Lucy Penfield of Lucy Interior Design Delights Her Clients with Vibrant Mood Boards: Now, She Tells You How

Lucy Penfield, owner of Lucy Interior Design, teaches us how to create a seaside, beach-inspired mood board

Mood boards provided by Lucy Interior Design

Mood boards aren’t new, but the ways in which designers use them continue to evolve. Lucy Penfield, the genius and design principal behind Lucy Interior Design in Minneapolis, has recently been rocking her Style by Lucy blog with exhilarating mood boards celebrating color and textiles, plus tips on planning the perfect party.

So, we asked her to walk us through creating a mood board of one’s own, the perfect starting point when thinking about redoing a room in your home. Whether you use a software tool (like Photoshop, Canva, or Milanote) or choose to create something in person, designing a mood board “uses inspiration as a springboard,” Penfield says.

As an example, she suggests redoing a room with a “seaside or beachy vibe.” Before any pinning, online or hands-on, Penfield says, “start with something that really resonates with you and you can’t live without,” such as a work of art, family treasure, or beloved piece of furniture that can become the focal point of inspiration in the room.

Next, “identify the color you can’t live without,” which in this case might be azure blue. Now, choose a complementary color, like coral. “While beginning to gather ideas for the mood board, I’ll go to the paint store and get swatches of those colors as place holders,” she says. Then, choose a foundation color, “like a sand dune color, which might show up as a weathered oak floor.” Silhouettes and shapes in the form of sofas, side tables, or chairs come next. The walls? Think “a warm white that reminds you of the seaside.”

At this point, Penfield says, you’re still collecting images. If you’re using Pinterest, Google, or another search engine, copy and paste the link into a Word document for future reference. Also, take a screen shot of the image, and put it in a folder. You’re on your way.

Once you’ve gathered your images and sources, “you’re ready to curate and edit,” Penfield says. Start with the floor, then the rug, then “build the repertoire of silhouettes and shapes with the sofa, tables, chairs, and lighting. Start layering,” she advises. “Then, sprinkle in the flavor, the zing and spice, pop and bounce, in the form of artwork, accessories, and wall coverings.”

For this hypothetical seaside room, include some open-back chairs for transparency; textures like grass cloth in the form of a wall covering or raffia light fixture; and high-performance upholstery on the sofa with a stripe or print. “Now, consult a book about Capri [an island in Italy’s Bay of Naples], and study how to pop the room with color,” she continues.

Incorporate a family treasure, found objects, art pieces, and other décor from your local vintage shop, local art gallery, or sites like Minted or Society 6 “that will sweep you away.” Here’s where you “add layers of personality,” Penfield says. Integrate it all into the mood board until the “eye is tantalized.”

Soon, you’ll have the inspiration for a new look that’s as enticing and exciting as one of Penfield’s boards. “We’re all starving for the carefree, the light, the happy, the cheery right now,” she says. “The boards we’re creating for the blog bring people joy. You can create your own mood board with a designer or do it yourself. Just start to dream, and then turn your vision into reality.”

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