Interior Design, Mood Board, Room Edit
comments 43

How to: The Mood Board

Since my last post, a lot of you have asked what program or site I use to create my room edits and interiors mood boards. So I thought it would be useful to some of you out there if I spilled the beans.

Making Spaces 70's Front Room Mood Board

Anchorman does Danish Design

I don’t use anything fancy. I’ve never dabbled with photoshop and haven’t downloaded anything onto my laptop. I have a Macbook Pro and a penchant for Google image. Oh and one more thing….

Mood board for the Office Refit


Pages is a word processing application, similar to Word for Windows I guess. It came pre-loaded onto my Mac as a freebie, so I would never have thought a simple word processing app would have helped me to create mood boards. But it seems Pages has everything(ish) I need in order to give it a bloody good go.

Dark and Moody Gentlemen’s Study

Here’s how:

Open Pages.

And open a new blank, landscape document.

This is now your canvas on which to begin creating your new room edit.

What next?

It’s always good at this point to add the things that are not going to change in the room. The things that are staying. Perhaps the flooring, or a particular piece of furniture? This is where you have to be patient and find the right image of what you’re looking for online. Once you’ve found it, simply drag the image onto the Pages document.

You’re going to want to find a good quality image for flooring and wall colours as they will provide the back drop to the rest of the board. So use the TOOLS function, top right of the image search and select LARGE.

Then it’s a matter of scrolling through to find an image that best resembles what you have. And in the right orientation.

Once you’ve found something that will work, click VIEW IMAGE to the right of the image. This will bring that image up full size in a new window. The it’s time to drag and drop that image onto your Pages document.

Ok, so you’ve started.

What next?

Now it’s time to fiddle around with that image in Pages. Double click the image and it will bring up some options. Re-sizing or cropping. With this pic we will need both as we just need the floorboards for today’s room. Not the fireplace or the built in cupboard.

To re-size, drag the corner boxes outwards and inwards as you need to.

And to cut a section out, double click and highlight the area you want to lose. Once you’ve done that, you’ll end up with something like this:

Ok, so at this point, let’s say you have a sofa from, oh I don’t know…. Marks and Spencers? Let’s say this one:

That’s pretty bonkers isn’t it? And something you might find tricky to plan the rest of your room around. So let’s use the Hendrix sofa for our demo.

Ok, so now we drag that image from the screen onto your Pages document again.

Now to get rid of that white stuff around the sofa so we can see the floorboards again.

Click IMAGE to the right of the board and go to INSTANT ALPHA.

Use the INSTANT ALPHA tool to remove the white background by clicking and highlighting everything you want to remove on the image. In this case, the white backdrop. It can take some time and patience to do this, but once done you’ll be left with a sharp crisp image of just the sofa.

Now you’ve got the sofa all cleaned up, you can resize it and move it anywhere you like.

Now time for the walls. What do you think? Paint or wallpaper? Let’s choose a neutral, a colour i’m planning on using on a new project actually. Little Greene’s French Grey Pale.

I could just use the digital image of this colour for the walls, but I always find they’re not accurate and make room edits look really flat and lifeless. I always try and find an image of real life walls painted in the colour i’m wanting to use. Not only does it shows the colour more accurately but how the light alters its appearance.

**repeats google image search, finds image of room with French Grey Pale walls and drags image onto Pages doc**

Next we need to re-size and crop some bits out. Then it’s time to pop that image in the background by right clicking the image (or two finger click for the Mac users out there).

Once it’s at the back you can see which bits need a little snip. I’ve got rid of the door  here.

So what about the rest of the wall?

If you copy and paste the wall and send it to the back again, you can layer it up to create the rest of the backdrop. Like this:

You can see a faint line where’s it’s overlapped and the socket is repeated too. But it gives us a good backdrop to work from no?

From here, it’s about adding in bits and pieces you like the look of. Maybe you’ve already got a Pinterest board of stuff you like? But you’ve been concerned the pieces you’ve picked won’t work with the rest of your room? Add it and see how it looks and feels.

Mood board for Edwardian Bedroom Redesign

Mood board for the Upper Brook Street Project

Creating a mood board is a great way to try something you wouldn’t normally and it’s really helped me to gently guide (push) clients in the right direction. People tend to stick to what they know. It’s easy and comfortable. When they can’t visualise how something will look, the fear kicks in. If I can provide them with a mood board that supports and really showcases a design idea, then at least it enables the client to make an informed decision on what they’re saying yes or no to. Pretty important.

So top tips:

  • Google is your friend. Use it. Google Image and Google Shopping are your go-to product and image finders
  • Select something you like, drag it onto the board
  • Instant Alpha (get rid of the background you don’t want)
  • Resize and Crop if needed
  • Keep layering everything up in the right order
  • Add final details such as plants, books and accessories to make it feel more realistic. Like an online collage

Creating mood boards takes practice, but the more you do it, the quicker and easier you’ll find it. It’s all about experimenting and not being afraid to try something new. Nothing to lose, apart from a few hours…. yes, a mood board can take hours to complete, depending on how difficult the brief is. For this demo, I gave myself an easy brief with an unlimited budget, so I could crack on and get it up on the blog for you guys.

So…. where were we?




What do you think? Do you think it works? I really like this classic backdrop with the large statement pieces sharing the space.

Ooh, I forgot to add in my screenshots above the ARRANGE function. If you need a piece of furniture, anything really to face the opposite direction.

Simply click on that item, click ARRANGE on the top bar and you can flip individual images horizontally or vertically. A pretty useful tool to get your room looking just right.

