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How to use Moodboards to channel your inner Interior Designer

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  • style
  • trends
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Antonio Wedral
How to use Moodboards to channel your inner Interior Designer

When it comes to styling a room or undertaking a home renovation it can be difficult to know where to start, let alone what your personal style is. You’re not an interior designer or reviewing fabrics, paints, wallpapers or accessories on a daily basis like we do.

Styling a room is an incredibly personal experience; your room or home is a space to express and visualise your interests, experiences and personality. So, it’s worth spending time to think about how you want to do this. To help ignite some ideas, ask yourself:

  • Why do you want to style/ renovate a room/ home?
  • Where do you like to go on holiday?
  • What room in the house do you feel most comfortable?
  • In what setting do you feel relaxed?
  • What environment do you want to create/ replicate?

When we style a room for a photoshoot, we start with a moodboard. Moodboards are used by all interior designers in the initial stages of the design process. They help put ideas to paper: highlighting colour palettes, bringing furniture items together for the first time, and showcasing accessories. This creative process can be easily replicated for personal use on your home styling projects.

To help you on your personal styling journey, we’ve temporarily put down our fabric books to share our secrets and tips. We’ve outlined what our style is and how this is brought to life through three moodboards, used to direct our lifestyle photoshoots. We’ve also highlighted three moodboards, created by our incredibly talented followers, to show you don’t have to be interior designer to do this yourself.

What is the Swyft style?

Swyft’s style is very relaxed. It’s a lived in space which is organic, ever-changing and a little bit messy. It’s easy, understated and slightly retro.

We don’t like to tailor or overly style; we want to keep the look fun and cheeky (i.e. bum artwork seen on one of our shoots). We achieve this by mixing colours, trends and eras of furniture; the 70s floor lamps next to the mid-century side table, for example. We’ve picked up styles from the different places we’ve travelled, which has created a mesh of styles. We have a big focus on artwork, posters and sculptures; anything that adds pops of colour, mismatched textures and character.

Our aim is to reflect your home, a home which is lived in. No one lives in perfectly styled spaces with one style or trend. Or does any one have furniture just from one era, furniture is collected over time. So we’ve used reclaimed and vintage items along with modern pieces in our styling, to help replicate this look.

Moodboard 01

This moodboard was for our second Model 01 photoshoot. It’s a classic example of how we mix trends and furniture together. The upholstery collection used shows how easy it is to mix a bigger neutral upholstery item with a brighter coloured armchair or small upholstered item. This is not only the foundations for the room, but will eventually bring the room together once the styling has finished.

Wicker was starting to be very on trend so a side table was added, but we mixed this with a gloss side table and a retro table lamp and radio. A brass floor lamp was added for a touch of lux. To highlight the cheeky character of Swyft we added the bum artwork by Sasha Robinson was added along with a couple retro posters. Although we’ve mixed colour flows and eras, we’ve been sure not to overdo it.

The neutral rug helps bring the main furniture items together and the plants bring life to the room. Both help with the relaxed vibe.

Moodboard 02

Still wanting to keep the classic Swyft style, the second moodboard also introduces a subtle touch of Boho. Boho isn’t our normal style, but the use of the bean bag and neutrality of the Model 02 sofa naturally emphasises a more relaxed environment.

The overlapped jute rug and neutral hide, again, add to the relaxed feel of the room; this is attenuated by the dried pampas grass which brings the outside in and adds a sense of calm to the room. The artwork mixes the styling, but it works. The retro feel adds a slight edge by using a mix of bright colours without being too shouty.

The room is a nod to the reflective refuge trend we’ve seen come through this year.

Moodboard 03

Again, this is a clear example of Swyft’s classic style, but it leans more towards the industrial trends we have been seeing for a while. This is predominantly due to the location we were shooting in; a converted airplane factory based in East London. Many modern homes have a blank canvas so they’re easier to style, but in certain environments, like this location, you don't want to mix styles.

Industrial is about hard finishes: metals, woods, concrete ceilings etc, so we incorporated this into the styling. For example, the coffee table has a cast iron plinth and the trestle table is made from dark reclaimed hardwood - the definition of industrial.

The posters and record player add a touch of retro which is paired well with the mid century modern magazine table. The colours flow easily because there is so much going on with the furniture items and mix of textures i.e. the thick woven rug, throws, trestle table and different coloured woods.

We had fun with the cushions by introducing bright pops of colour, patterns and textures without taking away from the sofa.

To highlight that moodboards and styling aren’t limited to interior designers we went onto Instagram and searched our tagged photos (great if you’re in need of inspiration). We found three followers who have used moodboards in an engaging and creative way to help shape their recent renovations.

1) Roost Renovations

“We wanted to go for something modern but totally liveable, the chunky sofa is super stylish but big enough to roll around and lounge on (always a must!), plus it’s in a neutral fabric so acts as a great blank canvas for layering. We love using naturals with earthy colours coming through in accents and accessories like the chair/cushions, so it feels like you’re living in a warm, inviting and (most importantly) liveable space.

With more natural schemes, texture is so important in bringing a room to life. Here we used stone, warm woods and black in equal measure through the lighting and tables to give a bit of edge and to emphasise the balance of nature and sleekness.”

2) Laura Crombie

“I was inspired by Scandinavian design and I wanted the room to feel contemporary but cosy. This room combines a sitting area, kitchen and dining zone, so I created the moodboard to make sure that the spaces were visually linked but retained separate purposes.

Our house is from the 1960s, so we used this as a way to direct the style of furniture we bought. I opted to go with pared-back mid-century modern-inspired, with elegant legs that allow you to see the floor beneath, which helps the space to feel bigger. The herringbone flooring softens the space and adds warmth. I then introduced blue and pink accents, which are colours I've used throughout the house.”

3) Stephanie Rousell

“A complete mix of mid century and pop art. I have split the living space into two main sections: the sofa/tv space and the reading corner. The dark olive green velvet sofa would sit along the length of the colour block rug and I’d place another sofa along the other side (creating a broken L-shape). Opted for this style of sofa as the squareness and straight back line supports the mid century scheme.

I love the black and white stripe armchair, it’s very bold but feels crucial to the design as it captures the pop art essence - top styling points with the button back detailing (so very retro). I teamed this seating area with a playful style coffee table that would sit on the rug. Coffee tables really help home a seating arrangement (especially when there’s more than one!).

Of course I had to add in the arched floor length mirror for my own top styling points. I’ve added some retro wall light (a mix of lighting is crucial when wanting different uses of one space). The little black hay side table is a really quirky piece, it’s an item of furniture that feels really relevant because it’s supporting Artists and Furniture Designers.”


Massive thanks to Roost Renovations, Laura Crombie and Stephanie Rousell for allowing us to share their creative work. We love their designs and use of moodboards to help direct their styling; we hope they help inspire you too. Give them a follow to see more of the same, links above.

If you’ve enjoyed this read, you might also be interested in our 4 interior trends for 2021 which could help inspire. Please share with us any future moodboard creations by tagging @swyft_home, we love to see what you come up with and will share on our Moodboard Monday stories.

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