Ensembles of taste goods: moodboards as interiorist practice

Raymund Konigk, Zakkiya Khan

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The use of taste in interiors was pioneered by Elsie de Wolfe through interior decoration. She recognised that domestic interior aesthetics impacted the social status of inhabitants and that the decorator influenced the social standing of their clients (Sparke, 2011:18). Since the split between domestic and commercial interiors occurred in the 1950’s, interior design emerged from interior decoration as a response to the technical complexity and scope of commercial projects. The academic formalisation of interior design drew it closer to architecture with disciplinary overlaps prompting professional tensions (Königk, 2010). Interior design subsequently attempted to assert its professional legitimacy by distinguishing itself from interior decoration. However, since interior decoration informs interior design practice, decoration is a means to articulate the disciplinary boundary (Rice, 2004:276). It is here we consider the moodboard as an interiorist practice. Moodboards originated as a decorative (as opposed to formalist) activity. Moodboards act as visual representations of ensembles of taste goods: “…artefacts…used as signs of social status with an alliance to consumption and acquisition,” (Taylor & Preston, 2006:12). The moodboard is a manifestation of taste making: interior objects are curated and composed to create identity and transfer meaning to inhabitants. Moodboards persist in interior design practice today, supporting De Wolfe’s notion that interior aesthetics provide social status. We aim to demonstrate taste making in moodboard practice, indicating the congruence between interior design and interior decoration, demonstrating that practices inherited from interior decoration are still applicable. This would motivate that interior design has a theory of its own.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2018
EventInterior - Inferior - In Theory: Contemporary Positions in Interior Design Theory - Berlin International University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 17 May 201818 May 2018


ConferenceInterior - Inferior - In Theory
Internet address


  • moodboard
  • interior design
  • design research
  • design methods
  • visual research


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