How To Create An Interior Mood Board With Canva | Sharing Our Design Inspiration

Wednesday 8 July 2020

Creating an interior design mood board

Having imagination is a priceless quality. It's one that’s often forgotten, and it's hard to put a price tag on, but it can be all the difference between an average result and a spectacular one. 

This is never more true than when it comes to renovating a sad, unloved house into a prized family home. 

I’ve shared my approach to planning a master suite, thinking through the best use of space with your architect and deciding how you really want those rooms to work for you.  The next step is deciding on the look and feel you want to achieve. 

If there’s one thing I’ve found it's that setting out a vision for the final look is hugely important - it's helped me and my husband to communicate and make decisions, and it’s helped with the practicalities of the project, such as deciding where to blow the budget and where to make savings. 

Not everything turns out exactly as you plan - practical considerations have a way of rearing their ugly head and forcing you to adapt as you go along - but making a moodboard does help to clarify the direction of travel.

Above, I’ve added links to my posts on the background of our home renovation, tips on planning out the space, and an update on works at four months in. You can see that we’ve made a lot of progress, but we still have a few details to cover off before I can do the big reveal!

So, what is the inside going to look like when we’re finished?

Creating a home renovation involves all sorts of people - your architect, your builders, their subcontractors and yourselves, so one of the most important things you can do, and something ONLY you can truly do, is be the custodian for the vision. 

You’ll get all sorts of input from all sorts of people, but it's up to you to curate, adapt and communicate in the name of getting the finished result you’re really going to love. 

There are so many decisions to make on a daily basis which are going to impact the overall layout, look and feel, and creating a mood board is a very useful tool for keeping everything straight in your own mind and being able to talk to others.

Design is something highly personal that it can be hard to find the right words for if you aren’t trained, so visuals can really help to bridge the gap and show exactly what finished look and mood you’re aiming for.

You’re never going to exactly replicate images that you see on Pinterest - the spacing, the layout and proportions and the light in your home are totally unique. But it's a very good idea to be clear about what you want from the space overall.

I’m not sure what the right phrase for our taste in interiors is, but I would suggest something like classic modern or even colonial. We have chosen a Victorian house because we love the proportions, the design and the layers of history, and we want any new additions to be respectful of that. 

We would never want to go ultra modern simply because we like the style of our period home, but equally we don’t want to live in a time capsule. We’re aiming for a happy balance, and this would be my idea of success.

We both agreed that we wanted a grown-up, sophisticated feel to the top floor of the house, as it's a space just for us, away from the chaos of family life. It had to feel calm and restful, but equally a little more bold than the design choices we’ve made elsewhere. 

Our Bedroom Design

Master Suite Mood Board Victorian Home Renovation

In the bedroom, it all centred around dramatic navy blue walls. As the space is so light, we knew it could take a darker colour on the walls without feeling too cave-like. We also wanted to include a statement wallpaper, which is an element of interiors that we both really like. 

When we found the ‘Procuratie Con Vista’ design from Cole and Son, we knew it was perfect. It added a bit of a cheeky twist to the room, but also has that classic illustration style which ties into the heritage and age of the property.

We also had one large piece of furniture already chosen - a Victorian bow-fronted chest of drawers in solid mahogany I had bought at auction. It’s a large piece, and quite dominant, so we knew we had to work around it for the rest of the decor.

That influenced our choice of a French style bed. Something with a light coloured upholstery would complement the darker walls and add to the sophisticated mood we were trying to fashion.

We also decided to add some blush pink accents into the scheme for contrast, in the form of cushions and throws and an upholstered bench to go under the large window.

Finally, a statement feather light fitting would provide the right balance of frivolity and luxury to bring the scheme together.

Our Ensuite Bathroom

Master Suite Mood Board Ensuite Bathroom Victorian Home Renovation

Sebastian sourced the most amazing black crocodile skin effect freestanding bath, and that became the centrepiece of the room. 

With such an unusual anchor, all the other design choices have to complement that. I’ve always found it the easiest way to pick a focal point - which could be a wallpaper, an architectural feature, or even an item of furniture - and design around that.

With the dark bath, I wanted lighter walls to create a contrast, so we went for a restful true grey. 

I started off looking at colours like Dove’s Tale and Elephant Breath by Farrow and Ball, which are soothing, neutral warm greys. I knew I didn’t want anything too cool toned, after we made the mistake of painting our current bedroom light grey without doing a tester, but it came out pastel blue on the walls. Decorating fail! 

