Friday, October 8, 2010

The boards that make me moody

Grade 7 Home Ec class... The teacher assigned a project that we each had to create a collage of pictures of things we would want in our first place and write a paragraph or two about how we imagine our first home away from our parents.

Now these collages are being called "vision boards", or more commonly, "mood boards".  And they are being touted as a tool of the professional interior designer.  Entire books have been written on the subject of mood boards, and there are now numerous websites that allow the user to create their own mood boards, save them, share them...

As an interior designer, I take issue with mood boards.  A mood board is nothing more than a visual wish list of sorts.  So what is my issue with mood boards?  A client presented me with one she had evidently spent hours making; it was a melange of images taken from cheap big-box furntiture stores, uber-expensive hand-crafted items from Europe, several pieces from manufacturers not locally available... And she expected me to use this as a shopping list of sorts for her project, with little care that several of the items really didn't work well together, that the proportions of different pieces made them incompatible. On the website where she created this mood board, other users gave it a 4-star rating, so it must be me who is wrong in finding fault with her selections!

So yes, I am drawing a comparison between these mood boards and my grade 7 Home Ec project - a wish-list collage.

Mood boards do have a purpose: they allow you to combine different pieces, styles, colours, even textures, and provide you with an idea of how different things can look together.  But they have their limitations.  If used as a tool to help create a starting point for a decor, they can be a great help, and really fun to make.  Just remember that a mood board is not a specifications manual, and it certainly cannot replace a professional interior designer.