Instaworthy? Now that is a high bar. Making your home so beautiful that you just know that someone is going to click and like, or even follow you, so your images always appear on their feed. All enthusiastic home designers dream of being spotted by Homes and Gardens. So, maybe prepping our home for Instagram can fulfil our desire to be famous for our interior design talents.
When looking for ways to make your home social media friendly, there are lots of hints and tips that will help you stand out on the #homedesign crowded screen. Here we take you on tour through everything you need to know to be a home design internet sensation.
We would say this – right? Tub chairs are the best. Tub chairs are amazing. Blah blah blah. But we had to get in there first because we do think that using our chairs offers the perfect accent to any design. Our vintage tub chairs are a scene stealer in any room and an item of furniture that can be used to create a whole theme for your room. We recently saw a stark white TV room with our lime green faux leather tub chair taking centre stage – it is a good job we were well supported in our own particularly fetching vintage design – we may have fallen off our seat!
We think the wingback chairs we offer are also particularly stylish and can add that touch of class to your room. Take the burnt orange fabric wingback chair. This autumn colour would work brilliantly in a dark teal paint scheme to give a dramatic look and certainly be one that would stand out as people swiped by. You need to be bold if you’re are going to make it on Instagram!
Anyway, enough of our blatant begging to be on Instagram, please photograph our chairs and post them right now, pretty please, chatter. Let’s move on to other top clickbait tips.
There are traditions in interior design, periods of accepted styles of furnishing and decoration. You may choose to go mid-century modern or industrial or bohemian or farmhouse. Indeed, choosing a particular mould and pouring this design into your house could get you a few clicks. There are likely people in the world who would type in the search term ‘shabby chic’ and be gloriously happy to see your finely crafted glamorous clutter.
However, if you really want to stand out, then you need to be a little bit different. One of the top interior designers on Instagram is Ashley Whittaker. She sells her style as “youthful traditional” – an oxymoron to cover every situation. But, then, you know what she means. The mould of traditional is dark wood and austere furnishing. But, imagine if you had enough style sense to throw in some element of fun. There are people out there who like the formal feel of a classic drawing room design, but they also want to inject this with some of their personality and humour. This could be achieved with the addition of a random faux zebra stool in amongst your traditional cedar furniture, or maybe a stand out picture on one wall that characterises your sense of humour or your enduring youth.
Although it is good to be sure of the tradition of design you like, one way to stand out on Instagram is to show how you can ever so slightly change the mould a little. This way you will be an inspiration to people seeking something new to shake up the ordinary in their home.
How will the room be used? It seems such an obvious question but maybe one we don’t ask enough before organising the design of our interiors. Is your kitchen just a place where food is prepared? Or, is it a place where your teenager dumps their bag and sits to do homework, while the other one rummages around in the treat cupboard while listening to loud music? Equally, it could be the place where you and your partner enjoy your best late-night conversations.
In short, we are suggesting that design should not trump substance. Your house will look amazing on Instagram if it captures some of the life your family lead. This is what will inspire onlookers to love what they see. So, when you are designing a back room, why would you make it formal and austere? Why would you make it a place where people sit up straight and dare not put the cup of tea down on a surface? Have a bean bag thrown casually (but stylishly) in a corner; have a TV that blends into the wall when not in use; have lots and lots and lots of cushions that speak of comfort and times spent together. To really grab people’s attention, you need to suggest a home, not a house.
Ryan Korban is an US-based interior designer who makes it onto Instagram more than most – with his 82000 followers, there is no doubting his appeal. It is likely he would have read Tip #04 and choked on his expensive glass of champers. His idea for getting your house noticed and other interior designers interested is to have a feature area – something that draws the eye and makes people go wow! This is literally the opposite of function over form – this is design over usability: at no point should this design feature accidentally have a practical application.
Some of Ryan Korban’s photos are extreme – and are more conceptual than genuine interior design tips. Yes, the living room decorated in cash and the room with the furry hammock have their place, but maybe not in the average home. However, it is best not to let the extreme of the example get in the way of the idea. There are parts of your home that you could dedicate to your artistic eye, a place where you can create a talking point. We are not sure a talking point is worth the amount of money it would take to wallpaper your living with ten-pound notes, but each to his own!
One of the most crucial design tips is to begin the process with a mood board. You can actually find examples of mood boards on Instagram, and you could even post your own to start your followers clicking by.
You don’t have to be limited by the conventional when putting together your mood board. You are just collecting together bits and pieces to inspire you and give you an idea of the overall look you want. We know of someone who photographed a patch of hair from their pet because they liked the shade of burnished red in their tortoise-shell cat. The best way to keep ideas flowing is to give in to this tendency to collect anything that captures your idea and gather them together on a board.
The mood board can be a physical object. In other words, you can cut and stick and staple bits and pieces together until the board is covered. Alternatively, you can create a digital mood board, where you cut and paste images together that have caught your eye. You may include photography, illustrations, colour palettes, textures – you may even choose to put random descriptive words in that capture the feel or the poetry of your design.
This mood board is the start of the design process and should be fun. Not only should it streamline your design process and keep you from faltering in the DIY store in front of the paint shelf, but it will inspire you to make something special out of your design.
