How to cre­ate the right mood

If you want to de­sign in­spired in­te­ri­ors, make sure you pin down your ideas first, says Maria Fitz­patrick

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Life Lifestyle -

start bring­ing the two to­gether so they feed into each other, and a plan of ac­tion will come. You will fig­ure out quickly whether some­thing, even if it’s aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing to you, re­lates to how you ac­tu­ally live. It’s a sys­tem that works.” For some, hav­ing a phys­i­cal, tac­tile board to re­fer to is per­fect. But for those who pre­fer a com­puter screen as their can­vas, there’s a whole other world of mood­boards to be ex­plored. Web­sites like Pin­ter­, where you gather im­agery from all over the web and “pin” it, like a vis­ual book­mark, to your own dig­i­tal page, are an amaz­ing free re­source for in­spi­ra­tion and plan­ning. Why tear up a mag­a­zine when you can “grab” the im­age of the ex­act chair or wall­pa­per you like, from a re­tailer’s web­site or an in­te­ri­ors blog, and “stick” it on your own board in sec­onds? The site is a vast, con­stantly grow­ing li­brary of vis­ual ref­er­ences, and as you ex­press your own tastes and pref­er­ences, you dis­cover other peo­ple’s – and can dip in to their trea­sure trove of im­ages, ideas and ex­pe­ri­ence, too. Ev­ery day, five mil­lion “pins” are added to the home cat­e­gory on the site, which is used by ev­ery­one from Kelly Hop­pen to Kirstie All­sopp, says Sarah Bush, UK Man­ager of Pin­ter­est. “The web is awash with beau­ti­ful im­agery and ad­vice, and it makes the process of em­bark­ing on a home project a lot eas­ier,” she says. “It’s a way to delve into mul­ti­ple in­spi­ra­tions and influences, from food to fash­ion to travel, ex­plore how they might re­late to your rooms, then re­fine your ideas. You might start with the idea of a ‘mod­ern in­dus­trial kitchen’, and nar­row it to the ques­tion of ‘Do I re­ally like how met­ro­pol­i­tan tiles look in my favourite colour?’ “You can also search for emo­tive words as well as styles — for in­stance, ‘cosy liv­ing room’ or ‘warm, ur­ban, edgy kitchen’, which al­low the search en­gine to take you right to the heart of how you feel about a room, adding another layer of res­o­nance to the re­search.” But it’s not just for im­age-shar­ing; If you strug­gle to get started, try the ‘three-word’ tech­nique. Pick a com­bi­na­tion of­words that con­vey the style but also what youwant your ex­pe­ri­ence of the room to be (“Light, el­e­gant andwel­com­ing” or “Smart, tai­lored and en­er­gis­ing”) and gather vi­su­als that sat­isfy those. Keep your influences as broad as pos­si­ble. Don’t just look at re­tail­ers’ sites and mag­a­zines; it’s also about the set of a filmyou’ve just seen, an old ad­vert or the shape of a per­fume bot­tle. In­clude pho­tos, cut­tings, swatches, found items, even a floor­plan sketch. Pin­board­ makes cus­tom boards to mea­sure (020 3608 1913). On Pin­ter­est, start off loosely by work­ing with an over­rid­ing theme, such as a his­tor­i­cal pe­riod. Then nar­rowyour fo­cus downto boards on a sin­gle room, then to fea­tures such as taps or tex­tiles. Along with Pin­ter­est, you can cre­ate mood­boards on Picasa, Pho­to­shop and Polyvore. There is a range of apps, such as Houzz, and soft­ware like Mood­board Pro for iPad – ex­per­i­ment to find one that suits your needs. At the end of a project, look back at your boards and learn fromthem: Were you too am­bi­tious? Are you nat­u­rally drawn to things that are too ex­pen­sive? Or are you be­ing too safe? Add a sur­prise into the mix. it’s a use­ful plan­ning tool that takes your mood­board to the next stage. Where you find a prod­uct “pin”, say, a lamp from The Con­ran Shop or a shower head from Bath­store, there’s in­for­ma­tion em­bed­ded be­hind it — a link will take you straight to its source, the price, other colours; mean­while, a “red thread” links it to rel­e­vant al­ter­na­tives, al­low­ing you to com­pare, con­trast and choose. Will Tay­lor, of Bright Bazaar, an in­te­ri­ors blog, has been us­ing the site since 2010. “It’s ex­cit­ing be­cause it’s in­stan­ta­neous. You could ar­gue that you have to be more con­sid­ered with a pa­per mood­board, but for me, do­ing it dig­i­tally al­lows for flex­i­bil­ity; you don’t have to stick to an idea just be­cause you’ve glued it down.” Will has 2,580,925 “fol­low­ers”. He en­joys the cross-fer­til­i­sa­tion of ideas be­tween peo­ple who have a sim­i­lar sen­si­bil­ity or are just look­ing for the same kind of kitchen cab­i­nets. But the most use­ful as­pect of all, he finds, is that noth­ing is deleted. “It be­comes an ar­chive of how your ideas have evolved, and it can sur­prise you,” he says. “You might say you’re not a fan of cit­rus colours, but look­ing back over your boards you might see that it creeps in a lot to the im­ages you find at­trac­tive. Look­ing at the things that you grav­i­tated to­wards over time is a more ac­cu­rate re­flec­tion of what you will en­joy liv­ing with. It’s prac­ti­cal. You learn what your ‘vi­sion’ re­ally is be­fore you start strip­ping wall­pa­per and buy­ing all around you.” Dec­o­rate Workshop by Holly Becker (Jac­qui Small) RRP £25 is avail­able from Tele­graph Books at £23 + £1.35 p&p (0844 871 1514; books.tele­graph.

Get on board: group­ing your ideas to­gether is the best way to see in ad­vance if your de­sign plans can ac­tu­ally work

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