Mood Board To Go!

April 4, 2011

Hello friends! How are you today? Did you have a nice weekend? I got home from London and immediately went to a flea market here in my city and found some great loot (you can see it here). We had beautiful weather so I got a lot done and feel really refreshed as a result. What about you? Are you well?

I’m not sure if I ever shared with you how I shop when I’m on a mission to find the things that I need to work on a project. Some of you may find this approach helpful, especially if you’ve not tried it before. I’m currently planning a “look” along with Sania and Leslie for the Dining Room demo that we’re doing at Liberty London on April 13th at 6:30 p.m. for my book launch (come if you can!) and so I have a somewhat long punch list of things that I need to buy/work on this week. I can’t believe I only have this week left, but let’s not talk about that?! ha ha! Anyway, in addition to my punch list, I also have a mini mood board that is in my bag at all times — it’s in a spiral bound “to do” notebook that I picked up at HEMA. It’s nothing fancy AT ALL – in fact, it’s extremely easy to pull together, here’s a photo of it below.

Mood Board To Go!

As you can see, these are the fabrics, ribbons and such that we’re using as part of our table design. The shots of pink throughout provide a little healthy tension to give this palette a jolt of color which is refreshing because without the pink, it can almost go a bit too far into the neutral zone (and I love neutrals so it’s easy for me to do!). The green takes it up a notch as well. There is also some charcoal and deep gray (you can see that below in the next image). Thing is, pink is a funny color and it comes in a million shades like any other color — some with blue undertones, others with beige, and what your eye thinks is the correct pink is often not the correct pink when you come home and view what you bought alongside with what you thought it would match. A way to avoid returns or worse, buying things that don’t work and forgetting to return them so you amass clutter, is to simply bring a travel mood board with you – a mood board to go.

I cut tiny snippets of the key pieces that we’ll use and attached everything with small bits of tape and this serves as my reference as I’m out and about. Funny enough, when you go into a store and pull out something like this, you’ll not only invite conversation (people are so curious!) but you’ll get the help that you need most of the time from the sales people because they’ll almost treat you with a bit more respect because you appear to know what you’re doing (whether you or not is debatable I guess ha ha) and you can often get a lot farther with them when you’re asking for a particular color or style and you can SHOW them what you mean vs. trying to describe it as everyone sees color much differently. Have you ever tried explaining a color anyway? It’s quite a task. A mood board to go saves time and money and is exactly why I’ve been using them for over 10 years as a guide when I shop.

As you can see below, this is a shot I took using Sania’s camera of everything piled together in her inspiring craft loft when we were together in London — so I photographed it as well so I could keep this photo on my iPhone to serve as an additional reference for me as I’m out shopping.

Mood Board To Go!

And a big P.S. — London was amazing! I had such a great time there and spent 6 hours at Liberty on Thursday sorting out and photographing what we want to do with the table, choosing everything from chairs to linens to a proper table… And then we lunched at Flat Planet next door (I highly recommend) and then visited Muji, John Lewis and VV Rouleaux for some supplies, and then I was off to Chiswick where I stayed at the posh High Road House designed by the one and only Ilse Crawford and we ate at the private “members only” club there — it was so pretty. The next day, I walked to Sania’s beautiful brick Victorian home and spent the entire day with her — we had so much fun crafting and sorting out ideas for the demo and did what girls do best – chat and play with pretty bits and bobs. I could live in Chiswick in a second, I really felt at home there.

I can’t wait until next week when I can take photos of the tabletop and show you how we’ve translated what you see above into a pretty table for Spring. Stay tuned!

(images: holly becker for decor8)


  • Reply Michaela @ bliss! April 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Can’t wait to see your table design. The fabric mood board is such a useful idea!

  • Reply kelly April 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    What a great idea to have one in your bag at all times

  • Reply Lottie Frank April 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Wow! I am excited for you, I can just imagine what a fabulous time you had, Libertys and VV Rouleaux are definately a must visit when I do a trip to London! I could spend hours in them both! I would love to come to the launch and am gutted I can’t make it but can’t wait to hear all about it here… hope it all goes fabulously for you :)

  • Reply meenal @ maison marigold April 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I absolutely love your idea of a mini-mood board to carry along on the sourcing trips..makes the job so much more stream-lined..would love to see what you come up with for the table..happy monday, holly! xx meenal

  • Reply SusieR April 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    You can use a stapler as well – it’s quicker than tape! LOVE this technique. Love you blog as well!

    • Reply decor8 April 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      @Susie – That’s a great tip! I use them normally but I ran out of staples! (blush) But the tape ended up doing the trick and looking quite cute. :)

  • Reply Danielle of Pretty Ingrid April 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Such a wonderful idea. I often find myself in stores wishing I had a reference point when looking for new items. I will definitely be using your tip in the future! I’m looking forward to seeing the final product; your palette is gorgeous :)

  • Reply Catherine April 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    What a great way to carry along projets. I love the idea!

