Time was, we'd take a selfie, ignoring whatever was going on in the background, and focus in on our face alone. How's the hair? Are both eyes open? Have we managed not to treble our chin? Today, things have changed somewhat: with countless influencers and bloggers vying for our clicks and likes, it takes a lot more than a Valencia filter and a snap of your #OOTD (outfit of the day) to nail your social media.
Ultimately, the photo set-up is key - you need to think like a stylist or a professional photographer and curate the perfect backdrop. That being said, you need to do it in such a way that it looks as if you haven't tried at all. Whether you're chronicling your attempts at homemade bircher muesli on Snapchat, sharing a flat-lay of your travel essentials on Instagram, or blogging about your latest sartorial discoveries, the devil's in the detail. It's ALL about the visual. Consider these interiors backdrop tricks to enhance your social media game.
For a minimalist aesthetic, look no further than the rough-and-readiness of an oversized mirror, and ideally something that has a rustic, reclaimed feel to it. For the ultimate cool factor, don't bother fixing it to the wall; simply rest it up against it instead (but be sure to protect your paint underneath by applying little buffer stickers to the back of the mirror - these are as cheap as chips in Ikea). Keep the surrounding wall fuss-free. Use this for full-length OOTD snaps. If you can't get your hands on something gold or brass - the metals of the moment - go for a thick wooden frame against a white wall. Plain and simple. You could even upcycle something old by sanding it down and trying your very own DIY whitewash. Add a string of copper-wired lights for extra atmosphere and you're good to go. For something quick, impressive and relatively inexpensive, choose Ikea's Mongstad mirror in black-brown (€109, ikea.com/ie). It ticks all of the social media boxes.
Flat-lays and food pictures demand a sophisticated surface, but worry not if you don't have a solid-marble counter. There are countless clever ways to work with surfaces on social media. If you've got the space, try a marble-effect side table; it needn't be a huge investment. If you don't, think quirky place mats and tablecloths, the simplicity of your wooden floor or a chevron-patterned rug. Even a sheet of wrapping paper can do the trick (choose a marble pattern and no one will ever know). For food and product shots, your best bet is to opt for an aerial view - that way, you've only got a small space to work with and it's easy to make anything look good. You'll even get away with having your laundry drying in the background. For foodie bonus points, invest in some picture-worthy bowls, platters and servers.
The ways in which natural greenery can enhance your living space have been well-documented: it's good for your wellbeing; it's good for the air; it adds colour. It also plays a subtle but nonetheless important role in social media. If you look closely, some of the most prolific lifestyle stars - especially on Instagram - have incorporated plants into their strategy. It's bright and eye-catching but never OTT. Add a miniature cactus garden in a geometric terrarium to a window sill, a hanging planter from the ceiling, or an aloe vera plant to your coffee table. Or all three (just remember to water them on occasion). For a low-maintenance alternative, choose greenery in soft furnishings, as seen (above) with Penneys.
Light 'em up
Ask anyone worth their social media salt and they will tell you: no post is complete without the appropriate lighting. Granted, you can fake a lot of what you're trying to achieve with the right filters, but for the benefit of your backdrop, consider adding a lamp (both shade and base) with personality. Depending on where you're most likely to snap in your space, you might go for a statement floor lamp (try made.com) or something that sits pretty on your desk, for which you'll always find a once-off bargain in TK Maxx. A definitive key trend for spring 2017 is the resurgence of the kind of bright neons that defined the 1980s. A shocking-pink lampshade will bring any post to life, but for something really edgy, mount a neon sign to a plain wall. It will work a treat above your makeshift drinks trolley - the latest pièce de résistance of funky interiors.
The last of the ingredients for the ultimate backdrop lies in the diverse world of wall prints. To get a sense of what suits your style, curate your 'favourites' list on both Pinterest and Etsy. Are you more into word art than photography? Do you prefer a lone print in a striking frame or a gallery wall with prints of varying sizes? Getting creative with wall prints allows for individuality. If it's colour you're after, head to Jam Art Factory (jamartfactory.com) where prints from Jando Design will bring your wall to life. For extra quirk, consider the humorous musings of Aoife Dooley's work (aoifedooleydesign.com), which will certainly catch the eye of your more discerning social media followers. For something different, Etsy opens up a world of adhesive decal options - from foil stripes to the silhouette of the NYC skyline - all of which you can peel off and change when you've decided you've had enough. Can't quite make up your mind? A sure-fire social media hit that will always go with almost any style of décor is a brick-wall effect. Failing the real deal, choose either brick cladding or fake it with a cheap and cheerful brick-effect wallpaper.