The easy way to design a room | mood boards

I am a very visual person. I can see entire rooms in my head, with full furnishings without blinking an eyelid. I realise that is not the same for a lot of people including my other half.

When I want to let him know my thoughts on design, short of drawing everything (I do this occasionally!) I make a mood board to visually describe what I mean. This has come in particularly handy when getting him on board and in agreement with my design ideas around Number One.

Pinterest has become my best tool for this - however, I don't solely mood board on there as it's not curated enough for me. It can end up being a bit of a dumping ground for everything I like, rather than what is actually possible. Damn you time and money restrictions...If you jump over to Pinterest, you can see how I organise all my inspo by room, which the other half has been invited to, poor man.

The first step I take when mood boarding for each room's update/renovation/DIY is to trawl through Pinterest, blogs, Real Homes, houzz and pin everything I am inspired by to the room's board it's most relevant for eg. a cool fireplace surround would be most relevant to our bedroom or the living room.

Next, I go into one room's board and save the images I feel represent what I want to create the best to my desktop. This might only be a small element of the image, for instance a black tap or a particular texture that I love. The best way to edit here is to decide on twelve or less things you love out of the images you've collated and save those.

I prefer digital mood boards, so I can have them on my phone, iPad and desktop as it's easy to constantly refer back to them, but if you are more tactile or have fabric/tile swatches you want to include this is the time to print out all of your images and get familiar with a piece of mount board and Pritt-Stikk.

I use Photoshop to create my mood boards, but you don't need to! If you love Photoshop, of course make use of it by creating an A3 portrait canvas and placing in all of your images, immediately hide all of the layers within a folder. If you don't have Photoshop, you can use a variety of online tools, or simply curate a second Pinterest board to narrow down your initial selection. Remember you can make boards 'secret' if you don't want to share your thoughts yet!

Once all of the images are in place and hidden I begin to create a colour palette using circular swatches down the left top corner. I also include metallic finishes here by using the clipping mask tool. If I'm not 100% sure about the final palette, I unhide a few of the images and check everything feels cohesive. If not, it's back to the drawing board or Pinterest where you can find lots of colour palette inspo - I've saved some ideas here.

Once the colour palette is in place, I unhide images one by one and crop them again if necessary, placing them and sizing them based on how much I like them. Large ones tend to mean 'lots of this vibe' smaller ones mean 'a bit like this'. Sounds crazy but works well for me. The layout is very subjective, feel free to re-arrange the board until you heart is content. Sometimes I 'cut out' images like cushions to give some more shape and flow to the page.

Try to keep the images included with at least 2 of the colours from your palette, so that anyone else looking at the overall board doesn't get confused with the combinations they are seeing. The images you place together should emulate a choir, not a boyband which each member trying to find their persona.

If you find you have too much, edit down by making yourself get rid of anything that could be perceived as a duplication. Make sure things line up a bit, align the bottoms of images, or the tops and let things slot in from there. Alternatively you could let everything slightly overlap - I don't tend to do this unless the item is 'cut out' as it's too messy for me, but can completely appreciate those boards that do this well.


Et voilà, you have created a visual guide to help you see the wood from the trees. If it's printed take a picture on your phone, if it's digital make sure its saved to your phone for ease when shopping for each room. Please do share any mood boards you make with me over on Instagram or Pinterest, since thats where you'll be spending your time sourcing inspo. Good Luck!