Photography Guide – Top Interior and Prop Styling Rules to Follow

Photography Guide – Top Interior and Prop Styling Rules to Follow

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” – Mary Lou Cook.

Let’s kick off the new week with this positive quote in mind!

Top Interior and Prop Styling RulesHow are you guys? Did you have a nice a weekend? I hope you are enjoying the Photography Guide series so far! I am putting a lot of heart into it and I wish it will bring you a little bit closer to achieving your dreamed-of photography results.

Today I am back with a third part – featuring some of my Top Interior and Prop Styling Rules and a little bonus at the end of the post. Are you ready? If you are at the beginning of your photography adventure and still a bit confused what styling means, check out the post from last week, where I have explained it in detail.

We also talked about finding our own unique style and its importance to achieve satysfying results. Assuming that we already know what aesthetics we are drawn to, the next most important thing to take beautiful photographs is – creating a story. And that, my dear friends is achieved by interior and prop styling.

I like to think of styling as movie-directing, where photographs we style and take are a sort of movie frame. A moment frozen in time, a complete setting – the fun question is… What is it all about? What movie are we making?

When styling interior stories, I often imagine fictional characters –- who are they, where they work, what they love to do in their free time, what souvenirs they bring from their holiday, what they eat, what they wear and I create and style the space around the image I have in my mind. I might not get an Oscar for that, but it’s a great way to practise the styling process. It makes it much easier to style a space – when you know who is the owner. You should totally try it out!

Idea: Get creative and style a dining room or a bedroom corner, having a fictional person in mind to see how it turns out. Try to design it for Bridget Jones, Grease characters, Devil wears Prada, Joker – ha! That would be fun!

It’s particulary helpful when styling showrooms or homes for sale. In case of photographing your home, you are the main actor so there is no need for imagining characters, but the styling can be different each time – depending on a day and how you feel it can be a happy, romantic, Summer Afternoon or a nostalgic Winter Morning. Can you see what I mean?

Sometimes we focus too much on figuring out how to shoot the scene (camera settings, different angles) forgetting the importance of what the photos are actually about. Guilty! There are times, when I am in a rush (deadline coming!) and I don’t put as much thought as I would like into styling. However it’s important to know that there are some rules out there…so we can break them from time to time! *wink*


So I’ve created my personal checklist, a ‘rule of 7-steps’ which guide me through the main stages of styling interiors. I want to show you how you can create TWO different stories in the same place, by changing the styling direction.

Let’s assume I want to photograph a new, wooden tray (it can be a DIY project, new product, home tour, anything really!)

1/ Story

Starting with a story-line – how and where do I want to photograph the tray? What is the story behind the photo I want to take?

2/ Mood

What’s the mood in the photo? Is it a morning scene with bright light entering through the windows? Or a rainy, cold afternoon? What you want people to feel when looking at the photo? Hapinness? Relax? Nostalgia? Safety? Comfort?

3/ Style

This part very much depends on your taste and aesthetics and the character you have in mind – is it feminine and cosy? Modern and clean? Vintage? Boho?

4/ Colors

This is the stage where I determine the color palette and shades.

5/ Objects

Objects which create the story – coffee cup, bed? kitchen table?

6/ Textures

What textures are you going to choose to style it? Is it table cloth in the kitchen or bed linens?

7/ Patterns

The patterns and lines you chose for the photos also play important role.

Please keep in mind that these are a general points to consider while styling a room, not a fixed set of rules. The most important part is to play with props, have fun and enjoy the process!

Guys, you have to forgive me – I like to talk a lot (I know!) and I have so much to share with you… but first I would love to hear what you think? Did you find these rules helpful?

What rules do you have when it comes to styling? Are you spontaneous? I would love to know!

And here comes the little bonus I mentioned at the beginning of the post -if you are curious to see:

  • Step by step (with pictures) how I created the wooden tray image.
  • Top 3 bedroom styling tips

Free step-by-step bedroom styling guide

Click here to receive FREE PDF with the details!

All right guys, that’s it for today! Hope you enjoyed it and I will be back with photoshooting and editing tips next week so stay tuned.

To view all the posts in the Photography series – click here.





Annie Abbey

This is so helpful! My husband and I are trying to buy a home right now so this is the perfect guide to how to share our new home on the blog! Thanks for sharing!
xx Annie


    So happy to hear you found it useful Annie! Sounds exciting! When can we see the new home? 🙂

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