Whether you are styling an outfit or a room, an inspiration photo can be the perfect tool
“I really miss seeing your outfit pictures.”
“Did you quit Instagram? You haven’t posted since July.”
More and more frequently I’ve been receiving messages like this. Ever since this whirlwind of a cross-country move began, taking pictures came in at the bottom of my priority list. It’s a lot more work that most people realize, especially when you have no photography or editing skills.
I used a studio space in my last home so I could have everything set up and make it as easy as possible to take my pictures. But then we packed, moved, moved again, started unpacking, worked on getting the kids settled in school and sports, and looking for furniture.
Still no outfit pictures because I had nowhere to take them. Once things settled down a bit, I started thinking about how to stage my new studio, and…I was stumped. What did I want? What should it look like?
When my friend sent me progress pictures of her new studio and her inspiration picture, it gave me the kick in the pants I needed to tackle this project. It took me two full days, about 15 trips to the stores, and help from my partner in crime (aka my husband) to shop for and style this space.
Once again, in this journey of styling and furnishing my home, I turned to what I already know from styling and stocking my wardrobe. You can read more about
A Place to Start
Few things are as overwhelming and challenging for me from a creativity standpoint as a blank canvas. When the possibilities are endless, how do you get started? Whether you are planning an outfit or a room, limits can actually give you a place to start. With an outfit, consider where you are going to wear this outfit, what style is appropriate for the event, what is your style?
When styling a room, similar questions come into play. How will I use this room? What style do I want? What style is appropriate to the space?
When I was thinking about what to do with this space in my office for filming and photography, I had no idea where to start because my previous studio was much smaller, and that’s always easy. I had a rug, a chair, a throw, and a shelf with a few accessories. This space is larger and that makes it more complicated.
Factors to Consider
When looking for inspiration, where do we turn? Pinterest! Just as I do when looking for fresh ideas of how to style a clothing item, I set out looking for inspiration rooms to give me some ideas.
As I looked for ideas to style my new space (I forgot to take a before picture, so this was me setting up my camera for a Facebook live and testing the lighting), I was keeping these points in mind:
Use of the Space
This is a studio, a set, and not a main living area. It’s in my office, and I will sit there and use it, but not the same way other parts of my home are used. It doesn’t have to be as durable and kid-friendly as the rest of my home.
It also didn’t have to be as expensive as furnishing some other rooms. Everything in this space, except the rug, came from At Home, Home Goods, Ross, and Target.
All three of these pieces came from Ross, but you’d never know it.
Since I’ll be photographing my outfits and filming in this space, it needs to be an attractive and interesting background, and not the focal point or distracting. If I’m demonstrating something in a video, I want you to notice the item I’m showcasing, and not what’s behind me. This room is a background, but I also look at it all day from my desk, and I want to like what I’m seeing!
I knew I wanted some shine, but nothing reflective or you would see my lights glaring back at you. I chose colors that would highlight my outfits, and not compete. With as much black as I wear and as dark as my hair is, I can’t have anything too dark behind me, or I’ll blend in.
I also wanted to be able to use this space from several different angles for more variety, so I kept that in mind as I created this space.
The space has to look like me, reflect my style and the style of my brand. So what style is that? What story am I telling with my space? Once I defined this, I knew what to search for on Pinterest, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I’d found the one.
Look at the Elements
Now that you’ve found your inspiration photo, break it down into elements you can recreate. It’s possible you will want to recreate it exactly as it is, but maybe not. The coffee table would have been in my way, so I eliminated that altogether, and decided against wallpaper and the screens.
What Styles Are Being Used?
This room has a classic, glam, soothing, feminine look to it, but it also has some edge and hard lines. For me, that’s perfect. I chose to go with a little more edge and coziness to reflect my style.
Knowing my style makes all of this so much easier, with both my wardrobe and my home. I have a free masterclass, 5 Steps to Find the Right Clothes for You, and it will get you started on figuring out what you do and don’t love. Honestly, it will work for your home décor as well! It comes with a free workbook so you can do the steps at your own pace.
What colors are they using? Do you like those colors? What type of colors are they using? What are the tonalities?
In this case, I did not want to use the same color palette entirely. The inspiration color palette is gray, white, gold and brown for neutrals and pink as the main color with just a little greenery. Instead of pink, I used blue and magenta as my colors with greenery, and stuck with the same neutrals, though I proportioned them differently.
