Your Camera:: An Unlikely Decorating Tool

Last week when I did this wall, I could tell there was something off.  I liked it but it still needed tweaking in some way.  It wasn’t until I was miles away in Nashville posting the photos of the plate wall that it became glaringly obvious.  That long platter was messing me up and needed to be tinkered with.  There are a few more tweaks I’ll make over time but, I was surprised how quickly I could figure out a solution just by looking at a photo and not looking at the actual room.

Does something feel off in your space?


  1. Love this wall!! You girls looked like you had a ball! Hope I can go next year!!

  2. I totally agree!! A picture on your computer screen can totally change your view of something!!

  3. Great point! It’s funny how our eye can trick us into seeing what we’re thinking. Thanks for the post!

  4. I’d say that entire rooms in my house feel “off.” ;) I have noticed that it is much easier to critique a space after I’ve taken a photo of it.

  5. that antler is the awesomest

  6. That little minor tweak really makes a difference. I often take pictures of different angles in my rooms when something seems off. Something about seeing it from a different perspective makes diagnosing the issue so much easier.

  7. I take photo’s of my artwork as I progress through a painting. It amazes me how much more I “see” when viewing my work that way. The plates look fantastic and your tweaking of the platter was perfection : )

  8. I couldn’t agree more!! I am actually working on a post about this. I always, always take pictures of my decorating and analyze them. It helps a TON! It allows you to focus without being distracted. I’ve even been known to print a photo and draw on it to see if a different shape or size on a wall would help.

  9. Yep — the bookcase in my foyer. It’s full of little “stuff” and I’m constantly dissatisfied with it. I’m not sure if I don’t like the way its arranged, or if I don’t like the stuff!

  10. It’s so funny that you posted this, because yesterday I posted some photos of my living room on Facebook. As I was looking at them, I could envision changes and different ideas so much better than just looking at the room. Funny, isn’t it?

    Oh, and posting the photos allowed me to get lots of helpful advice from my friends. :)

  11. Love your plate wall, I love that it’s so asymmetrical. Great job!


  12. It’s always amazing to me how some things look so different when photographed. Many times I will take a photo just to check to see how the room “reads” and if I need to make any changes.

  13. The fine folks over at Young House Love are always saying the same thing! Snap a picture and review to make any changes. :) Glad to hear it’s great words of “wisdom” and a key to decorating!

  14. You are right on with this post! It’s so true…I can’t tell you how many times I have thought a room was okay until I looked at a photo of it. That’s when I realize it needs A LOT of work!


  15. Wow…what a difference moving one plate made!

  16. That is so true! I often find things that are out of place when I look at them in a picture.

  17. Wow, Nester, you’re absolutely right! There are so many times when things just aren’t quite right, but I can’t figure out what’s off. Lots of times I’ve left the room (even walked out the front door, taken a breath of fresh air, and then walked back in) so that I could get a fresh perspective–but taking a photo would be even better. It wouldn’t even need to be a good photo–a quick snap with a phone would do the trick. Thank you for a great idea.

  18. I’m going to throw a spanner in the works and say that I liked the arrangement better before you moved the platter. :)

    • I agree. I liked it better before as well. Especially with the blue throw.

      • I was reading the comments fast and totally thought you wrote that you liked it better with the blue ARROW! I was all “wow, someone actually thought that arrow was part of the plate wall”.

        I’m such a dork.

  19. THAT does look much better!

  20. I was thinking the same thing, but what do I know?

  21. I vote for the before look too. The new look confuses my eyes. :)

  22. I totally agree. This can also be done with a photo of an outfit. Can’t see what doesn’t work in real life, but a photo tells it all.

  23. I couldn’t agree more! The plate does look better moved. And seeing pictures of a home is such a great way to see what’s missing. I see way more flaws with my home since I started blogging. Lots of stuff to fix. In time.

  24. Excellent advice! Looking with different eyes.

  25. Goodness. If I could just take a picture and see it that would be great. But, alas, I am not Nester and it doesn’t work for me. Do you sell that camera?

  26. I have noticed the same thing! It’s amazing! It helps a lot to look at pictures. Especially when you’re trying to sell your house. :)

  27. I didn’t realize this until I was taking pics of rooms of our new house to post and noticed things that I never notice in everyday life! I’m going to use it when trying to decorate our nursery.

  28. I’m sorry, but I hate this look. Too “messy” for me – to my eye it is confusion and makes no sense.

  29. I really like the after shot.Your intention is much clearer and not so jumbly.That said, I could have looked at the before shot all day long and may not have realized exactly WHAT needed to change.You definitely have a gift:)
    I like the darker throw, as well…but I think the photo is heavy on the right side…that could be because I’m not seeing the whole room though.Maybe slide the plant and antler to the opposite end of the table?
    Your home is lovely and you are great to put yourself and your home out here on display for us all to learn from.Thanks Nester!!!