The floor we wanted in a dark wood tone to add to the grown-up feel. Our original choice was for wood effect porcelain tiling, but due to the age of the house and nothing whatsoever being level, we ended up having to have the floor leveled and wooden boarding put down. We stained this ourselves in a medium oak shade, but that was too light and too orange, so we ended up redoing it in teak, and then sealing with several coats of yacht varnish to waterproof it.

The tiles were another last-minute compromise. I was pretty set on a white marble herringbone pattern, but we couldn’t use the tiles we ordered. We ended up having to rechoose ceramic metro-style ones at the last minute. 

Luckily, I’m really happy with the finish.They contrast nicely with the low-profile slate shower tray and frameless enclosure, which feels super luxurious.

We chose matte black fixings for the mixer shower, freestanding bath tap and sink tap to complement the bath. 

I was also very keen on sourcing a traditional looking wooden vanity unit for a countertop sink to sit on. This was hard to find, so we ended up just buying an acacia wood cabinet sold as a sideboard and a countertop sink, drilling into it to accommodate the piping. We did a similar trick when we renovated the family bathroom on the floor below. 

I love this look as it's both classic, modern and luxurious looking -  plus it gives some concealed storage to hide away all my lotions and potions.

To pick up on the brass tones in the vanity unit handles, I also chose a brass multi-way spotlight - good, clear lighting is a must for me in the room, although it's fitted on a dimmer switch, so I can have lower mood lighting when I’m in the bath!

After that, it’s all in the accessories, which do so much to define the finishes look of a room.

A dramatic statement mirror from Melody Maison, a dark wooden ladder style storage unit, brushed brass towel hook and some marble bathroom accessories along with a little pop of foliage will be the final touches to make this space into a little retreat from the world.

Our Dressing Room

Master Suite Mood Board Dressing Room Victorian Home Renovation

The dressing room is a the smallest space on the third floor, but thanks to the skylight, it's still flooded with beautiful natural light. 

Initially, we thought of having the room fitted with built-in cabinets, but as time went on we began to change our minds. If we ever come to sell, or simply need the space ourselves, we wanted the option to turn it back into a fifth bedroom quickly, especially as we had already included a walk-in closet in the bedroom. 

So instead of building in, we chose to use clothes rails and shoe racks instead to create storage. These were chosen in a matte black powder coated and dark wood finish to complement the furniture used elsewhere in the suite and give it all a cohesive look.

Because there is so much colour provided by having all the clothes on display, we chose to keep the walls white, and the carpet grey for a neutral backdrop.

I needed a dressing table that would fit under the eaves, and not be too huge to overwhelm the space, and the ‘Audrey’ Mini Desk from West Elm measured perfectly. This is a very subtle but glamorous design with textured drawer fronts and slim tapered brass legs, so that gave us the idea to add in other muted gold accents, such as the mirrors and the splash of gold on the classical bust.

Styling a room, just like styling an outfit, is all in the details!

Creating Mood Boards For A Home Renovation Project

The mood boards really helped with this. I create them in the Canva app and it takes me about half an hour, because I’ve usually saved a lot of inspiration images on my camera roll already. 

It also helps me to check that things I’m planning to order will all work together. I try to add items I know I’m going to buy and are within budget, although I’m all for adding in the statement pieces and then trying to get the same look and feel for less.

Simply upload your saved pictures or you can browse the photo library on Canva itself. Choose and add colours and fonts with the simple interface, and either use one of the pre-loaded collage templates, search 'moodboard' on the home screen or choose a blank template and go freestyle. 

With a simple, intuitive layout and a great mobile app it's such an easy tool to use. I use it for planning outfits for big events as well. 

A little planning can save a lot of heartache and help you to show exactly what you’re aiming for. 

Sebastian and I are thankfully very similar in our tastes and I don’t think we’ve ever really disagreed on how to decorate - he’s very involved and he actually has great taste, so we work together well. Mood boards have helped us to try out ideas and talk them through before committing, as well as making sure everyone else involved in the project is on the same page. 

This tool sits with a basic spreadsheet, where I track what we’ve ordered, the cost, the source, the dimensions and the delivery lead time - this keeps budgets and timings on track, as both can so easily spiral on a big project with many elements.

I hope this helps you to make your plans if you’re considering a home renovation project. Stay tuned for more updates from No.80.


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  7. Textured fabrics like wool and linen add depth and interest to upholstery.