Hi guys, I don’t know about you but I always get a bit of a back to school feeling for September. Never mind how long it’s been since we actually went to school, we lose the need to stop learning right. So this month on the blog I thought I’d do a few blog posts to give you all a heads-up on how to be your own designer. I’ll be taking you through all the key steps in the process. You don’t need to hire a professional or spend a ton of money to get that jaw-hits-the-floor effect at home. You just need a dose of inspiration, ideas, planning and the confidence to bring it all together!

So today let’s talk moodboards. They’re the starting off point for any amazing room and a a really important step in the design process so don’t skip it! It’s the fun research part where you can figure out your personal style, the colours, textures, shapes, vibe, art that inspires you etc. I always start with the vibe or feeling I want for a room first – do I want it to be bright and upbeat, laidback and cosy, super luxurious? Then I’ll find an image that sums this up for me and work from here. But you don’t have to start with a photo, it might be a piece of artwork you’re obsessed with, your favourite piece of furniture that you want to build the room around, or even a bar, restaurant or holiday snap.

Then you build from here. Add inspirational images, swatches, postcards, personal photos, tearings from magazines, your own sketches and doodles, fabric and wallpaper samples, etc. For me I find it’s almost like picture word-association if that makes sense. Sounds crazy, but stay with me! So a piece of artwork might remind me of a rustic wall cladding, an animal print fabric, or a gold leaf in kanazawa finish. An amazing outfit might lead to a vase, a mirror, a colour scheme. Cool no?

You really don’t want to be too focused at this point. Don’t limit yourself to just looking for, say, black and white kitchens. Some of the best ideas and inspiration come from all sorts of weird places so add a lot of random things to your moodboard too to see if it sparks anything. To be a designer, the trick is to keep yourself open to ideas from anywhere and everywhere. I love this process because it’s totally unplanned and you might be surprised where you end up! You might find new things out about your style, the moodboard will lead you along.

Once you’ve had a great big ideas splurge, the moodboard also works as an editing process. Check back over the images you’ve gathered and see if there are any sort of themes emerging. It’s much easier to see the colours, patterns and styles you naturally gravitate towards when they’re laid out this way. You might find that there are some things that don’t work so well anymore, and you want to strip them back out. What colours keep cropping up? What’s the overall vibe? So the moodboard I made below is a bit cool, bit laidback, centred on bold art, monochrome colours with dark walls, white accents, highly textural and interspersed with splashed of green and foliage. 


Once you’ve got the moodboard nailed, keep it as your reference. Whenever you’re bogged down in all the dull, practical or hair-pullingly difficult parts of redecorating, you can check back on the moodboard at anytime to immediately tap back into that vibe you’re trying to create. This works at every stage of decorating – furniture buying, finishes, flooring, colours, patterns, textures, accessories, lighting, flowers, hardware even.

Oh and a quick word on how to actually build your board. If you’ve got the space, I really love having a physical moodboard taped up on to the wall or pinned to a board. Obviously this is great if you want to put actual fabric samples of paint wall swatches up there too. But don’t worry if not, oftentimes these days I have so many projects going on at once that I just pull my moodboards together on the computer. Pinterest is obviously one of the best tools for moodboarding too. However you make your moodboard, don’t worry about wasting time making it perfect. It definitely doesn’t have to be at all neat or artistic – this is all about the ideas, it’s not a scrapbooking contest!