If you ever hire a professional designer for your home, they will come with a mood board with bits of cloth, paper, paint dabs and images to help capture the quality of the idea they are presenting. You should really aim to do the same if you want your end-design to be worthy of a click on Instagram. We guarantee that once you have produced one mood board, you will find yourself doing multiple boards and then holding a show and tell with interested family members. Or, maybe that is just us. We like interior design.
This is not just a photography tip. We know the point of this list of suggestions is to get clicks, but really, we want you to have a home you are proud to show others. Natural light does show up the best features of your home in a photograph (and the dust too, just to be clear) but it also makes a home more enjoyable to live in. When you are planning your rooms think carefully about where the natural light is coming from and how you can make the most of this in your house.
Here is a tip we were once told, which made us roll our eyes because it seems so obvious: if you put a mirror on the wall opposite a window that gets light most of the day, then the mirror will reflect more of this natural light into the room. It is will also make the room feel bigger too, as the illusion of the room reflected in the mirror gives a sense of space. Small things like this make us happy – and we think it will make your home ready for Instagram too!
If your room is particularly dark, then you need to think about how you can keep the window area open. Avoid putting dark, heavy curtains in places with little natural light. Even when open, these curtains will create a sense of shadow in the room. Also, it is a good idea to keep the taller furniture away from the windows, where the sunlight will come in and cast shadows.
If all else fails, and your room needs artificial light to be seen by all but the family cat, then do what Grant Gibson (80000 followers!) suggests – bung your Westie dog on the sofa to get the likes.
The temptation when designing your interior space is to focus purely on colour and shapes. However, for the best designs, you need to consider all the senses that enter the room. Considering texture will add dimension to your room. This can be in the form of a rug on the floor or finishing the walls with a piece of art made of metal or wood, or something with a distinct feel. A stone fireplace is always an impressive centre-piece to a living room and adds this sense of texture that you should aspire to.
An expensive feature may be too much to ask for in a limited budget. However, texture can be added for a relatively small amount of cash. You can get a throw that is quilted or coasters that are made of recycled leather.
The point about texture is to layer. You begin with a larger textual piece, and then you add smaller pieces that complement the larger item. So, if you start with a velvet chair, then you should add soft furnishings that seek to bring the best out in the chair. You will know when you have finished texturing your room because the job will feel complete to you. When you take a photograph, you will see that texture does show in the look of the room, giving it depth as well as appeal.
Even in a cluttered room, where the idea is to give a quirky mad professor feel (we are sure this is a thing) there still needs to be a sense of space to impress. Oddly, you need to be as aware of the negative space as well as the positive space. What? You ask. Surely, you only want positive space. But the areas without furniture is probably more important than those with.
This starts with a previous tip: how is the room to be used? However, it ends with the idea of loving the logic of leaving bits of your home empty. Not all bits of walls need to be covered and not all flooring covered in rugs. The point is to draw attention to the bits of furniture that fill the space by cleverly designing the places that don’t have anything in them.
Yes, we realise we are telling you to plan for what is not there. However, seeing the whole room as a finished product requires you to understand how the viewers’ eyes are drawn to key features. Remember the lime green chair in the pure white room. It was the lack of colour elsewhere that made that tub chair ping… and obviously it is an excellent tub chair too.
Another tip about space links to lines. If you use vertical lines as opposed to horizontal lines, then you can give your room height that wasn’t there before. This means a narrow coffee table with long legs; it means a tall, long, upright mirror, rather than a square mirror. The small details will add to the sense of space you offer, even where it might be lacking.
All this focus on getting clicks on Instagram is all fun and games, but really the choices you make need to tell a story of you and your family. This will come along with an appeal for your viewer too, but it will mostly make you want to live in the space. All the items that you try to hide just before you are taking a photograph are likely the things that say more about your home than everything else.
You need persuading?
Well, the toys scattered on the play mat in the corner of your living room – these tell a story of a family who plays together and learns together. That pile of books waiting to be read on your bedside table, well they speak of relaxation and people who enjoy the space in which they live.
Naturally, this sort of advice comes with limits. We are not sure anyone on Instagram is ready to see an uncensored teenagers’ bedroom and kicking the odd bit of laundry under the bed is maybe helpful too.
This is a little cheesy, but we feel it is important to say. It is your home, your space, so please yourself. It is good to be proud of your home, but if you are producing something just for a photograph then it probably won’t serve the purpose it’s meant for – to make you feel at home. Seek influence from others, and advice from people who are considered experts. However, bottom line this is part of a Home Angles series of articles – and the keyword is Home.
There are small choices you can make that can ensure your room pings. A single chair could be enough to make you room worthy of plaudits. This is not about getting clicks on Instagram, this is about producing a home that you are proud to share with others. Humans are social creatures, and we are territorial. Our space is central to our identity and our sense of safety. In short, interior design is more than just about showing off.
There are lots of tips and hints here that will improve the look of your rooms. Planning the space is important, getting natural light into the room is essential, thinking about colour, shapes and textures are all critical points to consider. It is a good idea to have one or two signature pieces and then seek to complement these with smaller items. The signature pieces should be items that you have fallen in love with and wanted to point everything towards.
However, we stick to our main point, which we come back to again and again, think how your family uses the space and then make it work for them. There is nothing more attractive to an onlooker than a home that speaks of comfort, security and love.
Office and marketing manager for Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs, who sell a range of high-quality tub chairs, accent chairs and more.