I’m Board

Oh yes, I know that’s the wrong type of board.  That’s a hint for you.  I’ve gotten a few questions about mood boards, so here’s what I do.  Professional designers probably have a quicker, better method, so if you’ve got tips or tricks, feel free to share in the comment section.

Are you ready?  Here goes nothing.  First, open a new document in Photoshop.  The canvas can be any size and resolution, you can always change it as you go.  I typically make mine 9 inches wide by 5 inches tall at 180 dpi.  Now, find an image of the items you want to add.  To make it easy on myself, I go to a website and take a screen shot and paste it (Control + V) on my canvas.  This automatically adds each item as a new layer.  When possible, use an image against a white background.

To remove a colored background, select the eraser tool, adjust the diameter, leaving the hardness at 100 percent.

For me, the easiest way to erase a background is using a small eraser tip, holding the shift button, and carefully clicking around the edges.  For straight lines, click once at the far end, hold shift and click at the opposite and it will make a straight line.  To go around corners, follow this same procedure, making smaller clicks to go around.

After tracing all the edges, erase the remaining background with a larger eraser tip.  If you want the item larger or smaller, click the rectangular marquee to make a box around the item.  Right click and select ‘Free Transform’.  Hold shift to enlarge proportionately and hit enter when you like the size.

You’ve made one item!  Go back to another image, screen shot, and paste it in.  Rename the new layer right away so you’re not searching through once you’ve added several items.

Erase the background on this one, too.

After tracing the outline, go back in with a larger brush tip to make this quicker.

Keep on adding items.  If you get an item you want to rotate, select the marquee, right-click, and choose ‘Free Transform’.  While holding shift, turn the item.

See that rug above?  Well, I don’t want it to lay over the couch.  Find that layer and drag it under the rest, making it the first layer.  Now the rest of the layers will sit on top if it.

If you want to add two of one item, select the layer, right-click on it, and select ‘Duplicate Layer’.

Photoshop places the new layer over the existing one, so move it where you want and you’ve got a pair.  If you want to flip it, use the marquee tool, right-click, and select ‘Flip Horizontal’.

For paint swatches, I think this method is the quickest.  First, paste the screen shot of the color.  Use the marquee too to make a square on the swatch.  Push Control and C at the same time to copy, then Control and V to paste the selected square.

Delete the screen shot of the swatch and move your new little box over to fit in your board.

Then you can choose accent paint colors and layer those on top.

It’s up to you if you want to arrange the furniture to look like a room.  Or just group pieces together to get an idea of the elements as a whole.

P.S.  If you’re having a hard time seeing the details, click on the picture to enlarge it.

P.P.S.  All keyboard short cuts mentioned are for PC, not Mac, though they are similar.

The Moody Blues

As we inch toward a completed bathroom, I’m planning the finishing touches.  Finding a clearance shower curtain changed my whole vision, in a good way.

1.  Originally, I thought we’d use a bluish-green paint color (like Dragonfly) for the vanity, but I remembered I had a blue shower curtain (number 10) and I switched gears.  Now I’m considering using Chicago Blues on the leggy vanity and Stone White for the upper part of the walls.  Admittedly, the blue looks crazy on a flat surface in bright light, but in the dark bathroom, on the vertical surfaces of the vanity, it reads more as a navy blue.  While navy blues look black.

2.  Warm gray one foot by two foot tiles with pearl gray grout on the floor should help the floors look cleaner.

3.  For a cohesive look, we used the same tiles in a lighter color for the shower surround, taking it up to the ceiling.  We’ll add white grout for a seamless look.

4.  Cleaning sinks isn’t my favorite task, so we chose a streamlined porcelain sink and sleek chrome faucet.  The eight inch wide-spread faucet makes cleaning between the handles easy, too.

5.  Two industrial style pendants hang over the vanity, adding much-needed light and allow a wider mirror.

6.  Because we liked the sink faucet, we chose a matching tub faucet.

7.  The great toilet paper debate doesn’t have to happen with this simple holder, placed vertically.

8.  In our last house, we used towel bars to hang our wet towels.  Folding the towels to look pretty didn’t allow proper drying, so we’re skipping the bars and using double hooks instead.  Medium gray towels are perfect for daily use and a coral ribbon loop adds color and prevents the towels from falling off the hook.

9.  Lacking drawers in the vanity means we need a practical storage solution for our toiletries.  This lazy Susan utensil caddy should do the trick, while bringing in a pop of our accent color, coral.

10.  Bring on the coral accents.  A plastic cup is great for the boys.

11.  This is the shower curtain that started it all.  Actually, we used it as a tablecloth for Thanksgiving, will add pattern and color.

12.  Monograms and pretty blue, sign me up.  These little trays are on clearance, so get one while you can.

I’m still figuring out artwork and I’m sure plans will change over time.  Maybe a few gold accents will find their way into the room?  This is a departure from our favorite blue and green combo, but I like where we’re headed.  Coral doesn’t pop up all over our house, so it’s a fun accent color and balances the boyish blue.

Have you been working on a mood board lately?  Figuring out the finishing touches for a room?  Have you ever used a clearance item as your inspiration?  Or switched plans half way through?