At Apartment Therapy, we want to show you the way that real people live. So when I show up to shoot a tour, I don’t bring a whole truckload of props with me—usually it’s just me and my camera. Still, over the years I’ve developed a few quick little tricks that I occasionally employ on shoots. They’re all simple things—tiny tweaks to get a home camera-ready—and they’re all things that you can do in ten minutes or less (really!) to make your home perfect for the most important of audiences: you.
Cut the Clutter
A lot of what I do on shoots is just moving things out of the way. Almost everybody has these little spots of clutter—a box over here, a pile of papers over there. You may barely even notice these things, because you’re so used to seeing them. A neat trick I’ve found for spotting clutter that you can no longer see? Take a picture of your home. This will help you see it through new eyes, and maybe inspire you to find permanent homes for things that are sitting out.
Take Something Away
Was it Elizabeth Taylor who said that you should get dressed, look in the mirror, and then take off one accessory? (Ok, it was Coco Chanel, which makes more sense.) I would challenge you to do the same thing for your home. So many interiors have just a little too much stuff. And it’s really nice stuff! When I shoot interiors, I often feel torn as to which things to take out. But removing one or two items creates a more breathable, relaxing atmosphere, and gives the things that are left a chance to really shine. This doesn’t mean you have to get the rid of the things you love—move them to another room, or put them in storage, and then rotate them back in (and take something else out) when you’re ready for a change.
Let Your Furniture Breathe
Another trick I often employ is taking furniture pieces and moving them just slightly farther away from one another. Try it! Even a few inches can make a big difference. If you have the space, giving your furniture a little extra room to breathe can give your space a lighter, airier, feel. Another trick? Pulling furniture just a few inches away from the wall.
If you look closely, you’ll notice a thing that many of the most beautiful house tour shoots have in common: fresh cut flowers. A touch of the natural adds liveliness and texture to a room, and can help to soften the lines of a modern space. Having fresh flowers all the time could get a bit spendy, but you can achieve the same effect with a houseplant, which is a (hopefully) one-time purchase.
Embrace the Diagonal
One way to make a picture a little more exciting is to take one thing in the photo and angle it just a bit. You can try this with furniture pieces like accent chairs or ottomans—there’s no rule that says everything has to sit on a grid. By looking at your home like a stylist, you can unlock the potential that’s been there all along.
As a Senior Writer at Apartment Therapy, Nancy Mitchell splits her time among looking at beautiful pictures, writing about design, and photographing stylish apartments in and around NYC. It’s not a bad gig.