  • Reply Leanne Ambrogio April 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    So excited for you Holly – the colours all look just wonderful. Wishing you a successful launch. xx Leanne xx

  • Reply Jillian April 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Hi Holly,
    Congrats on your book launch! I can’t wait to purchase my copy. Your comments about the pink on your mood board reminded me of a lecture about color palettes from one of our professors last week. He said that in every palette, you need one clear color, even if it’s just a touch, to keep the rest of the palette from getting muddy. I’ve been paying attention to this ever since he said it, and it definitely works. I think that’s what the bright pink in the center of your board is doing.

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente April 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    ABsolutley heavenly! All of it! It sounds like the best time ever hun & I am so happy you had such an amazing time! I love the idea of a travel mood board, such a great idea! That plus the photo you took of the table ideas….it is going to be beautiful. Can’t wait to see photos of the finished product! So much fun!

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente April 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Absolutely heavenly! All of it! It sounds like the best time ever hun & I am so happy you had such an amazing time! I love the idea of a travel mood board, such a great idea! That plus the photo you took of the table ideas….it is going to be beautiful. Can’t wait to see photos of the finished product! So much fun!

  • Reply Stacie April 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    So is it wrong to want to become a designer as an excuse to carry around a portable mood board? lol…..I love the palette…very fresh and sophisticated! And congrats on the launch…this is the ONLY decorating book I will most likely ever buy…so it will have a very special place in my home.

  • Reply Sara April 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing your process!! Can’t wait to see the results!

  • Reply Jo C. April 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for a long time but never posted. This is the most creative and inspirational blog online!! :) Can’t wait to see your results!!

  • Reply Sarah April 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Looks really good Holly, great idea too so you can remember colors – they are never the same as you think you saw them right? :))

  • Reply Genevieve Gail April 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Great idea, Holly! Looks like your table is going to be FAB, and love the little touches of hot pink ?

  • Reply Pebbledash April 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Lovely ideas, and gorgeous mood board!

    I lived in Chiswick for many years – it’s as great part of London! Good luck with the launch, and Liberty demo. Alas, I’m too far away to come!

  • Reply Genevieve Gail April 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Great idea, Holly! Looks like your table is going to be FAB, and love the little touches of hot pink!

  • Reply Virginia April 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    I love your board and the simplicity of it!

  • Reply Meesh April 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I will definitely give your useful tip a try! At first I was wondering if you kept all past and present on-the-go mood boards in your notebook…but I bet it would get pretty fat and bulky. No? It would be a fun project to make a big mood board from all the mini mood boards! On my list – get a new notebook!

    Can’t wait to see your completed tabletop!

  • Reply Vanessa Elizabeth l Ruffled Rose April 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    It’s a rare moment when I leave home without my sketch book. Sounds like you had a fabulous weekend, Holly. I cannot wait to see all the photos from Liberty!

  • Reply el {what you fancy} April 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    So glad you had fun in this amazing city (and completely agree about Chiswick)! I’m very excited for your Liberty launch, I’m sure it will be spectacular :)
    All the best,

  • Reply Tina April 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    This is such a great idea Holly! I always have an evelope of things that I have to pull out and end up misplacing things. Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply Alyssa April 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Recently I’ve been interested in interior designing. I see your fabrics you put together above and was wondering about the colors/patterns. How do you know they all go together? I mean.. is there rules to follow? Thanks!

    • Reply decor8 April 4, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      Alyssa – I think it’s a heart thing – you can judge with your heart, your mind and your eye. Decorating is an art, and like any art, it is open to interpretation. What one may love another may have no attraction to.

  • Reply jenn April 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    LOVE your inspiration, color and fabrics so far! And, such a great idea to keep a notebook of scraps for organization. Can’t wait to see your final table :)

  • Reply Shari April 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Oh, I wish I were with a Londoner when I went back in 2000. I met my friend there, a guy, and we did fun stuff, but I never got into any cool, artsy parts of London! I shopped in Camdentown’s outdoor fair, which was actually pretty cool, but other than that, nothing artsy or craftsy! I don’t know Chiswick, but I got out to Avebury to see Stonehenge and the circle of stones in Avebury, as well as running out to Bath to see the Roman baths. Loved it. Still… a trip with the ladies would be such a blast, I think!! So glad you had so much fun!!

  • Reply LauraJamesJewelry April 4, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Great idea thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Basil April 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I LOVE the inspiration! I’m a list-aholic and I’m forever tearing up magazines and gathering odds and ends to make mood boards and this is an ingenious combination of both …..

  • Reply Glenda @ The Paper Mulberry April 4, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I adore mood boards and sketch books, so lovely to look back on them, I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to swatches!! Love your page, the fabrics and colours look fabulous, very clean and chalky!

  • Reply Rachael April 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    What a great on the go idea! I can think of a couple projects right off the bat that I could use this for – Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Marissa Waddell April 4, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    This is genious. I usually run around with my purse full of swatches and other odds and ends, I probably look like a crazy digging alll of it out of my bag.

  • Reply candi April 4, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Excellent idea..thanks for sharing!
    I so the pink vibe.

