How to Move Beyond the Mood Board
Advice,  Design

Moving Beyond the Mood Board

We love to get inspired! How often do we steal a few moments to refresh our Instagram feed or add a few new pins to our Pintrest board. We get sucked into the social media ether with dream images of all of our new swoon worthy spaces. Mood boards are meant to inspire us. They set the tone for the look and feel of the space. Keep in mind that you don’t have to mimic everything you see in its entirety, you just have to capture the essence of the space.

So how do you move away from your social feed and move into reality. What do you actually do with those collection of dream spaces? How do you move forward, especially when your dream space is beyond your real budget? We assembled a few steps to turn your inspirational images into reality and help you to:

Move Beyond the Mood Board


Step 1: Determine Your Values


Is your mood board filled with seemingly contrasting images that do not seem to fit together? Take a moment to study the images and determine what drew you to the images in the first place.

Was it the openness of the room?

The Colors?

The Furniture Arrangements?

The Window Treatments?

The Design Style?

The Organization?

Were you inspired by how they made use of small space?

Was it a renovation before and after that caught your eye?

Finding key attributes of the space will help you narrow down your selections and hone in your design sensibilities. This will give you key elements that your new space will need to incorporate. For more advice on this step read our post How to Become Your Own Interior Designer.

Step 2: Do Your Homework

Now it’s time to do a little research. Is there a certain chair style or piece of furniture that captured your attention? Do some research and find that particular piece or a similar version of it online. You can use reverse image look up sites such as to help you find your coveted piece. Finding your piece will help you form a preliminary budget and will help make your dream feel as if it is turning into reality.

Once you find it, check that it is currently available and in stock and check the dimensions to see if it will fit in your space. You may find that your dream piece just doesn’t fit, and that’s OK! Remember its about capturing the essence. Try to find other pieces that have a similar style and shape. Find the element that most inspired you about the piece. Is it the color that blended so well with your existing pieces? Was it the sense of comfort? Many websites group pieces by design style making it easy to make alternate selections.

Stay flexible and open to other design options. Not only does this open yourself up to new opportunities, it will also help your bottom line! The key is to stay on theme. Stay true to the ideals of your inspiration piece and let that be your guide.

Repeat this process for all of the items you plan to purchase for the space. Place all your actual product selections into a new board so you can see everything cohesively. This is your concept board. Be sure to compare your concept board to your mood board to ensure your are matching the overall look and feel.

Step 3: Make a Floor Plan

Every space has it’s own quirks. The perfect furniture arrangement in your inspirational image may not work in your actual space. Often times pieces are clustered together for the sake of the photograph. When you try to recreate the look you quickly realize your prized layout simply isn’t livable.

To save yourself from this nightmare. Take a moment to plan out the space. There are several floor plan apps that allow you to create your own floor plan based on your actual measurements.

Don’t forget to add in your windows and doors to your floor plan! Drop in furniture sized to match the dimensions of your proposed, and existing (if any) pieces.

Be as accurate as possible! The goal of this step is to test out potential furniture arrangements until you find the layout best suited for your space.

Step 4: Test Your Palette

Your vision is starting to take shape! Start acquiring as many samples as possible to start turning your virtual palette into reality. This includes flooring samples, wallpaper samples, paint swatches, fabric samples etc. Gather up anything and everything you can get your hands on!

Arrange your samples into a miniature composition. This is your finish palette! Here you can swap out paint colors, or other items that don’t seem to work with the rest of the palette. If you are working with any existing pieces, bring your finish palette over to the piece and study the items side by side.

If your renovation project includes painting, you may want to consider painting a sample swatch on your wall. This will help you visualize how the paint will look in your actual space. Doing this also helps narrow down paint selections.

When you start selecting paint colors you quickly realize there are simply too many shades of blue on the market! Keep in mind many paint suppliers can custom match a paint color if you have your heart set on a particular hue.

Step 5: Revisit your Budget and Measurements

Have you ever heard the expression “Measure Twice Cut Once”? Similar rules apply! A renovation project is an investment. You want to make sure that you are spending your hard earned money wisely.

Check the return policy and warranty period on any piece you plan on purchasing. This will give you piece of mind for your future purchase.

For us, the floor plan stage is a good test of our measurements. If you attempt to draw the perimeter of the room and you can’t complete the shape, then something isn’t adding up!

Sometimes popular items sell out quickly or a sale ended on one of your selected pieces and the price of the increased. Revisit your furniture selections and confirm pricing and availability. Don’t forget to include shipping and handling costs!


If you find that you need to to replace an item, be sure to update your floor plan and finish palette accordingly.

Step 6: Assemble

Now its time to put your ideas into action! Be systematic in your assembly approach for efficiency. The most ideal renovation conditions will involve your room going completely offline during the renovation process. But life happens!

Sometimes you have to still live in the space while the work is on going. If this is your reality then plan the work in phases. The process will take a little longer but it will fit into your lifestyle.

When planning out your work schedule think about how one project will affect the other.

Dayziner LLC
Dayziner LLC
Dayziner LLC










  1. Are you laying new floors and painting the walls?
  2. What will you do to protect your floors from paint spills and drips?
  3. Conversely how will you protect the wall base as you install new flooring?
  4. Will the wall base be replaced to receive the new flooring?

The answer to these questions will help you determine your renovation order.

In many cases your contractor or designer will determine these answers for you. If you are planning on doing the work yourself, it is important to ask and answer questions such as these before the work begins.  Think about the scope of the project and the interrelationship between each renovated item. This will help determine your working order.

Dayziner LLC

Once your plan is in place its time to get started! Remember to take photos along to way. They are memoirs of your design journey and your badge of honor for a job well done!

Your pin board is a beautiful starting point for your next design project. But its just that, a starting point. When you are ready for your next great adventure, follow these steps to bring your inspirational board to reality. Give it a try, you will amaze yourself at what you can do! Always remember we are just a click away if you need us!

Until Next Time!


One Comment

  • BJ

    WOW! I loved your “From the Mood Broad to Reality” piece!! A lot of Great Tips, A lot of additional links, A lot of “…be sure to remember” points. Good Step-by-Step layout as well. Thank you for inspiring us. Always find wonderful articles that helps me to know and to grow on. Keep inspiring!! Thank you