Quick + Cheap Mood Board Idea

April 9, 2011

I’ve been a busy bee this week! In addition to planning for the Liberty event in London on Wednesday night (we’re making lots of pretty things for the tabletop and a special installation to go above the table), I was asked if Where Women Create magazine could shoot my work studio this week and of course, since I’m a keynote speaker at their special upcoming Creative Connection event (alongside Oprah’s own Cristina Ferrare) in September, I said yes! It worked out really well because I was able to work with my husband, who shot the story, and I styled the shots which was fun — it definitely made me miss working on the road last year styling my book Decorate! Here is an outtake from the shoot of my desk area. You can see the entire room in their next issue!

Quick + Cheap Mood Board Idea

Above my desk I have this very quick and easy DIY mood board/art display. I made it up myself – hey, decorating isn’t rocket science! What I did was cut a piece of linen and secured it to the wall with 5 nails. I then disguised the nails by looping some simple ribbon around each one. I let the linen drape because it looks more natural than if I had pulled it extra tight across the wall. It looks more casual and soft this way. I have tons of prints that I’ve purchased over the years from Etsy and I can’t properly frame all of them so, using Japanese craft tape which sticks so well yet can be easily removed without tearing paper, I “tacked” everything to my mood board/art wall. I can swap imagery whenever the spirit moves me. I like that because the spirit moves me quite often! In fact, changing a mood board regularly is a trick that helps me to stay out of creative ruts. The moment I feel one coming on, I edit my mood board and the fresh perspective helps energize me. With the “Holly” mood board, you only need a little less than a meter of linen, 5 nails, and some ribbon and of course Japanese crafting tape and some art, tears from magazines, etc. and boom! you are in your creative zone in minutes.

I had some major déjà vu moments working on this story for Where Women Create and definitely feel like I need to do more of this in the future along with books and anything else that I can continue to do to combine imagery and words to communicate what’s inside of me to all of you. I love decor8, so the blog will always be front and center, but side projects are so meaningful and rewarding and it’s good fuel for me to have them as they also feed my creativity so that I can blog with more passion. I have come to realize over the past five years that blogging with intention, with heart, with passion is always my goal — it is so much more rewarding over simply tossing up posts for the sake of writing something. For me, a blog is a place to communicate feelings, a vision, talk about inspirations, ideas, goals, dreams… I think that is what makes a great blog, well, great. What do you think?

(photo: thorsten becker)


  • Reply KitzieG April 9, 2011 at 11:33 am

    What a fantastic idea and source of inspiration!
    I recognise a few of my fellow Etsy sellers on there too :)

  • Reply Jess April 9, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Absolutely! I wrote a post recently about this – I think a blog is never ‘finished’ but is always best when the blogger is putting their heart and mind into it.

    I gave 2 talks today, and when I asked the audience why they read blogs, the biggest response by far was ‘inspiration’! You always do a wonderful job of blending inspiration with thoughtful insight, and that’s the mark of a truly wonderful and unique blog.

  • Reply Meghan @ My Wishful Thinking April 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

    What a fantastic idea! I love the ribbons over the nails! I’m off to start my board now! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Ludmila @ creamylife April 9, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Thank you for sharing this brilliant idea, Holly! Never thought it might be that easy to create an inspiring mood board. Happy weekend! P.S. Love your book, the review is coming on Monday on the blog :). xo

  • Reply belinda April 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    your office is perfection, which i knew it would be. i agree – you need to be thoughtful about what you post and i don’t read many blogs that are just slapped together to get three to five posts up a day for the sake of attracting traffic (sorry, but in many cases, it’s true). I prefer the lenghty, heart-felt posts with messages, thoughts, inspirations and ideas rather than just a picture. It KILLS me that I’m not able to dedicate more time to my blog at the moment. But mine is pretty much all original content and with a newborn, and massive life changes coming the next few weeks, it’s put on the back-burner and I really miss it! I miss the whole blogging community and feel a little out of it at the moment. hmph x

  • Reply April {iam_artisan} April 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Wow! That was simple and yet it turned out great. I love the wood lampshade. Is it really wood?

  • Reply Basil April 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    What a fab idea ….I love that it blends with the texture of the room, rather than being harsh and too office-like!! Thanks for the inspiration…. Can you get your book in the UK?

    • Reply decor8 April 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      @Basil – Yes, Decorate is sold at bookstores in the UK as well as Selfridges, Liberty and Anthropologie.

