Video conferences have become the norm for many businesses around the world since many companies are still operating remotely these days. When you do a video conference, what do you use as a background?
Some people use a blank wall, but that can be boring to stare at, and sometimes the way shadows fall on an empty wall can look weird in a video call. Most video conferencing software allows you to blur your background or use a virtual background, but if you have ever been on a video call with someone who uses either of those options, you know they can be problematic. The software only picks up parts of them, so if they move, their arm could randomly disappear or reappear, and if their pet or kid is in the background, their face might begin appearing and vanishing too, almost making it look like the person on that end is being haunted. While this can be amusing, it is not always appropriate in a business setting. Plus, people prefer to see a more authentic and real background than the virtual backgrounds offered by the software.
If you are meeting with a prospective client, you especially want to have a more authentic background because it might help you connect with that client on a different level. For example, if you love baseball and happen to have a signed ball in your background if the person you are meeting with also loves baseball, that can help you forge a better connection with them. This can also help you bond with your coworkers, which can be hard when everyone is working remotely.
No matter which video conferencing software you use, you can use a good, authentic background, so we have put together this guide for how to decorate your video conferencing space by creating a DIY accent wall.
Create a Faux Stone Accent Wall
The wall behind you in the meetings is your base, so you want it to look great. While you can opt for painting it a unique color, paint flowers or stripes on it, or add wallpaper, you can create a unique accent wall using faux stone. There are many colors and varieties available, so you can find one that goes well with your personality and style. You may think you need a professional mason to help you install it, but you can actually install your faux stone accent wall on your own in a single weekend.
Once your wall is covered, you can begin decorating the space. You want to choose personal items that not only suit your personality but also reflect your company and your position within it.
You want to be able to share your personality, which means you may need to have something to show things off. You can add a bookshelf, cabinet, or even a floating shelf or two to put things on. You can also add a small end table to the area behind you if there is room, and that suits you better than a bookshelf does.
Now that the wall is covered in some beautiful faux stone and you have something to display items on, the really fun part begins: decorating.
You do not want to make your space look cluttered, but you still want it to be interesting, and there is a fine line between the two.
Have you won any awards, either personal or professional, that you can display? Those look great and can be great ice breakers. If you have degrees, you can also hang those up there since they are something that you worked hard for.
You can display items linked to your profession in the background. If you work in IT, for example, you can display some older computers or hard drives. If you work with kids, you can display some of their drawings and art or some toys that are related to your job that can work too. A teacher could have textbooks behind them or gifts from some of their students. Product samples are a good thing to display, too; they might make the client curious and help you make a sale. Get creative with it, but make sure that no matter what you choose that is linked to your profession, you keep it well organized. This is not the time to let things get cluttered.
Books are always a great choice to have in your background. You can have some paperbacks that are related to your hobbies or your job. If you have any hardcover books, you can remove the book jacket to make them look nicer.
Plants are a wonderful addition to any background. Whether you choose to have bouquets of fresh flowers in the background or small potted plants, they can add a little character to your background. If you are not a plant person, you can always add bouquets of silk flowers; they are beautiful, and you never have to worry about them dying.
Photos, drawings, and paintings are great additions to a background. Small decorative glass bowls, decorative boxes, and small sculptures are beautiful too. You can use these to show character and allow a little more of your personality to join the background.
Additional Video Conference Background Tips
In addition to the decor, there are a few other things to keep in mind when putting together your video conferencing background.
Position of the Desk
To show off your new background, place your desk between three and eight feet away from your new accent wall. Keep in mind that the further away from the wall you are, the more of the background will be visible, so keep that in mind when putting your new accent wall together.
Before you start designing your accent wall, find the perfect position for your wall, then set up your camera so that you know exactly how much of the wall will be visible.
While windows are not always a bad thing in your background, if it is a bright, sunny day, that can interfere with the way your lighting looks in your videos, so make sure that you have the curtains closed when it is sunny and bright outside.
Take some time to pick out the lighting for the area where you will have your video conferences. You want to look your best and avoid awkward shadows. Overhead lighting is perfect for this. Desk lamps can make half of your face look brighter than the other half, and you want to avoid anything awkward.
Things to Avoid
There are a few things that you should try to avoid when you are designing your accent wall.
- Avoid making a single piece of art your entire background because you want to showcase your personality with this background.
- Try to position your desk so you can avoid other people in the background. Having pets in the background is usually okay, though.
- Avoid taking a video conference outside. You cannot predict when a car alarm will go off, a loud car will go by, or it will start raining.
- Avoid making your background look cluttered.
Creating a beautiful accent wall is easier than you think it may be. You just need to have it painted a nice color or install faux stone or brick on it. Then add décor that is both professional and beautiful to show the other people in your meeting who you are and allow you to bond better with your clients and coworkers. Have fun designing this, and make it something you can be proud of.