  • Reply Laura April 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Eeeek so exciting! xxxx

  • Reply Erica Cooper April 4, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Oh, I so wish I could be there! I adore London and what could be more fun than watching your creative selves play with tabletops in Liberty? I am sure everything will turn out even more fab than you have planned, and with your pre-organization, your minds will have 2 weeks to percolate on all of the details. Ha! I love presenting and doing it in such a festive atmosphere will make it all the more fun. Enjoy!

  • Reply Lisa's Creative Home April 4, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Looks like you found some great things at the flea market. Love the fabric snippets you’ve coordinated on your mood board. Can’t wait to see the reveal!

  • Reply kalanicut April 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    I love the color combinations and textures you are working with. So inspired! I loved what you said about carrying this into shops & getting a little extra respect/TLC and how much it helps you stay on target. I’m starting play with some ideas and going on more sourcing trips. Almost miraculously I found a stack of business cards from a bunch of great fabric shops I’d visited a few years ago while I was organizing my new workspace — just as I’m started to get interested in fabrics and some sewing projects again. I am definitely going to try this as I start visiting them.

    So happy about your London successes & adventures. Would so love to see it in person!

  • Reply Amisha April 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Holly I love this idea! I had read somewhere that the human brain is not good at remembering color, so always, always carry a swatch if you want to match something.

    But this mood board makes swatch carrying so much more fun! And it is a little piece of artwork in itself – a collage even!

    Yesterday I was talking about jotting down ideas in the “Being Creative” series and I am going to link to this post for inspiration. May I use your image to link up?

    • Reply decor8 April 4, 2011 at 11:13 pm

      @Amisha – Yes of course – how sweet you are!

  • Reply Claire April 4, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Welcome to London! Glad you enjoyed Chiswick – my husband and I live close by and it’s great. Am hoping to come by your book launch at Liberty’s on the 13th. Hope it all goes well for you. Claire.

  • Reply Nat April 4, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    I love the portable mood board! I’ve got one too, only I never thought to call it that! Mine’s also full of lists, web addresses, quick sketches and things I have to try to remember.

    God luck with the launch!

  • Reply Lori Anderson April 4, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    I soooo want one of those notebooks!

  • Reply angie schwab April 5, 2011 at 1:25 am

    just discovered your site – thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Stacy April 5, 2011 at 7:06 am

    I have been a long time follower of your blog, and it just keeps getting better and better! In fact, you helped inspire me to start my own decorating blog…..now to just get it as well followed as Decor8…..hmmmmm. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Stacy Curran

  • Reply Stacy April 5, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Rookie mistake spelling my website wrong in mybprevious post! So excited to join the blogging world and forget to proofread! Anyway, thanks again for the inspiration from your great blog,

  • Reply Glenda Childers April 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Your London trip sounds amazing. What a sweet time for you . . . all your hard work paying off.

    Thanks for the creative and practical idea . . . a mini mood board.


  • Reply nilufer April 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    A mobile mood board!! What a great idea… I’m off to find a notebook and some tapes… MoodBoard was my favorite homework at BYW class :) Thank you Holly and welcome back to your home!

  • Reply ANETTESHUS.COM April 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Just LOVELY!!!

    Have a nice day!


  • Reply jamie April 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    this is marvelous. i ‘pinned’ it to remind me that this is a must have in my bag. plus a fabulous excuse to make yet another mini.
    love your blog.

  • Reply JWKstyle April 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    LOVELY!! Can’t wait to see the finished project. Do share!!

  • Reply linden April 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    I really like this idea Holly….it seems so simple but, I just never do such a thing. I usually drag pieces of fabric with me stuff in my pockets, all in a tangle and drag them out at the shop when I get there. So…THIS will make me feel organized and somehow more “professional”….no matter what the project. I have a small booth in a vintage/antiques shop…and I’m expanding soon…and I love the idea of a mood notebook. I am loving your book…I look at it every night lately and say to my husband…oh, look at this cool idea…oh, wanna try this one?! I’ve been following your twitter updates and it’s fun to have these little surprises show up on my phone!

  • Reply Shell April 6, 2011 at 3:49 am

    I never thought of a mood board to go. A fantastic idea and it can be used for a whole diverse of creative projects.

  • Reply Lisa April 6, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Love this little travelling mood board book, Holly! Just think of all the places it has gone already — and where it will go next! :)

    Can’t wait to see the photos next week! Hugs!

  • Reply la petite maison April 9, 2011 at 12:30 am

    The mobile mood board is brilliant, Holly! Ahem, I hope you don’t mind that I use your idea. :) I look forward to your photos…

  • Reply Melissa April 9, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I love this idea – it just makes so much sense. and your post made me miss London so much. I love Liberty and John Lewis.

  • Reply BODIE and FOU April 9, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Gosh there is so much going on on Wednesday, I better clear my day for it. I never stayed at High Road but we go there for breakfast very often at weekends. Their eggs benedict are to die for, staff very nice and have you seen their gorgeous floor tiles?

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