Oh, the beautiful kitchens that make us drool and dream! It’s not only the functionality and beautiful design that draws us in, but it’s also the kitchen photo styling. In my many years as a home stager and founder/instructor of Expert Psychological Stager™ certification training (my RESA®-accredited core training program), I have learned how to utilize props that engage the eye and create Memory Points™ in kitchens that I stage and style for real estate photos, design portfolios, and magazine shoots.
White ironstone is a classic and works beautifully in kitchen photo styling. Pitchers, bowls, platters, crocks, and cups can hold fruit, utensils, and other cooking necessities. Especially good when used as contrast against a darker or patterned backdrop, like this brick wall:
Any kind of crock is essential for kitchen styling and is usually seen right beside the stove:
Just because wood stained cabinetry has fallen out of favor for kitchens, that doesn’t mean that all wood is banished. In fact, wooden cutting boards and wood containers are very popular for kitchen photo styling.
Wood definitely warms up a white kitchen, and I’ve become a huge fan of wooden cutting boards with handles. They look like paddles, don’t they? Cutting boards are perfect for covering up ugly kitchen outlets – which is exactly what I did in a recent staging:
Here I used the same wooden cutting board again as a backdrop for a potted plants. The vintage wooden bowl holding lemons and the trunk slice beneath it are also in my inventory of kitchen styling props.
Lemons and limes are my favorite fruits to use in kitchen styling. Other fruits, veggies, and even cut bread help make a kitchen look like the real thing in photos. It’s especially nice to slice open something for the photoshoot! Find faux lemons here.
Mark Sikes in Coastal Living
You probably noticed the blue and white chinoiserie in the beautiful kitchen above. I used similar pieces to style a green kitchen I completed last year. Repeating the color elsewhere helps tie it into the kitchen, which brings me to another trending kitchen photostyling prop.
The Decorologist – more about this kitchen here
A beautiful rug! I’m not talking a ugly, standard mat in front of the sink. The best choice for the kitchen is something that looks like a Persian or tribal rug. It can be vintage if you aren’t worried about ruining a family heirloom, or else you can look for something that is made of polypropylene and intended for indoor/outdoor. These are super-easy to clean and inexpensive. And yes, you will need a non-slip mat beneath if you don’t want to break a hip!
You may be surprised that art is an excellent way to set your kitchen apart from everyone else’s. With the popularity of open shelving (and even no upper cabinets at all), you really could use a cool piece of art (propped or hung) to set the mood.
Cookbooks are a sensible thing to have in a kitchen, and they are great kitchen photo styling props, too! A large, open cookbook on the counter or in a stand is great (here’s a cool cookbook stand that looks like those handled cutting boards). I love the way the stylist turned a few of the cookbooks to face out so we can see the covers:
Potted plants like herbs and ferns warm up a white kitchen design. A couple of my own favorite kitchen photo styling props include the pair of olive trees on either side of the stove below:
The Decorologist – more about this kitchen here
Photo styling isn’t as easy as it seems. You may need to do A LOT of arranging and rearranging until things look “just right” in the photos. And it’s difficult to get some of the angles you want to capture because of space constraints. My client snapped this picture of me atop her new kitchen countertops:
well, that’s awkward . . .
It was worth it to get the photo right:
Ok, so here are my top picks for the best kitchen photo styling props. Be sure and pin this image!
If you have other great kitchen props to recommend, please leave them below in the comments! If you missed last week’s best bedroom and bath photostyling props, check them out here.
If you would like to become RESA® – accredited Expert Psychological Stager™, you can find out more about my course here. It will soon be available COMPLETELY ONLINE! To get on the waiting list, contact [email protected] today.
I included a few affiliate links to help you find some of these props. If you purchase one of them, it won’t cost you anything extra but I may get a few cents commission.
Great article! What plants would you suggest for a southern window well? Something easy to grow that I can use for cooking. Like thyme or rosemary maybe?
Oh dear, I only know decorating – you don’t want my advice on growing plants! I have a black thumb, I’m afraid. I would suggest faux! 😉
Hmm, very interesting post. You looked great lol. Good tip actually to place both elbows on the counter to get a steady shot. One thing you see in a lot of kitchens are KitchenAid mixers, I have one but I don’t display mine. Maybe I should 😏.
I really like photos with books and games like cards or dominoes, and umbrellas set up to dry, and bunches of flowers or veggies slapped on the counter. So it looks like a life was being lived, when the photos were taken. A life of fun and games, walking in the rain, stopping by the farmer’s market, nothing too strenuous, not like a real life haha.
Love your thoughts, Vicki! Yes, flowers or veggies slapped on the counter – but of course, they are never truly slapped but arranged, rearranged, and again until it looks so “natural and effortless!” I love my KitchenAid mixer, and of course I bought one that would match perfectly in my kitchen (mint green)! 🙂
Kristi, I love your style. Thank you for two weeks of excellent styling tips. Much appreciated.
You are so welcome, Deborah! 😉
I always use actual rugs in my kitchen- in door/outdoor – have to replace every 2-3 years but that enables me to change the look. The rugs you styled with look like they are under the islands – are they cut out to look that way? The islands don’t look moveable.
No, the rugs in the photos are not under the islands. They are all runners that lay in front of either the sink or the stove. Do you use pads beneath your rugs to keep them from moving? What kind do you use?
Kristie, these are great styling tips! I have a few final photos of projects coming up and this was so timely. Thank you!
Good, I hope it gave you an idea or two! There’s nothing like seeing a plan come together, right?? 🙂
Awesome list and beautiful shots, Kristie! I love using fruits and veggies and ironstone. I need to invest in some wood cutting boards though, those are foundational 🙂 Thanks for a great post!
Thank you so much, Janet!
Hi I recently painted my walls in my kitchen and trim all dove white from Ben Moore. Should I paint my cabinets a dove white as well ,to lighten up the room or change the white to a slightly diff shade such as chattily lace ? The cabinets are a stained wood which is very old and beat up. My floor is terra cotta tiles. And backsplash is white tile. I’m going to redo the counter as well in a new color , maby black ? If you have any suggestions I would love it ! Thank you.
This is an amazing and very helpful to me. I plan on starting a food blog and these tips will come in very handy
Oh that’s great, Nicole! I’m glad it was helpful 🙂