The inspiration photo uses the pink sofa as the largest dose of color and item in the room. I reversed that and used neutrals in the largest piece and the blue in the smaller items. White draws the eye, and I wear quite a bit of white, so I used that sparingly.
The tonality in both rooms is soft and muted, but there is also some sheen in the gold accessories, the velvet sofa, and the rug.
Once again, I wanted the overall look to be light and bright.
What patterns are used? Do you like them or would you use different one? How would that change the room?
In the inspiration photo there are a lot of abstract, watercolor, marbling patterns like in the wallpaper, the painting, the rug, and the pillows. There is an animal skin pattern in the pillow, and the seashell shape and triangle shape on the two screens.
The ottoman also has a triangle shape and some vertical lines. The vertical lines are repeated with the tufting in the sofa, the legs of the tables, the floor lamp and vase.
There is a lot of texture in the inspiration photo with the tufting, the animal skin pillow, the rug, the screens, the plants, curtains, and more.
I used a lot of the same texture in my room as well.
Because I’m using this space for photography and videography, I made sure the items had more of a sheen than a shine, and weren’t reflective, or you’d see my lights glaring back at you. While the tables, lamp, some of my accessories, and the painting have a lot more sheen, the rug, pillows, and the velvet furniture also have a sheen to them.
What kind of contrast in color do you see? The inspiration room is not very high contrast, and mine is even lower in contrast, as I chose to use very little white, and instead more variations of gray. It has a very soothing, tranquil feeling.
Balance and proportion
What is the balance and proportion? The largest piece is the sofa, and then the screens and painting. The chair and poof are substantial enough to stand up to the sofa without looking diminutive.
The tables, lamp and accessories are more delicate than the main pieces of furniture. They created height with the two screens on either side.
I used a lot of the same proportions, but instead of screens I used a taller lamp and a small shelf for height on the sides, as well as the curtains. I used more substantial tables and lamp, and added another large plant.
Even though I went to the store to get this sofa, I came home with a chaise instead because I liked the lines of it. Next to the table and chairs it looked like doll furniture. I needed something more substantial and went back for the sofa (and 9 p.m.)
To make this space really personal, I added some things that reflect who I am. The statue of the woman sitting in the lotus pose is telling you about my love of yoga. It’s my sanity and release. I added the golden leopard, leopard throw, and leopard pillow because I love that pattern so much.
The pyramid, angular shapes in the tables and some of the other décor bring in my edgy side, and there is a little photo of my husband and me on the shelf. The bougainvillea plant reminds me of my wild and unruly climbing roses from our last home, and all the plants bring in my love of gardening.
I added these pictures to bring in my love of shoes and bags, leopard, heels, and fashion overall. They are fun and add a little more of me to the space. I just need to paint that frame white.
A Space I Love!
The big elements came together quickly. A few of the details took a few tries, like the right color curtains, and the pillows! Oh, the pillows torture me! I bought and returned more pillows than I care to count.
When working in any space or wardrobe, there are practicalities to consider and work with or around. In this space I have a closet door right next to that lamp. It’s big and white, which means your eye will go right to it, and the door becomes the focal point of my room. It also looks a little awkward to have a door right there. So, I hung curtains over it to mirror the window on the other side!
I chose curtains instead of a screen because I want easy access to that closet. I store things in there I need to access frequently and easily. Again, I’m considering the practicality and function of the space.
Gold, April? Really?
Some of you are shocked by the use of gold, especially, when I only wear silver. The truth is, I do like gold, just not on my body. It’s very luxe, and it provides a great contrast with the gray walls. Silver accessories would blend in and disappear.
Links to Items in My Studio
Home Goods and Ross don’t sell online, but I’ll list what is from there. You’ll need to switch the At Home to your location to find what is in stock.
Light Blue Chair (it says it’s gray, but it really looks light blue in person)
Gold End Tables (I have the large size, but they come in a smaller size)
Leopard Throw (not golden like it looks online. It’s ashy and cool)
Aqua/Mint Pillow (not online but might be in store)
Bougainvillea Plant (it’s sitting on a small stool to give it height)
Curtains (brand is Nautica)
Braden’s Lifestyle in Knoxville, TN
Rug (ask for Catherine, and she can help you with the rug)
Items I Already Had
Wooden Shelf (originally from Hobby Lobby)
Picture Frame (Home Goods?)
Turquoise Ball (Hobby Lobby)
Succulents (Hobby Lobby)