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Inside the SSID Design Process: Making a Mood Board - Sarah Stacey Interior Design
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Inside the SSID Design Process: Making a Mood Board


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We take a closer look at the first stage of the SSID design process: visioning and creating a mood board. 

A collage of different images, artwork, color palettes, and materials, a mood board helps communicate your interior designer’s concepts and overall vision. 

For the team at SSID, the mood board is one of the favorite parts of our six-step interior design process. During the visioning stage, we collaborate with clients to create a mood board to inspire the visual tone for the rest of the project. 

Read on to learn more about the making of a mood board and its role in the design process. 

What is a mood board? 

A mood board is a designer’s go-to tool during the early visioning stages of a project. It represents the concepts and ideas pulled from the initial meetings between designer and client. 

At its most basic, a mood board is a collection of digital or physical images. Together, these images work together to capture a style, mood, or tone for an interior design project, and establish a direction before your design team gets to work. 

The images making up your mood board can be anything that inspires you — from interiors you admire to movies you love to outdoor landscapes that catch your eye. They could include Instagram/Pinterest photos, fabric samples, cut-outs from design magazines, or even physical materials.  

Why make a mood board? 

More than just a fun brainstorming exercise, a mood board is an integral part of the interior design process. Here’s why mood boards are so important in interior design: 

  • It helps you communicate with your designer. The purpose of a mood board is to act as a visual aid for communicating our design concepts and ideas for your home. Oftentimes, it’s easy to miscommunicate when brainstorming aloud. Instead of relying on words alone, you may find it more effective to express those ideas swirling around your mind with visual tools like color swatches and magazine cut-outs (that’s certainly been our experience, anyway). 
  • It helps you explore different ideas. By helping you visualize different ideas and concepts, a mood board helps you explore different styles, colors, and tones. Using your mood board, you can map out the design direction you want to follow with your project. 
  • It helps brings your ideas together in one place. By bringing together different colors, images, and ideas, your mood board helps identify commonalities and themes.  Together, these images will start to define your style and tell a story about your lifestyle and personality. 

How do we make your mood board? 

The process of making a mood board varies from designer to designer and client to client. At SSID, we like to kick things off with a questionnaire to give us a general sense of who you are and how you live. You can expect questions about topics ranging from your preferences on natural sunlight to your family’s entertainment style to your personal feelings about plants. 

We’ll review your answers during a face-to-face consultation (either in-person or via Zoom) to develop a clearer picture of your design goals and tastes. 

Drawing from your answers and these initial conversations, we start to collect things that excite you and spark your imagination. Working together, we gather pictures of spaces that have influenced you, as well as materials representing different textures you like. We hunt down images of your favorite vacation destination and movie sets, and even asks you for a picture of your favorite plate — which we’ve found can reveal a lot about your personality and design aesthetic! 

Once we’ve assembled a patchwork of colors, textures, and inspirational images, we’ll present your mood board to you for feedback, comments, and questions. Together, we make sure every inch of your mood board resonates before embarking on your interior design journey. 

See the Mood Board in Action: SSID Red River Living Room Design & Fireplace Remodel 

Want to see our mood board process in action? Check out the mood board from a recent project, when the SSID team was tasked with redesigning the living room for a young Austin family.

The final mood board included proposed combinations of earthy colors and modern and vintage textures. There were also images of the family’s favorite place to vacation (Switzerland) and from the set of their favorite movie (Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel). Also pictured is a treasured family plate, which inspired the quiet, classic patterns featured in the final room. 

In the end, the final living room design married modern elements with vintage, Wes Anderson-inspired pieces. Pulling from the textures, patterns, and themes on their mood boards, we outfitted the warm space with elegant, classic, and comfy new furniture — including soft velvet chairs, upholstered footrests, and a Transitional-style paisley rug. 

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