work with an interior designer and what that process actually looks like. Everything is definitely planned out!