Mood boards are a great tool to use to hone in on your individual style. But how do you go from mood board to deciding on products and materials, such as flooring, and locking in selections for your reno or new build?
This is a question many readers have asked for help with! They say they can create mood boards but struggle to proceed to the next step of selecting materials and finishes. And we totally get why — often your mood board is brimming with beautiful images that contain different colour palettes and variations on a theme (or just completely luxe finishes that are well out of budget)!
Today top interior designer Sarah Leeson from The Mill is sharing her expert tips on how to decide on selections for your next renovation or new build.
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She suggests starting with any elements you really love and MUST include in the new space.
For some people that could be a feature wall (such as recycled brick), a ceiling detail such as exposed beams, or particular colour palette as this will set an element you’ll need to work around. If you don’t have any must-have features and simply want to create a type of aesthetic, she recommends starting with your floor finishes.
“As a designer I love all styles of design, however when it came time for me to build my own home, I all of a sudden found myself having to find a style I wanted to live in,” explains Sarah of a struggle many of us can relate to!
“When we put together a scheme, we always start with floor finishes as there are more selections in paint colours and cabinetry than there are in flooring. Get a base right and then work your way up.”
Deciding on the other finishes is where we often see people become stuck — will that cabinetry go with that flooring? Are there too many ‘loud’ elements in the space or not enough and it’s lacking character?
On this issue of creating layers of materials that work together, Sarah says “Your home has to be harmonious”. She suggests selecting a primary wall colour that will form the colour palette throughout the home.
“Every room needs to feel like it flows seemingly from the other. You still want to create contrast and texture which stems from your main wall colour. For example, your main wall colour should be used on at least 50 per cent of your internal walls while other rooms could play on that colour. You could paint some rooms a few shades darker to create mood (perhaps a guest room you want to feel more cosy or a theatre room) or select similar toned wallpaper, or even create a highlight feature fireplace or wall.”
Once the flooring and walls have been selected, she suggests looking for ways to create features or use highlight materials that can become your hero element.
“If you have fallen in love with a stunning pendant light that you want to hang over your dining table, don’t think that you need to find an equivalent pendant to place in your kitchen. They should complement each other, not compete with each other.”
On things to look out for, Sarah says it’s important to think about materials that will sit together and touch.
“One of my biggest pet hates is two timbers next to each other. For example installing a beautiful timber floor and then selecting a timber for your kitchen cabinetry — big mistake.
“This comes back to where you want to select your features. Don’t spend money on a stunning solid timber floor if it is going to be clash with an alternative timber product.”
And finally, to piece it together you can create your own selection board similar to the ones pictured here by ordering your own samples where possible.
While a mood board generally consists of a range of images that inspire a concept or overall direction, a selection board contains one of each material you want to proceed with. Create your own by placing carpet or flooring samples, tiles, paint chips, feature materials and any other products together and see how they look.
“Gather your sample selections, lay them out together and see if they work comfortably together. You should get a feeling for how your home will look and feel. If there’s something that stands out because it’s not quite the right tone, then take it out and find an alternative as on a larger scale it’s likely to stand out more — and for the wrong reason!
“Again pick your feature material for each room and make sure all the other elements in the room are complimentary not competing. Also think about scale. For example, knowing that proportionally you will have more wall colour than door colour so when laying out your samples show less of the door colour so you get an accurate overall vision.”
Thank you Sarah for these great tips and inspiring selection boards! We hope this will help you when making selections for your reno or new build. To see more work from The Mill, visit their website or connect on Instagram.
This article was first published in August 2017 and has been updated with new information and images.