I love interior design and furniture painting. You probably noticed that already :). A passion that got out of hand. No degree, just trying to learn every day. The same goes for staging furniture or home staging. I don’t know how you should “officially” stage furniture for photos, never took a class. I just try things out and hope for the best. I hang out on Pinterest, Instagram (and call it “work” haha) and I look for patterns or rules in photos of bloggers I like.
I’m taking my first babysteps in staging furniture now. When I started my painting business in Belgium, I explored some ideas and possibilities about staging pieces, but by the time I could have really grown and learnt, I took on the responsibility of distributing paint. That was a very interesting, challenging and rewarding job, but painting pieces, staging, taking photos .. were put on the back burner.
Now that I’m at a different point in my life where creativity comes first, I can give my interest in staging and photography some more attention. Staging can have different purposes. There’s staging for retail, staging for your home, staging for an online shop, but I’m not there yet. Today I just wanted to share what I have learnt so far in general, from my role models.
Texture and height
Oliver & Rust is a great example to learn from about texture, heights, lines/shapes.Do you notice how much depth the texture of the background wall brings to these photos? Try to imagine what these images would look like without that texture? Just a matte plastered wall. Less interesting? I think so. The texture of the background wall is one of the elements that makes this setting come alive. And the colour of the wall is neutral enough to make the black piece stand out.
Or how about the height and shape of that wooden frame? Let’s just imagine they hung the wreath against the background wall and left out the frame. That would be very different! The wooden frame has both horizontal and vertical lines, and acts as a ‘bridge’ between the lines of the piece and the wall. It also adds height to the piece.
Oliver & Rust does a great job playing with different heights and lines, also in the second image. Again, these tall items add height to the piece. The heights are also ‘spread out’. My eye catches something interesting in every part of the photo you could say, never a dull moment or an empty spot. Here we have again those interesting lines, horizontal in the shutter and in the porch post, vertical in the background wall, and vertical lines on the front of the piece.
Colour, grouping items and nature
Vibeke is the queen of colour, grouping of items and adding something that lives. I know, it sounds weird, but plants or a dog really make a difference.
Vibeke probably took this photo to showcase her shop, and not specifically to stage the wooden furniture piece, but you can learn a lot from it. What I see, is a great balance in the use of colour: green, brown and blue-grey. The colours are spread out over the image, in large chunks but also in small details: the green edges of the pottery, the green line on the grain sack, the blue-grey edges of some ceramics matching the large zinc bucket.
She even alternated two shades of green: the peg shelf – ceramic vase – pottery edges versus the door – glass bottles – plants. Balance in the use of colour when grouping items: that’s what makes this image stunning instead of cluttered.
I want to add that it’s easier to analyze this than it is to come up with the whole setting. Vibeke has a spectacular eye.
Choosing a theme – evoking a feeling
For me personally telling a story is the most challenging part of staging furniture. Or evoking a feeling, capturing a moment, choosing a theme. In Vibeke’s photo I see gardening. My interpretation is ‘let’s clean up the yard because it’s almost fall’.
I applied what I learned to the photo of my Coal Black table. Small beginnings, still a lot to learn! Let’s hope we can come back to this picture in a year from now and see some progress. I’m not sure what I was trying to tell with this image. Something with winter, warmth, coziness maybe? I just tried something with a few objects laying around, to be honest.
I asked my husband about the theme or story and he said ‘No not winter or warmth, I see classy and expensive’. How confusing haha. Seems like I have to work on that a little bit more :). Would love to hear what the image was telling you!
Do you like to learn more about styling a piece? Check out this post from Miss Mustard Seed. It walks you through the whole process!