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Design a talking point – create eye-catching video backgrounds

From the Resene decorating blog

Online meetings, seminars or just casual catch-ups – we’re all connecting with each other online more and more. For the most part that flexibility makes life easier to navigate – and has opened up an extra opportunity to show off your design flair by creating vibrant and interesting backgrounds.

Evoke a new location with this wall mural

Evoke a new location. Back wall painted in(from top to bottom) in Resene Zulu, Resene Antidote, Resene Sorrell Brown and Resene Lone Ranger, right wall in Resene Half Wood Bark, floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, bookshelf in Resene Zulu, plant pot on books in Resene Sorrell Brown and plant pot on shelf in Resene Antidote Hats from H&M, chair, car, clock and Space Man from Homage. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Why bother?

There are endless suppliers of virtual backgrounds you can download and add to whatever meeting you’re in to look as though you are floating through space or discussing your pending deadlines while sitting on the bottom of the ocean. You can even choose from Resene zoom backgrounds to save the need to tidy up. Going to the trouble of painting a background to your online work environment in real life is not essential, but it can be a creative way to avoid worrying if your laundry or dishes are visible, or have your co-workers squinting into camera trying to see what’s on your bookshelf.

The goal is to create a background with conversation pieces that are great for breaking the ice, but don’t dominate and distract. It’s a great way to show off a little bit of your personality and be welcoming to callers who are virtual guests in a small area of your home or office.

But it’s not just about what works for your callers and colleagues. One of the best reasons for designing an eye-catching real-life background, is that it’s an opportunity to create a home workspace that’s inspiring and inviting for you to be in.

Keep it simple

The key to a good, practical background is to have enough items of interest visible, without clutter. Block colours, clean lines and larger format patterns are easier on the eye than intricate repeating designs like polka dots, checks and zigzags.

If you have a separate room for your home office, or where you take video calls, you don’t have to redecorate the whole room. Creating a beautiful background can be as simple as adding a beautiful piece of art against a warm neutral.

Light grey tones such as Resene Concrete or Resene Kensington Grey work well on camera as do warm whites such as Resene Merino and Resene Half Tea.

For a fast, dramatic transformation, embrace one of the classic interior design tropes: the feature wall. Try a small area of bold wallpaper such as Resene Mason Bamboo MBB05 in Resene Quarter Foggy Grey, Resene Gold Dust and Resene Cuban Tan.

Using bold backgrounds

Bold backgrounds and primary colours keep things light and bright.

Walls painted in Resene Kandinsky with grid in Resene Wet N Wild, floor in Resene Wet N Wild, large plant pot and vase in Resene Jalapeno, small plant pot in Resene Alabaster, lamp and picture frame in Resene Alabaster. Artwork by Anna Mckay from Endemic World. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

A luxury room with tonal layers

Tonal layers give a luxury, warm finish without being overwhelming.

Back wall painted in Resene Dark Buff, shelf wall in Resene Korma, floor in Resene Eighth Drought, coffee table in Resene Twine, console table in Resene Twine, tall vase in Resene Alpaca, short vase in Resene Gold Coast, DIY artwork in Resene Korma and Resene Gold Coast and jug vase in Resene Raptor. Project by Gem Adams, image by Wendy Fenwick. Armchair from Contempa, cushion cover, lamp, candle and marble dish from Citta, vessel from Father Rabbit.

Simple doesn’t mean dull

Having a clean, simple background does not mean sticking strictly to neutral colour. A great way to add interest and drama is to layer different tones of one colour. Your walls could be a pale green such as Resene Coriander, with features such as shelves, cupboards, or tables in Resene Paddock, Resene Rivergum and Resene Forest Green. This tonal effect adds interest and depth to a space without making it too fussy.

Add the odd pop of contrast to give the whole look a lift, with vases or decorations in a light neutral such as Resene Secrets or something more unexpected such as Resene True Blue or Resene Old Copper.

Alternatively, instead of tonal layers, you can add extra dimension to your background by using contrasting colours to create areas of negative space, or paint bold geometric shapes.

Light it up

Consider how the light in your video call space works on camera and how it impacts the colours in your background. Do you have plenty of natural light or good artificial lighting? If so, experiment with darker tones for added drama. Try a deep shade such as Resene Blue Night and give it a lift with a light coloured artwork or a contrasting a hanging light shade in creamy Resene Alabaster or copper-toned Resene Twizel.

If your preferred video space is naturally darker, go for lighter background colours and add impact with splashes of light and bright tones.

Using stencilled or free-hand wall designs

Stencilled or free-hand designs are a dramatic alternative to framed art.

Back wall painted in Resene Quarter Surrender, left wall in Resene Americano, floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, face in Resene Grey Chateau, plinth and lamp base in Resene Santas Grey, tall vase in Resene Americano with splatters in Resene Grey Chateau, short vase in Resene Sea Fog and jug vase in Resene Lola. Chaise and throw from Nood, cushion covers and splatter vase (before painting) from H&M Home, heels from H&M. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Shapes and shadows add depth and interest to grey rooms

Shapes and shadows add depth and interest to camera-friendly greys.

Walls painted in Resene Half Stack, circle feature on wall in Resene Surrender, flooring in Resene Silver Chalice, console top in Resene Half Grey Friars, tall vase in Resene Blackjack, bowl in Resene Grey Friars and small round vase in Resene Desperado. Styling by Vanessa Nouwens Photography by Wendy Fenwick Moon floor lamp from Citta.

Add extras and textures

A mix of colours, textures and materials are also great for video backgrounds. Layer your look with lamps, cushions, throws, plants and objet d’art that make your space feel lived (and worked) in without feeling cluttered.

Complement your colour choices with wood finishes, twine, velvets, ceramics and blinds or curtains. It’s all about that mantra of adding interest without overwhelming your virtual visitors.

The great thing about these finishing touches is that you can also switch them out to suit your mood and your audience. That edgy artwork or cheeky poster your friends always comment on, may not be as suitable for an online job interview as a tasteful vase or a beautiful plant.

A moveable feast

Not all video calling spaces, or home offices are created equal. If your workspace is tucked into the corner of your bedroom, or you're based on the kitchen table you can still create some background interest and separation for your video calls. Consider getting a portable, folding wooden screen that you can tuck behind your chair as needed.

Treat it just as you would a feature wall, painting in colours that make you feel good. Hang it with art or objets to suit your taste, or even string it with fairy lights. You can decorate both sides differently for variety and repaint the whole thing whenever you want, without the expense of doing a whole room or wall.

No more having your family members wander through the background of your meetings to make a cup of tea.

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

May 20, 2021

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