As Zoom morphed from a noun to a verb, so did the way users interacted with this virtual conferencing platform. By simply dropping in a virtual background, users could teleport themselves to Maui, Alaska, Sonoma, and (sigh) even the set of Big Brother. Because of this, virtual backgrounds have had a major influence in the interior design choices of homeowners.
When we began our six part series of Interior Design Trends of 2021 in January, we were all in a much different place (both literally and metaphorically). Athletes were not competing in the 2020 Olympics, children were not attending school, and the concept of an office took on a whole new meaning. Zoom (and wine) have become staples in many people’s lives.
With this new reality came an increasing need for new and sophisticated Zoom backgrounds. However, not everyone wants to, or should, drop in a background from Cartoon Network or (cringe) Jersey Shore. Interior designers and interior decor retailers came to the rescue to provide clean, classic, and sophisticated backgrounds that are worthy of today’s workforce.
Serena & Lily
Specializing in breezy coastal styles, the Serena & Lily look is casual and relaxed, yet refined. An added benefit to this brand’s offerings is their commitment to sourcing sustainable products.
While Serena & Lily offers six virtual backgrounds on their website, this one is our definite favorite. The subtle blending of colors, textures, and patterns brings a calming vibe to this space. Note the subtle beige and white diamond pattern in the flooring, which marries nicely with the beige area rug.
The clean lines of the chairs mimic the lines in the picture windows, and the rattan end table adds another dimension with a bit of texture. Pops of color are brought in with the housplant and flowers on the table, which picks up the subtle flower pattern on the pillows. Breaking up the white of the background and adding another little pop of texture is the rattan chandelier. Perfection!
Like Serena & Lily, Williams Sonoma offers six virtual backgrounds, which makes sense given that virtual backgrounds are not their bread-and-butter.
As we all know, Williams Sonoma products come with a pretty hefty price tag. If it’s not in your budget to go crazy at this high-end retailer, then these virtual backgrounds are a great way to get that high-end style without breaking the bank. While each background would make any interior designer drool on their Italian leather couch, our favorite is this blue-hued living room with stunning picture windows and a fantastic circular chandelier.
Patterns and complimentary colors are the focal point in this Williams Sonoma living room creation. The patterned blue area rug draws the eye straight up onto the white couch with accent pillows in varying patterns and materials. A pillow pairing that is, in fact, very similar to the Styld pillow pairings. The brass lantern table topper pairs nicely with the brass ceiling chandelier, and the greenery on the coffee table plays on the gardenscape in the background.
If you’ve ever picked up a House Beautiful magazine, you know that it is one of the most stunning print publications dedicated to interior decor on the market. After all, it is a Hearst publication (you know, that giant castle on the coast of San Simeon, CA). Enough said.
If you want to pretend like you’re living in the next feature of House Beautiful, then you must download one of their free virtual backgrounds. Having partnered with their friends at Phillip Jeffries (known for their beautiful creative wall coverings), these House Beautiful virtual backgrounds put the “swank” in “swanky.”
Take this black-and-gold ombre living space. Talk about making a dramatic appearance! It’s sleek, it’s stylish, it’s shiny in just the right places but soft and delicate in others. The Phillip Jeffries wall covering brings into play the Japanese art of metallic leafing which lends depth and movement to this design. While a bit on the masculin side, there are a few feminine touches-such as the tufted white chairs and delicate glass accents on the side table-that make it work for any person.
Crate and Barrel
It’s nearly impossible to pass by a Crate and Barrel store and not go in and browse around. If you are a Crate and Barrel aficionado, then you’ll love their offering of free virtual backgrounds.
While you can’t go wrong with anything on offer, we’re drawn to this outdoor setting. It’s calming, it’s cooling, and it’s likely the patio of some multi-million dollar mansion in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. But a person can dream, right?
Now, if you’ve ever attempted to actually work outdoors it’s not all butterflies and sunsets. The neighbor’s dogs inevitably begin to bark as soon as you launch your virtual meeting. The sun is glaring so badly off of your laptop screen that you squint so hard you look like Gilbert Godfrey. And, honestly, let’s not even get started on that sad little patch of weeds you call a yard.
All joking aside, we love the pop of color in the blue couch and chair. It picks up the tones of the sky and blue mountains beyond. The sleek lines of the table and poolside lanterns are simplistic enough not to detract from the stunning scenery.
While we’ve focused on only a few of our favorite interior decorator-inspired virtual backgrounds, there are thousands out there. These free backgrounds are a great way to ‘test drive’ a design style before investing time and resources into a redesign.
If virtual backgrounds aren’t your thing, then consider staging and accessorizing your background. Peel-and-stick wallpaper or the purchase of a Styld Shelfie collection can take your decor from drab to fab. While it may not match the rest of your home, it’s a great way to try out a style before investing in a whole room.