  30. I always take a picture and then see EXACTLY what I need to do to tweak my rooms….
    great post, nester! and, your tool worked…your wall looks better….who knew it could?

  31. So funny because my white plate wall has some ‘tinkering’ to be done too. I just haven’t taken the time to fix it. :/ I feel like I’m always saying that to you. Ha ha!

  32. This is kind of funny because as I was looking at the picture, that stood out to me too, and I thought, “She’s totally going to notice that in the picture and change it”. Gotta love the different point of view a camera gives you. It looks fabulous!

    ♥ Amber

  33. I knew what I wanted to say then started reading the comments .. then thought maybe I shouldn’t …. but I live dangerously they say … I’ts not that I do not LOVE, but I say you were right it was the one ‘out of the GRAND loop you have created” .. My thought when I first saw it, and even now that it has been moved is to take it off the wall GULP .. and set it on that table ! Just saying ;-)

  34. That was the missing link! Well done.

    I’m trying to figure out how you got the plates so layered?

  35. I love this post! You are so right! I do that with my cakes… The picture shows what I don’t see otherwise.
    Thanks for the ideas on how to hang the plates. I love white dishes. That’s actually all I have. There’s nothing on my walls though..I’ve lived here a year without decorating. But yours looks great, I think I’ll try it! =)

  36. Yes, there is always something off in my home. Never enough time for it all. I am a neat freak and a person that like things a certain way. I have had to let my self relax, and take time to enjoy life.

    Your plate display is beautiful. Where ever did you collect so many? Over time?

  37. I do this all the time! When I’m reorganizing something and I want to remember how it looked in case it doesn’t look as good as I think it’s going to when I change it. Weird, but I also do this with different hair and makeup styles, because I’m a dork like that.

  38. I like it a lot better now. Your camera (and you) were right!

  39. I agree. I have found that my camera helps immensely in getting a space just right! Weird concept, but totally true! Love your plate wall…perhpas you’ve told us this but did you use those disc plate hanger things? Or traditional plate hangers?

  40. OMGosh it’s so funny that you wrote this because I have been doing this too… especially since I move things all the time. I can take a photo of a room… then more some furniture around… take another photo and load them side by side… It’s funny how a photo gives a different perspective of the same space.. almost like your eye sees it differently!

    I thought it was just me…. okay, so do great minds think alike… or do we need a decorators intervention?

  41. I like it so much better with that plate moved. It was a bit cady-whompus in it’s old spot, and threw me off of my “everything has to be level” frame of mind. You fixed it, ha!

  42. Photos definitely help with decorating!! Another good idea…if you are putting your house up for sale, photograph each room (before the realtor does) to see if it looks cluttered and if anything needs to be tweaked. Nothing is worse than messy photos of your home online for all to see.

  43. I totally know what you mean!!! I do the same thing. I will be taking pictures of some of the rooms in my home for my blog & then look at the pics & think to myself…something doesn’t look right! I can never see it when I am in the room, but if I have a picture to analyze, I can quickly see the problem areas! So strange!

  44. Absolutely! Every time I go to edit my photos and choose some for a blog post, I see things I’d like to tweak in the room. Go figure. I thought it was just me :)

  45. I disagree. You moved the oval platter to the right and now it looks to close to the other platters not to mention the sofa. It looked more evenly distributed before the move.

    You have to be very careful when doing this kind of look – although you are going for an assymetrical look it still has to look weighted evenly otherwise the eyes don’t know where to look and the end results looks messy. Turning the lights on in your picture helped a lot but I don’t know if that brown blanket- (it almost looks rust in the picture) is the best. An design trick is to squint when looking at something……you can tell if the balance is out of wack….try it …it really works.

  46. I am amazed at the difference moving that little plate made! But you were dead on. It looks so much better now.
    I love using my photos to help me make changes in my decor. The camera never lies. :)

  47. That really does make a difference! Wow…I love it!!

  48. Oh my gosh – Yes, that’s one of the main reason’s I started my blog. Now my mom in California can see what I mean when I say,”I’m not sure if I like how this looks.” So much easier to make the tweeks you need to make by looking at the photo of a room rather than standing in the room and trying to decide.

  49. Wow! Huge difference! Looks great!

  50. That’s MUCH better! I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

    However, my eye still doesn’t know where to land. That doesn’t mean it needs perfect symmetry, but I need an anchor or point of reference.

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