Thousands of people have built a following on Instagram for their curated spaces that look like they were ripped from the pages of a home magazine. With eclectic-yet-cohesive accessories, statement pieces of furniture, and ideal lighting conditions, it’s hard to believe these rooms weren’t styled and shot by a professional, but the truth is, many of these #homestagramers aren’t interior designers or photographers—and you don’t have to be either. Here, Kari Michael of Kariel Staging & Decor reveals that getting the perfect picture for the ’gram comes down to a couple of simple tips.
1. Separate Instagram from reality.
“So often, how we live is not how it’s going to be presented online,” says Michael. Don’t hesitate to rearrange furniture and décor—like hiding the TV, bringing in a chair or accessory from another room—to get the perfect shot.
2. Maintain an open floor plan.
It feels natural to angle your furniture toward a central object, like a TV or fireplace, but this can make a space feel closed off and small. “You need the room to greet you,” says Michael. “If you’re all blocked off and everything is facing a wall, it doesn’t feel open or fresh—it doesn’t work.”
3. Flood the space with light.
Not only is a dark room uninviting—it also makes for a poor-quality picture. Bring in as much natural light as possible by opening curtains and blinds, and try to shoot on sunny days. Supplement with artificial light as needed.
4. Clear the clutter.
What’s one element all the #homestagrams have in common? Every piece of décor looks intentional, creating a tidy aesthetic. Remove any miscellaneous papers, remote controls, and cords from the shot, and “have a purpose for your accessories,” says Michael.
5. Create a focal point.
Hang a statement-making piece of artwork to draw the eye and tie the whole photo together. If you’re working with a particularly small space, a mirror can also be an effective focal point to make the room appear larger.
6. Layer up.
Layering with throw pillow and blankets will transform your couch into a piece of furniture that looks professionally styled. Don’t be afraid to mix and match textures and patterns—leather with faux fur, or solids with animal prints, for example—to add depth.
7. Bring in some life.
You rarely see people in home photos on Instagram, but you can still add liveliness to your spaces by incorporating a plant for a fresh breath of color, texture, and movement.
8. Gather outside sources of inspiration.
Don’t be influenced solely by your own taste, says Michael. Use outside sources of inspiration to discover new, unique styles. “You want to think, ‘What do I see in magazines? What do I see on TV? What do I see on Pinterest?’ You want to know what people are looking at and liking.”
Images courtesy of Kariel Staging & Decor