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Interior Designer's Guide to Moodboards

We recently asked on our Insta stories whether people were confident in their interior style and a whopping 75% said they were still a little confused. More interestingly, nearly 90% said they were a bit overwhelmed with all the inspiration that comes from even just sitting on instagram, before you add in Pinterest, magazines, tv shows etc etc etc and can totally see why! We're bombarded with images every day it's so easy to get inspiration from every direction...it's the filtering that's the hard part, which is where the trusty moodboard comes in! I usually use two slightly different approaches depending on the purpose and where we're at in the design process...


Before I get into it too much, there is not right or wrong way to moodboard. It could be literal inspirational interior images, it could be completely unrelated imagery and you just like the colour or texture. As long as you identify what it is you like about each picture then anything goes!


Moodboarding for inspiration

Moodboards are my favourite way to kick off a design brief (whether interiors or otherwise) Before you start, I would always write a couple of lines on what the moodboard is supposed to be helping with, this becomes your brief. It could be a general style for your entire home or something more specific like storage solutions for a child's room but writing down this intention will help keep you on track, giving you something to refer back to and most importantly help you to throw out things that don't fit the brief!


Moodboard for BestNests by roost - Interior Design for Property Developers

Moodboard created by roost for The Best Nests


This should be the most fun aspect of your project as your mind can run wild! Searching for what to include can really help to expand your imagination and the possibilities for your space as this shouldn't be about specifics - HOWEVER, if you take too long, this is when it can lead to overwhelm, confusion and worry that you're making the wrong choices.


The most important aspect at this stage is the editing. Edit. Edit. Edit. To stop the overwhelm, either give yourself a time limit, even set an alarm for half an hour and stop (really, STOP) when it goes off, or say after 10-15 images take stock of what you've saved. Check that these images fit your initial brief and see how they all sit together, either by physically printing them out or simply by looking at a digital or Pinterest board. You should see an overall theme coming together and if anything sticks out or doesn't fit the brief, chuck it out! You might only be left with a few images, which is totally fine, better to have a few concise selections than lots of pretty pictures you don't know what to do with.


Moodboard for Fairview New Homes by roost - Interior Design for Property Developers

Moodboard created by roost for Fairview New Homes


Once you've got this edited down you might be happy with what you've got - if so, great! - or you can use this to see where you've got gaps you want to develop more and do a bit more research on those specific areas. This will help narrow down your search and should stop you getting distracted with new imagery or continuing to research things you're already happy with. Of course design is subjective and things will naturally develop over time so once you're happy, park the board for a few days and come back to it to check you're still happy with the overall feel, coming back with fresh eyes can help make decisions quicker as you're not so consumed by it! There's also nothing wrong with having a couple of different boards that you can then pick from (maybe a neutral scheme vs one with pops of colour for example)


Once you're totally happy with your board, run it out or keep the file open on your computer. Having this constant reminder of what you're looking for will again help keep you focused on the overall look and stop you getting distracted or tempted by other things. We all see bits that we absolutely love whist we're shopping or scrolling, but if it throws your vision board into disarray chances are it's an impulse that you won't be happy with in the long run!


Moodboard materials

The second stage of moodboarding is only when the overall scheme has been signed off and everyone's on the same page style-wise. This is when the specifics start being nailed down. Using your inspiration board as a starting point, start to search for products that realise that vision and collect physical samples. This could include tiles, paint swatches, floorings or furnishings. Similarly to the inspiration phase, once you've found something, look at it next to your board and see if it fits, collect all your samples together and see if they reflect those initial images you loved and bring it to life and edit accordingly.


Sources: Arthur Casas | Flusso Creative | Floor Nature


Now I'm not saying this will stop the blind panic in B&Q standing in front of the paint aisle wondering whether to go for "inky sky" or "noir bleu" but the first stage should have given you a clear direction to make this board a lot easier to create and more importantly the confidence to make those decisions.


You've got this!

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