8 steps to designing your best at-home studio set

Jack Blog

July 27th, 2020 By Jack Morton

Today, a lot of people’s homes are doubling as broadcast studios. And many need some work. Not everyone can have a green screen and animated backgrounds, but there are a few easy steps that speakers can take to create a dynamic at-home studio set. It’s actually easier than most people think.

A professional style home studio is possible if you follow just a few key steps. These will help to engage your audience and allow them to focus on what you are saying versus where you are saying it. Messy bookshelves or a filing cabinet shouldn’t be the star of the show, you should.  These eight steps can help speakers both look and feel like pros.

home studio

  1. Create depth

Establish a place to stand or sit that is at least a few feet away from your background. The more depth behind you, the better.

  1. Leverage texture

Do you have a brick or wood wall in your space? Or a fabric curtain? Texture is a great way to add visual interest, without overdoing it. You may show furniture behind you but make sure the space is neat and clean. It’s worth noting that only curtains without intricate patterns should be visible.

  1. Show your personality

It’s okay to have wall hangings or decorative shelves behind you. It gives viewers a little insight into who you are. Plants can also add visual interest. But try and keep these items to your right or left, and not behind you. The space directly behind your head should be fairly plain.

  1. Tidy up

Be your own editor and remove all clutter. If you are using a shelf or bookcase, please thin it out so only a few key items are shown. Straighten books, framed art, pillows, etc. And feel free to add a pop of color.

  1. Keep it lit

There should always be more light on your face than in your background. But your background shouldn’t be too dark either. Avoid an ominous look by ensuring your background is lit.

  1. Stay stationary

If you choose a seated position, do not use a swivel chair. If you are standing, try to plant your feet in one spot, and avoid swaying back and forth. In a live event, it works well to walk across the stage, but that does not translate to a virtual environment.

  1. Wear what you love

It’s important to feel comfortable in your attire. Neutral tones work well, but feel free to wear a color that makes you feel good, as long as it doesn’t clash with your background. All white is not ideal, but a white shirt under a dark jacket is perfectly appropriate.

Avoid wearing clothing with a busy pattern on it – particularly stripes – as patterns are hard for the camera to pick up and viewers may see a dizzying, distracting effect on screen. Also, avoid logos or words on your clothing.

  1. Prepare a dress rehearsal

Use your computer’s webcam, or the camera on your phone, to pre-visualize your background and make adjustments. Position the camera so it is in line with your eyes. Place a tall lamp behind the camera to light your face, or position the camera in front of a window to leverage natural light. It helps to dress in what you plan to wear for the recording so you can see how it looks in your space.

Feel ready to get started? Take a few keys from these at-home studio examples:

Read more about designing a virtual broadcast set.


This list is curated by our design experts including Jim Fenhagen, Executive Vice President, Design and Alexandra Daniello, Creative Director.