Getting a great Zoom background is easy enough if you’re okay with cheating. Click the virtual beach scene or galaxy view in your preferences menu and, voila, nobody sees the giant hole your dog chewed into the armrest of your IKEA sofa.
For authentic greatness, it helps to have supplemental lighting (a ring light works wonders), an external camera with a wide-angle view, and a set-up that lets you look eye-to-eye with the camera (never shoot from below!). That should get you 7s, 8s and maybe 9s — because people are judging, whether they mention it or not. But for 10/10 Zoom room ratings, you’ll need some flair.
Here’s a quick roundup of some great background objects to stoke your Zoom ratings while also making your quarantine surroundings nicer in real life, too.
For the Living Room or Office
Eco-chic Gromeo is a maple wood wall garden that arrives loaded with plants and is ready to hang. Made from recycled materials, it’s both sophisticated and earthy for a vibe that says, “Yeah, we’re working here but I care about the planet.” Ingeniously designed by Habitat Horticulture, known for its Silicon Valley wall gardens, Gromeo has a mesh pouch system and hidden one-gallon reservoir that keeps plants hydrated for up to three weeks without watering. From $299 – $399.
For the Table or Bookshelf
Max Gunawan, the designer and entrepreneur behind the popular Lumio lamp that takes the form of a glowing book, recently unveiled his latest object of wonder, Teno, a sculptural speaker and light inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi (the mending of broken pottery). Made from cast sand and resin to resemble a crafted lava-rock bowl, Teno operates at four levels of illumination after you “crack” it open. It’s also a bluetooth speaker. Eye-catching in the most peaceful and Zen ways possible. They’re not available just yet, but we will still be Zooming when Teno ships in 2021, so get your orders in now. $300.
For the Kitchen
Florentine Kitchen Knives makes some of the most gorgeous custom knives on earth. As a background scene-enhancer, it’s hard to match Florentine’s new F4 range, customizable in a rainbow of color options—red, blue, green, indigo—or maybe go for all the colors in the rainbow. Barcelona-based knifemaker Tomer Botner uses Swedish stainless and French and German high-carbon steel for his blades, but it’s the handles that showcase the brand’s true artistry. Florentine’s signature look is created with a series of stacked colorful Micarta discs (made of canvas and resin) that look like brilliant stripes. Sharp eyes on your Zoom calls will know you’ve got excellent taste. Prices vary.
For the Backyard
If you’re Zooming outside this winter, light up the scene with Solo Stove. A bold and sleek new take on the fire pit, Solo reinvents the bonfire with a steel double-wall design and air induction system that virtually eliminates smoke and keeps ash to a minimum. Plus, you just look better in the glow of a fire. You really do. $349.99