From Inspiration to Reality: How Mood Boards Bring a Project to Life

At Workshop/APD, mood boards play an important role throughout the design process. In the beginning, they’re a fun way for our designers to explore pattern, color, and texture possibilities that might convey more of a feeling, rather than the space’s finished look. We use our boards to tell the design story we envision for the room or property, often including a wide array of materials and fabrics to expose the client to many options and allow them to make informed decisions.

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Mood boards bring a design to life, allowing clients to feel fabrics and textures and get a better sense of colors. As we move along in the process, we’ll create palettes that are carefully refined to give clients a firsthand experience of the selections that will be used in the finished property.

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We’ve mastered the elements of a mood board and the way it can convey our design intent, layering different shapes, colors and materials, and combining stones, metals, woods, ceramics, fabrics, textiles and textures to create depth, excitement and interest.

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We’ll draw color or texture inspiration from the local landscape, or use a rug design as a jumping off point since they tend to ground a space the most. Often, we’ll create subdued, muted color palettes, such as a combination of taupes and beiges, or blues and greys, to establish sophisticated looks and allow textures to shine.

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And we take textures seriously, finding them key to building a well-rounded, visually engaging design. We carefully select varieties that can enliven the palette, including plush velvets, the smooth or rough edges of marble, a plaster pattern, or the grain of a piece of wood.

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Getting to know a client is crucial to building spaces that speak to who they are, making our mood boards pivotal to the design process as they ignite conversation and collaboration. The initial palette allows us to get the feel for a client’s likes and dislikes, and aesthetic tastes and sensibilities that we can build upon and use to direct our design language. Our process educates the client as well, guiding them and helping them realize where their preferences lie so they can refine their palette for final selections. It’s not simply about asking a client’s favorite color, it’s about getting a much deeper sense of their lifestyle and tastes and helping them to understand those better as well.

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