Tips from How to Zoom Your Room

Excerpted from How to Zoom Your Room by Claude Taylor and Jessie Bahrey, with illustrations by Chris Morris


Best Use of Small Space



In many cities, urban sprawl has necessitated a shift from single-dwelling detached homes to town houses, condominiums, and apartments. This trend has long been in motion and is unlikely to slow anytime soon. There are well-established tricks to make a small space appear larger, and here are a few we have seen that work well:


  1. Mirrors make rooms look larger. This is a trick that real estate agents use all the time when taking videos and photos of properties they want to sell. Mirrors placed near windows will reflect light and can make a room appear to have more windows.
  2. Using clean lines and simple shapes for your furnishings and décor will also make your space look bigger. There are many “condo-sized” options available for furniture that are far more appropriate and will look better than standard sizes. Furniture that is low to the floor will make your ceiling appear higher.
  3. It’s easy for a small space to look cluttered, so concentrate on a “less is more” strategy. Pick your favorite elements and use them as a base to build on.
  4. Get the lighting off the floor. When possible, mount lighting on the walls and ceiling rather than using floor lamps or eating up precious space with table and desk lamps.
  5. In the case of a very small room, a neutral tone on the walls will make the room appear larger than bright colors.


Plants versus succulents


A quick note about choosing which plants are best for your space, particularly in regard to creating great Zoom rooms.


All succulents are plants, but not all plants are succulents. Because of their fleshy stems, roots, and leaves, succulents retain water, so those of you who forget to water will have much better luck with succulents. Cacti are the most famous group in this botanical family, but there are so many more choices. In recent years, succulents have become trendy in home design, perhaps because of the low-maintenance aspect, but also because many people live in smaller dwellings like condos and apartments than ever before, and it just makes more sense to have smaller plants in your space. Another reason for the growing popularity of succulents is that they come in a variety of bright colors and interesting shapes.


Best Houseplants – How to Achieve a Strong Plant Game


The strongest plant games we have seen in Zoom rooms are usually a combination of traditional house plants and succulents. The ideal types and sizes of multiple foliage in your room will depend on the room size and composition. Bright pots and vases also add color and texture and sometimes depth to any room. Here are some of our favorite and most commonly seen plants:


  1. Ivy (especially in an indoor basket)
  2. Aloe vera
  3. Palm
  4. Hens and chicks (Sempervivium)
  5. Spider plant
  6. Fern


Setup Style #3: The Kitchen




When Room Rater began in the early days of the pandemic, we had no idea the kitchen setup would become one of the best background alternatives for those looking to break free from the Bookcase Industrial Complex.


Without a doubt, the kitchen setup has established itself as a mainstay and is here for good.


There are two basic approaches to using your kitchen as a background. The first is to show one wall of the kitchen, typically with cabinets above and/or wall-hugging counter below. The camera or laptop can be set up on an opposite counter or on an island. As is frequently the case, choosing the right number of books to bring the shot to eye level is essential. Like the basic book setup, this is the easiest to pull off. As with the books, you will want to work with/adjust your spacing to create the most flattering depth.


The second approach can be thought of as the whole-kitchen shot. It can be shot at an angle, which works best for larger kitchens with an island. In general, if you can work the island into the shot, that is best. For narrower galley-style kitchens, you’ll normally want to set up your camera/device to shoot straight down the kitchen, maximizing depth.


As with other setup options, the key to a well-presented kitchen setup is in the details. A nicely arranged assortment of spices can make all the difference, for example. If your kitchen has good tile work – especially a backsplash – make sure it’s well lit and not overly obscured.