  • Reply michelle samoraj April 9, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Great idea, I’ve never heard of Japanese craft tape. I also have never thought of just taping to fabric, how simple! Good inspiration

  • Reply Jane April 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Ah, Holly! So fabulous to see your current mood board after creating my own for BYW. Your enthusiasm is so catching – I had my mood board blown up into an A2 size photo which I plan to frame and hang above my desk as inspiration. A thousand thankyous for helping me unleash the creativity inside me! J x

  • Reply Theresa April 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    What an inspiring and true post today. I really love your attitude about blogging and I do think that side projects just make your blog better and better. Always good to get many influences!

    I also try to blog original content only. I’ve now just started a new category called ‘BreakfastPicks’ where I actually share my favourite links but other than that almost all my pictures etc. are created by myself and it does take a lot of time. I love that you put so much time and effort in your blog posts as well! Thank you!
    Yours, Theresa

  • Reply Nic @ Yardage Design April 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Excellent idea, and perfect timing. I’m off to make one of these – thanks!

  • Reply Ivy April 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Since BYW class, I’ve been working on creating my own studio/craft room/ art room/ photography room. The room has so many titles for such a small space!
    I like the placement of your board, behind your computer. Nice quick reference.
    Do you change your mood board often… or do you keep it mostly the same?


    • Reply decor8 April 9, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      @Ivy – I usually change it once a month.

  • Reply Mervi April 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Looks lovely. Unfortunately I don’t have wall space for that, but if I did… So lovely.

  • Reply Beach Coast Style April 9, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Holly, love the idea. I have a framed cork board I got from Ballard Designs sitting right in front of me that needs some of your mood board love. Hmm maybe I will get the spirit and get moving on it. :)

  • Reply Lori April 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Inspirational! I learn so much by reading your blog and get inspired each and every time. I never knew what Japanese craft tape was but I am now a huge fan! It will allow me to create my own mood wall and now things will actually stick and will be easily changed. Thank you for sharing your view of the world – I am continually inspired.

  • Reply Karena April 9, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Love the linen mood board and the way you hung it! I should do that as I have a dozen works of art that need framing!

    Art by Karena

  • Reply juliette April 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Oh I love this idea for a mood board! I like how it’s soft, yet structured. I have been struggling with the mood board concept for a while now; all the boards I’ve been finding require too much prep-work -like painting- that have been a huge deterrent for me in regards to my current schedule. This is a much better solution! Thanks for the great idea!

  • Reply kalanicut April 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I love your workspace. Even more I love how you remind us what makes a blog lovely and what part of ourselves we should be bringing to it –heart, heart, heart…I hope you have a blessed week. It’s going to be lovely.

  • Reply anne hubben April 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    I love this idea, Holly! I’ve been rearranging my office + have been planning to get a corkboard, but I change things around so much, i like this idea better. Also, I happen to have some fabric that I didn’t use as planned for something else so this idea is great timing. AND, I have japanese tape on the way from one of Leslie’s suggested shops! I love your office too. I’ve realized I kind of have “thing” for work spaces.

  • Reply Monica Lee April 9, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Holly, you’re killing me here! I had to buy the book, now the craft tape….all this good I-have-to-have-now stuff! I was at the event last Sept. It is super fun. Hoping to make it again to see you speak, yippee!

  • Reply Trina : la la Lovely April 9, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Love you’re inspiration board and how you made it. I just made one but used bulletin boards and pulled the linen tight. Thinking of putting it in my little girls room and then trying one this way. As always …thank you for you for the inspiration. xo Trina

  • Reply Barbara April 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    What an incredible inspiring board! I recently became kind of obsessed with Japanese tape. I found some at the local shop and decorate some envelopes for friends and…what a fun job! :) – Barbara

  • Reply meenal @ maison marigold April 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    love your idea for a moodboard simple yet so versatile!! thanks for sharing, haolly..have a lovely weekend! xx meenal

  • Reply meenal @ maison marigold April 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    do excuse the typo, Holly! xx meenal

  • Reply solovelydecoration April 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    love this ,simple things are often the best,it’s beautiful,
    and i love the idea to use the things that you already have at home and try to use them ,see them with “a different eye”.
    that’s art!
    have a good week end sophie

  • Reply Katie Truelove April 9, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I completely agree and I think you do that so well with your blog:) I never thought to use Japanese craft tape this way and I love the idea! I usually just end up just hoarding it because it is so pretty;) In order to hang my many postcards and prints that I haven’t framed I’ve hung a thick ribbon and clipped them up with mini clothespins that are very light and allow me to add and remove as needed:)

  • Reply Tina April 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Great Idea! I’ve been looking at tackboard ideas so this is now added to my list of options!

