Interior Design: Styling, not just for Photo Shoots / by Ginevra Held

I've been doing a lot of styling work for photos here at the Farmhouse, and I wanted to share how that translates to your own home.

Whenever you see a photo of in interiors in a design magazine, it has been heavily styled.  The place has not just been cleaned and decluttered, its has been styled.  A stylist's job is essentially to create a mise en scene, the idea that someone lives in that home, that the place has life.  Good styling is subtle but transformative. I think of all the painting periods, Styling is most like the work of the Dutch masters like Vermeer.  Intimate and with a close attention to detail.  Many designers hire a stylist for the shoot, or a photographer has one on hand.  Personally, I like to do the styling myself, and one of my design heroes, Vicente Wolf does as well.  In fact, he also takes his own photos, which I am hoping to learn eventually as well.

Anyway, styling is about creating these mise en scene. You probably have a lot of objects and props, as I like to call them on hand already.  

My favorite things to style with: books, flowers (always!), small objects, pillows!, mirrors! and fabric.  It's all about creating a layered look and an environment that is a reflection of you.  The personal objects in your life should be put on display neatly and deliberately.  

All surfaces in your home deserve a little styling.  Side tables, coffee tables, dining tables, chairs, bookshelves etc.

And most fun, it doesn't have to be permanent, you can move things around and choose to hide or display different things at different times.  It's like decorating for the holidays, but all year long. Decorating for your life!

In the photo at the top I used a combination of books, objets, flowers, fabric and a mirror to create what I called "Miss Havisham's Reading Nook"  It has a soft dilapidation which I like.  I imagine this little nook as a lovely place to read while the sun pours in.

Here is another I did:

Here, I relied heavily on pillows, both on the bed and in the window area.  I took what was a window ledge and made it into a cozy reading seat by adding pillows.  Ah, the power of pillows!

And another:

Again pillows! A beautiful quilt, a framed drawing on the side table and a present from Net-A-Porter doesn't hurt.

What kind of styling do you do in your home?

xo, Ginevra