I’ve been asked this a few times over the past 12 months, how is it that your office always looks so tidy and styled when you’re on Zoom? Well this isn’t by accident. I am a pretty tidy person, but it’s also an office I work in every day so if I have a zoom call to jump on I will clear the decks. So here’s a few ideas if you’re struggling with your backdrop and don’t want to use one of those electronic backgrounds that look oh so fake.
As I said this is the first thing I do, I make sure there’s no clutter behind me. I feel it’s best to take on a less is more approach. I want people to be focussing on what I’m saying not what’s happening in the background. If it has to be a library or bookshelf behind you then it needs to be organised and tidy, I’ll get onto that in a second.
THE PERFECT FORMULA
I believe the perfect backdrop is a great piece of art on the wall, something not too strong and distracting. Then a half height surface that can be ‘styled’. If this isn’t possible and often is the case if your room is multifuntional, for instance you might have a sofa bed or a chair. Just make sure these are styled well, cushions, throws, artwork above, you can’t go wrong. Now I know not everyone is into styling and of course this has to be functional if it is a fully working office. To give you an example, on my half height storage I have my white Dyson fan at one end, a cluster of supplier catalogues neatly lined up, my small printer right behind me and then on the far left I’ll often have my samples layed out for a room design, which can look pretty good. The thing about that is all of these items are practical, but it’s all in the right spot and adds something to the story.
Yours might be some artwork, a nice light, a stack of industry appropriate reading, and a beautiful plant.
This is harder to get right and something you will need to play around with. I’ve toyed with buying one of those ring lights but have managed to adjust my blinds, task light and downlights to get the right lighting. Too much light behind you isn’t good as it will cast you into shadow. Try and light your face, but as I’ve learnt facing a window can also have your laptop adjust the brightness and you loose that lovely natural light. I find a mixture of natural light, downlights and also my task light on my desk gives a nice effect. If all else fails get yourself a ring light, you can’t go wrong with once of these.
If you do have shelving behind you and this can’t be moved let’s talk about how to make the most of it. Shelf styling is an art. To cram it full of books, no matter how orderly them seem is so uninteresting and no matter what will look very busy.
When styling shelves by all means have plenty of books on show, organise them into size order and also colour this can help give the eye a sense or organisation. With the bigger books put them on their sides and stack them to a point where you can add a plant or a photo frame to the top of the stack. With smaller books line them up and then use an interesting piece of décor as a book end. Clear a few areas for décor items such as vases, plants, and pictures. You might not want to use personal photo’s in the background here, that depends on your own personal preferences. Here’s a great example of a well styled bookshelf. Cluster items in vary sizes, in twos and threes and be careful not to over crowd. If you have one large decorative bowl leave that on it’s own on a shelf.
I hope this helps your zooming, there’s plenty of tips online and if you’re still struggling there are some great interior designer backdrops that you can purchase now too!