All of the items in this room edit have been found using Google Image or Google Shopping search. It’s not a secret interior design shopping site or anything, so each and every image is there, ready and waiting for you.

Here’s a quick list of where some of the pieces are from;

  • Ceiling Light – Dwell
  • Black Cabinet – Maisons Du Monde
  • Artwork – Kylli Sparre
  • Rug – All the hues
  • Floor Lamp – The Lollipop Shop
  • Side table – Swanky Interiors
  • Large Coffee Table – Furnish
  • Shell Chair – Hans Wegner

And here’s a bit of fun. The same room with the neutral walls taken out and replaced with a black and white, oversized vertical stripe wallpaper, inspired by the sofa.

Now this would be all kinds of awesome/crazy! Anyone brave enough?

So then, has this been of help? I really hope so as it’s taken my flipping ages to get this written up. Let me know if a mood board would give you the confidence to move forward with a design. And maybe go for that rug you’ve been eyeing up on Pinterest for the last two years, but have been too scared to go for it…?

Looking forward to reading your comments on this one peeps.

Ever wondered how to create your own room edit or interiors mood board?





  1. Brilliant! I was messing with PowerPoint to try and do something with it so I’m going to give this a go. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lesley_b56 says

    Thank you for the time and effort to put together Karen. I don’t have a Mac but will certainly book mark this for future reference maybe I’ll have a go on PowerPoint. Thanks X

  3. Christine says

    Fabulous Karen, thank you for your step by step approach, it has opened up a whole new understanding of pages & options for me, greatly appreciated thank you

    • Karen Knox says

      You’re very welcome Christine. I really hope it helps you get started!

  4. Oh your process is almost identical to how I do it in Photoshop! Ha! The words are different but the process is exactly the same. I just find backgrounds on Google and layer each item on top, knock out the background and resize and move around. Also, I’m rather in love with the green room you created although I prefer the grey walls to the stripes – amazing how plants always bring a room to life, even when it’s a digital room 😉 xx

    • Karen Knox says

      I did wonder if this was similar to how you did it. As they look quite similar don’t they when they’re finished? I’m sure you’ve got a load more functions on Photoshop though, so i’m probably missing out by not learning how to use it properly…. And yes to the grey walls. I prefer that too. And BIG yes to plants. They’re truly magical!!x

  5. Jane says

    I can’t wait to get started Karen, it will be the first thing I do on my new iMac! Thanks for the fab tutorial 😊

  6. Joanne Gunn says

    Love this – would never have thought to use Pages! The search engine Bing is great to use also as their thumbnails are bigger and usually higher quality than google’s – so if you’re struggling to find an image that’s not pixelated it’s worth giving Bing a whirl. Thanks for the Pages tips!

  7. Isn’t Pages great?! I use it to create moodboards too, and your post has given me a few extra tips, so THANK YOU!

  8. Ooh, you are clever. I’m totes Photoshop, but I’m all for doing things the way that works best and will certainly take a look at Pages. I have it here at my fingertips and have never ventured past the icon! Thanks so much for sharing all the knowledge.

    • Karen Knox says

      Ha. “Totes”
      I’m sure Pages won’t beat Photoshop, but at least it’s there and free for all Mac owners to use!

  9. Oh no – what have you done to me!? I’ve only just started blogging and it’s taking a whole load of time as it is without you introducing me to a cool piece of technology *waves goodbye to all spare time* 😉 Anyway, I am so bookmarking this article.

  10. Oh wow, I would never have thought to use Pages for this – don’t think I’ve ever even opened the app on my mac! Looks so simple though – will have to give it a go x

  11. Wow that’s brilliant, I would never have thought to use Pages! I often use photoshop but might give this a go xx

  12. Hannah Trickett says

    thanks for the insight, it’s really interesting to see how other people create mood boards. Great process. xx

  13. I LOVE that it’s not fancy software or anything expensive. Anyone can give it a go! I definitely thjink visualising in this way helps. So often i’ve struggled to persuade hubby to an idea, only to google an example and he likes it – because it’s shown in a complete finished space. Great tips here hun!

  14. Huzzah! I actually managed to leave you a comment! A great insight into your creative process – I use Photoshop to layer product for shopping but I’ve felt that I really need to try a full room before we start the main rooms in the house. Feeling inspired to start now!

    • Karen Knox says

      OMG! You’re here! Welcome!
      And yes, definitely try putting your room together on Photoshop first, I find it so helpful, even for my own rooms.

  15. Melissa says

    I’ve just stumbled on your blog (when I say stumbled…I mean spent bloody ages trying to find anything on how to do mood boards) Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! I have a bathroom to design and have been madly pinning but want to show this better in a moodboard. So glad it’s raining and cold and I get to play all day doing this, whoop, whoop!!

  16. Camille says

    Wow free and easy. I’ve been wondering for so long how to do this with those two caveats. Thank you so much for this thorough and clear tutorial–greatly appreciated!

  17. Anonymous says

    SO great!!! Exactly what I needed. Thank you for the post. Did you place the rug after & still able to put digs on top? I guess I’ll jist have to play around tomorrow. Was trying in another app with no succes & love that I have it on my Mac already 🙌🏼!

    • Karen Knox says

      Use the ‘Arrange’ function to bring individual items to the front or back!

  18. Jacquie says

    This was really awesome, thanks so much for sharing all these tips!

  19. This is flipping awesome, I have struggled without the instant alpha for Y E A R S, you have helped me so much. Thank you for taking the time to share and for your help, it really is appreciated 🙂

  20. Therese says

    So glad I found this simple how to without having to buy or install another app. . Just been fooling around with Pages. FYI they now refer to Mask instead of Alpha. Thank you for making it easy. to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.