11 Designer Secrets for Making Your Home Outrageously Photogenic

We all want a catalog-perfect pad for hosting cocktail parties, sticking it to our mother-in-law and OK—yes, taking the occasional Instagram. So how come our pictures render flat and lackluster, while the feeds of our favorite designers are bathed in otherworldly chicness? Lucky for us, 11 fabulous pros agreed to share their best-kept styling secrets for a photogenic home.

3 Mistakes We All Make When Hanging Art


designer photogenic trick 1

Tackle Every Last Wrinkle

“When we arrive at the house, we spend a lot of time steaming all of the slipcovers, pillows and beds because it helps our houses look much more polished and elegant. We use a lot of linen in every project we complete, so there's the potential for A LOT of wrinkles!” 
- Erin Curry of Chango & Co.

Image: Chango & Co.; Photography: Raquel Langworthy

designer photogenic trick 9

Maximize Natural Light

"Use natural light to your advantage, as lamps and indoor lighting tend to cast shadows. Open all of the blinds, curtains and shades, and bear in mind that the best time of day for capturing interiors is either the early morning or late afternoon when light is softer. A bright room is always more inviting." 
- Sasha Bikoff of Sasha Bikoff Interior Design

 Image: Sasha Bikoff Interior Design; Photography: Patrick Cline

designer photogenic trick 5

Sit On Your Styling Efforts Overnight

“Set the table the night before! This always makes me feel more prepared and gives me time to make changes if the blend of elements doesn’t sit right the next day. Here, we used woven seagrass placemats, linen napkins, candles, modern stemware and three floral arrangements cut low, so that the flowers don’t compete with the showstopper chandelier.” 
- Tharon Anderson McAvoy of Tharon Anderson Design

 Image: Tharon Anderson Design; Photography: Lesley Unruh

designer photogenic trick 8

Style Decor In Odd-numbered Groupings

“The most memorable spaces are those that celebrate simplicity, and I find that the best way to achieve this is by clearing everything out and taking a step back to review. Then slowly begin adding in pieces that speak to you, while keeping in mind that odd-numbered groupings that feature a combination of varying heights and scales offer the most visual interest.” 
- Marie Flanigan of Marie Flanigan Interiors

Image: Marie Flanigan Interiors

designer photogenic trick 10

Set Out Snacks For Color And Pizzazz

“Show some personality! When we can, we love to layer in homeowners’ own resources to create an environment that is unique to them. Think putting out a bowl of favorite candies and snacks, or adding fresh flowers from the garden, based on the color and texture of the room.” 
-Julie Massucco Kleiner and Melissa Warner Rothblum of Massucco Warner Miller

 Image: Massucco Warner Miller; Photography: Gray Crawford

designer photogenic trick 7

Invest In Statement Greenery

"There are lots of ways you can make your home more photogenic, but our absolute favorite is investing in a large house plant. Something green immediately makes the room feel a little chicer. Added points if you invest in a beautiful basket or planter—it really will take your space to a whole new level.” 
- Alyssa Kapito of Alyssa Kapito Interiors

Image: Alyssa Kapito Interiors

designer photogenic trick 3

Leave A Few Items Imperfect

“I prefer to style my spaces so they reflect that they are being lived in and enjoyed, not perfect places that are untouched. To achieve this natural vibe, think about what the space would look like if you were actually using it. For instance, layering in an undone napkin, an open book, or shoes casually into the scene. I feel this lived-in quality adds warmth and engages the viewer on a deeper level.”
 - Jana Bek of
Jana Bek Design

Image: Jana Bek; Photography: Marta X Perez

designer photogenic trick 11

Spice Up Surfaces With A 3-part Centerpiece

“Create interesting vignettes on your tables that set a scene and draw viewers in. We like to use three elements—florals, lights and a 3-D object—to give our centerpieces depth. This one, from a recent project of ours, pairs florals with candles and a gorgeous statue.” 
- Emily Mackie of Inspired Interiors

 Image: Inspired Interiors; Photography: Dustin Halleck Photography

cecyj photogenic

Edit Your Decor Like Marie Kondo

“People often overcompensate when entertaining and add so many accessories that it becomes overwhelming and unpolished looking. If it does not have a permanent shelf, drawer or you really need it in your house? (Extreme) decluttering is the first and most important step.” 
- Cecily Mendell of Cecy J Interiors

Image: Cecy J Interiors; Photography: Sean Dagen

designer photogenic trick 6

Use A Mix Of Shapes To Keep Things Interesting

“Make sure you have a fun mix of shapes and colors in your decor. Our go-to layering trick is to add a few different sized bowls and/or objects to help balance the space, and adding in a pop of color and texture with a natural element—like flowers or a plant—is a must.”
- Shannon Wollack and Brittany Zwickl of Studio LIFE.STYLE.

Image: Studio LIFE.STYLE; Photography: Stephen Busken 

designer photogenic trick 2

Keep It Casual With Blooms And Produce

“Don’t go overboard with lavish flowers and create a too-perfect, overly-staged look. Instead, I prefer to use understated floral arrangements, like cut flowers in a mason jar or succulents that you’d have around on any given day. In the kitchen, a bowl of farmers’ market veggies on the countertop can convey that it’s a warm, lived-in space. Above all, it’s about striking the right balance and conveying authenticity.”
- Susan Galvani of Spruce Interior Design 

Image: Spruce Interior



Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.