So you want to be an interior stylist?get a pen and start making notes - we should be charging you for this advice
Do you ever find yourself picking up a magazine and swooning over the front cover shot? Perhaps you’ve even dreamed of being the person in charge of the shoot. Or maybe you’ve just always had a keen interest in interiors, homeware or styling? Well if that’s the case, and you’re wondering about how you get can get a foot in the interior world, perhaps consider an interior stylist role. An interior stylist is the person who creates the beautiful room sets on the front covers or that person that sources a whole load of awesome props to take to someone’s house for a shoot. If this sounds like your dream job, then listen up because we’ve spoken to two top interior stylists to give you some great insight into the role and how you can work your way up from an assistant to a stylist. Get you pen and notepad at the ready…
We speak to interior stylists’ Emily & Laurie and pick their brains about becoming an interior stylist. If you want to know what the role entails, what you can do to impress those your working for or even how you can be prepared as an assistant on your first ever shoot, be sure to read their advice.
Stylist, Writer & Craft Designer
Emily lives in London and has worked for a wealth of popular print and online publishers for the past 11 years. She’s styled for the likes of Woman’s Weekly, Style At Home, The Craft Network & Woman & Home. On top of this, Emily has hosted a number of workshops and online tutorials for companies like Heals, Paperchase & Hobbycraft, so her advice below is golden. You can view her Instagram here.
What would be your advice for someone assisting on their first ever shoot?
Firstly, stay calm! Shoots can be rather fast and furious, especially when everyone is arriving – lots of running to and fro, unloading vans and unpacking boxes, sometimes eating on the go and not much time for ‘getting to know you’ chats. Definitely don’t take offence if you are bossed around from the word go. There are often so many shots to get through in a day, especially if you are fighting against the light in Autumn/Winter when the daylight goes at 4pm! Be SUPER helpful. Ask the stylist what they’d like you to do, unpack a box at a time (carefully, as it could be fragile) and take photos of everything that came out of that box, trust me, this will be a lifesaver at the end of the day. Bring tape, scissors, pins, blu tack, and a bottle of water! Above all, enjoy it!
Be prepared. Bring things like masking tape, scissors, blu tack, a pen & paper to your first assisting shoot
Do you think it’s necessary to do some sort of training or course in interior styling?
Although I didn’t do a training course in Interior Styling, I feel this would certainly be beneficial to anyone. There is definitely a distinct element of creativity needed in this industry, so I think my art and design background put me in good stead. I have also learnt A LOT from stylists and colleagues I have assisted and work alongside. But I do think you can get stuck in your ways, so I’d like to take a training course at some point to open my eyes a bit more to new ideas.
How did you get into interior styling?
After completing my degree in Illustration I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I did work experience at various companies, including IPC Media (now Time Inc) where I was assisting on the Home and Craft department at Woman’s Weekly mag. I knew I loved the variety of the job; part office based with a fab team, out propping for shoots, styling and writing Home features. That sealed the deal for me, I ended up there full time, working my way up until I was Home Editor. I also worked with Woman & Home mag and on the launch for Style at Home. I went freelance last year and haven’t looked back, I love the freedom of working with a variety of exciting brands, as well as going back to my creative roots by teaching workshops at Heals and The London Craft Club. I still do some Editorial shoots, but there are so many opportunities, from PR shoots to commercial.
Interior Stylist & Writer
Laurie is a London-based interiors writer and stylist, and works for some of the UK’s leading publications and websites, including Ideal Home, Good Homes, Homesandproperty.co.uk etc. With over 20 years experience, including five years as the Homes Editor on Style at Home magazine, she’s passionate about interiors and is a self-confessed shopaholic with a love of industrial, vintage and Scandi style. She also has an unhealthy obsession with stationery and her motto is work hard, shop harder! See her Instagram here.
What would be your advice for someone wanting to become an interior stylist?
What challenges do you find yourself overcoming during a shoot?
Reach out & offer your help for free to gain work experience and contacts for your first couple of assisting shoots.
Whats your top tip for creating a beautifully styled shot?
This is a tough one, as it’s quite different depending on what type of picture you’re after, however I’d say that sometimes it’s the finishing touches that really take a shot from average to beautiful. Pulling a rug half into shot to break up a big expanse of floor space, layering up a bed with lots of different textures to add interest, or even laying a flower stem so that it’s creeping into shot on a flat lay – little things like that can make a big difference. Slapdash doesn’t work with styling; you need to be able to work quickly but also be able to know at a glance if it needs extra touches to make it extra special. If it’s a full room shot, check for anything unsightly – are there wires showing? Plug sockets? Is it too busy? Too empty? Are the items clear as to what they are? Does it make you want to snuggle into the bed or long for a kitchen like it? Those are the questions a good stylist would be asking.
If you’re feeling inspired, get in touch with Topology to see how we can help you on the right track to becoming an interior stylist.
Photo Credit: Colin Poole, Jeremy Phillips, Lizzie Orme, Sussie Bell & Simon Whitmore