  • Reply Melissa Allam April 9, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    So glad you are back to the blog. I have only been reading for awhile instead of blogging myself and your blog still brings beautiful and soothing colors to my computer screen and a cheerful spot my day. The relaxed feel of your moodboard brings a sense of creativity constantly on the verge of something new and exciting.

  • Reply Queen of Dreamsz April 9, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    This is exactly what I’ve done for years for displaying everything under the sun. In my new studio I have put up new design walls using the 2 inch thick insulation board from Lowe’s…I then covered it with white so everything that goes on it really pops.

    Thanks for the inspiration and I’ll watch for your feature in the magazine.

    Pink Sparkles to fill your day,

  • Reply Diane @ home sweet homemade April 10, 2011 at 12:22 am

    very nice idea, so feminine and simple.

  • Reply Jadyn April 10, 2011 at 2:52 am

    Thanks for the idea, I love it! I wholeheartedly agree, too, that the best blogs are the ones written with feeling and include dreams and ideas. So glad you share yours, and so beautifully.

  • Reply Andreia April 10, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Love your working space Holly and thanks for blogging the way you do!

  • Reply Marlene April 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Love your mood board! I want to do something similar for quite some time now…
    What you say about blogging is so true! You have to have a purpose why you are writing this exact posting at exactly this time… One has to be “into it”… truely…

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this :)

  • Reply Rose April 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Holly it is Sunday evening and in preparation for the week ahead, I popped into my studio to read some mails. As I read your post above, I could not help but recall what I had heard Wayne Dyer say:- “to be motivated means to be moved from the outside. To be inspired on the other hand, is to be moved from within yourself.” Holly you inspire me. I think it is because you work from the heart. Thank you.

  • Reply Franca April 10, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Lovely idea for a easy moodboard, Holly. When you work on paper…well you will need a huge piece of paper( noisy, wrinkly expensive etc.)! Like painters do; it also nice to take a step back and see the whole picture.

    I sometimes feel the same “pressure”to post three times a week, not because my readers will get nasty ;) but because I made a commitment to do so. Hell yeah I think our mind is sometimes our worst enemy

    Have a nice Sunday evening!

  • Reply Martina Fuchs April 10, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks for this great idea – I was thinking of changing the wall opposite to my desk so now I know what I’ll do. I always like your “easy going”tipps so much. And yes if you blog from your heart and walk the talk that’s the only way how success can come to you.

  • Reply Aileent April 10, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    What a simple but fabulous idea. I will bear this in mind for a future project. Aileen

  • Reply Daniel April 10, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    For a long time ago I’ve been searching for something that could effectively influence my mood, something that I could easily change when I need or get rid of it when I don’t need. This is good :). Bravo!

  • Reply Rachel April 11, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! I just finished making mine. I have a really thin wall where my desk is so thumb tacks and tape did the trick.

    Here is my post I did about it.

  • Reply Glenda Childers April 11, 2011 at 3:18 am

    I love the mood board I made for the Blogging Your Way class last year. This is a great idea, too, Holly, as it can cover so many more area, than just my blog. Beautiful creative work.

    Congrats on all your recent success. So fun.


  • Reply Jen April 11, 2011 at 4:04 am

    Wow – this is really great – I need to do something EXACTLY like that!
    Thanks :)

  • Reply Debbie April 11, 2011 at 9:01 am

    You are an inspiring creation! x

  • Reply Hazel April 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I love your blog; the sharing of creativity and vision is just flawless. I think the open publication and communication of a blog is what makes it great. Anyone can have one, anyone can comment… everyone gets involved to create fantastic conversations.

  • Reply annie April 12, 2011 at 3:51 am

    holly, i love your mood board, it looks so easy to create too. do you know when your story is coming out in Where Women Create magazine? i love that magazine though it’s quite pricey, so i only buy it occasionally.

  • Reply Bre April 18, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Ugh , that is the cutest thing! I can’t wait til I move so I can do something like this. As is, I don’t have much space to do anything!!


  • Reply bonnie April 21, 2011 at 12:26 am

    hi holly! love this set up. :) where did you get your desk from? xox

  • Reply brianna March 10, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Yes, where is this amazing desk from?

  • Reply Nina April 22, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    May I ask where you got that amazing desk?

  • Reply pelicanlake71 February 19, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    I love this!

    Can you tell me where you got that chair, or even what that style is called so I might find one for my own office?

  • Reply Mari Eriksson March 25, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Absolutely beautiful!!! I love work spaces!

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