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How to Create the Ideal Space for Your At-Home Zoom Calls

woman wearing headset and laptop on her lap talking with a coworker on a Zoom call

Think about the last Zoom video conference call you were on from home. 

What did your clients or colleagues see behind you? If you’re recalling a messy living room or a blank wall, you might think about giving your at-home workspace a little attention. 

While the coronavirus makes its way through the U.S., many Americans are avoiding their places of employment and instead hunkering down to work from the safety of their homes. While some are blessed with home offices already decorated to their liking, others are making do with their couches and coffee tables, or they’re transforming their dining room tables and kitchen countertops into makeshift work desks. Needless to say, we’re all doing the best with what we have.

If you’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future, or just want a space ready for an impromptu work-from-home day, consider our simple tips for creating the ideal space for your Zoom calls. We bet the transformation will not only boost your spirits but garner some compliments from your fellow Zoom call attendees.

Relocate Bookshelves, Paintings and Plants

If you already have bookshelves, paintings and plants in your home and don’t want to shop around for more home decor, consider relocating some of your existing decorations for the time being. If you don’t see yourself needing the Zoom space for too much longer, try out minimally invasive hanging methods, like damage-free sticky hooks and strips, for your picture frames and paintings.

In addition to adding some vibrancy to your background, greenery is a proven mood booster. It’s been known to substantially improve creative performance and problem-solving skills as well as reduce stress and anxiety. 

Have some fun deciding which books to put on display. It’s a chance to let your acquaintances get to know you a little better while also adding an air of professionalism to your space. Be mindful to not display anything potentially offensive or not-safe-for-work in the background (if you wouldn’t display it on your desk at work, leave it out of your Zoom background). 

Workshop Your Lighting 

Whether you’re in a home with lots of natural light, or a heavy reliance on light bulbs, you can put your best face forward in your Zoom calls by tailoring the lighting to your setting.  

If you’re able to use natural light, take your Zoom calls near a north-facing window. We loved that tip from the Boston Globe, along with “follow the cat.” “If you have a cat, pay attention to where it curls up, because that might be the prettiest, warmest light in your living space,” wrote the Globe’s Meredith Goldstein. Remember with natural light, you don’t want your back to the window because this will backlight you, causing you to look like a shadowy figure on the video call. Try facing the window or have it light you from the side.

With overhead lighting, you have to be mindful of casting shadows on your face. If you have the means and desire to buy new lighting, try three natural, soft light sources: two behind your webcam on the right and left side, and one right behind you.

Angle Your Camera

Many people on a video conference call might be working from laptops, which can be convenient for finding the right angle to frame yourself properly. You want the camera at eye level, so prop your laptop up on flat, sturdy items like large, hardback books or cardboard boxes. This will prevent your clients and colleagues from peering down at you, or worse, looking up your nose.

Still Not Happy With the Space? Upload a Background!

If all else fails, upload a high-quality image as your Zoom background. You have many options to choose from online, but one of our favorites has been West Elm’s backgrounds that make your living space look polished and pristine, featuring sophisticated furniture, house plants and modern color palettes. The backgrounds might even give you some interior design inspiration for your own home.

Looking for more home design inspiration? Check out one of our latest blog posts about the garden rooms trend and see if doubling down on houseplants might be your next home improvement project.