Vancouver stylist – How to style a Kitchen for a Photo Shoot – 3 Rules to Follow

When the cabinet manufacturer saw the photos from this kitchen I styled, they hired me to style all the kitchens (and some built-ins) for their new website. They were interested in the high end look of this kitchen website which they emailed me to review.

Above images

My first stop for most of the accessories I needed was Fluff. They have a warehouse full of everything you need (furniture, lighting, accessories) to stage any space. There I picked everything I thought was appropriate based on the photos I had been sent (which is all I had to go by as it was a last minute decision for the client). The first kitchen had cream cabinets and the only colour inspiration in the space was the red Kitchenaid mixer (below):

1. Choose a colour scheme
I decided on a red and yellow colour scheme, because it’s french country which was perfect for this kitchen;

Fluff Rentals
Patti (the owner of fluff) brought up a good point (as I circled around her well stocked shelves waiting for inspiration to strike) I asked her if she had any casserole dishes or pots and she said she specifically doesn’t rent them because she thinks a styled kitchen shouldn’t remind anyone of work (well, cooking is work for some of us :).
Styled by Maria Killam

When I chose the items I needed for this kitchen, the photos did not include the china cabinet you see now on the left (above). When the first images were downloaded into the photographers computer I realized the left side of the kitchen looked like it was floating because there was so much dark on the bottom right of the photograph; so I ran around this clients home to find every red urn and accessory she had and luckily, she had more, so we were able to visually pull the cabinet into the photo and create balance.

Styled by Maria Killam

2. Pick a theme for the food; ie. breakfast, wine & cheese, coffee.

Remember how I’ve said in the past that it’s hard to style a kitchen so it doesn’t look contrived? In this kitchen I chose a coffee and cake theme but, I have seen everything from carrots to wine and cheese and coffee all on the same island because whoever was styling it was thinking only of colour instead of choosing a theme; very important!

The next kitchen was contemporary and I didn’t have any colour inspiration (from the photos besides the cabinet) so I selected a wine & cheese theme and brought in white dishes and a branch for a splash of green and drama:

The above platters were the only thing from Fluff in this kitchen, I didn’t know how big this island was because I didn’t have a good picture of it so I rented both sizes. In the end the larger one was perfect and it was the same light colour as the cabinets!

Styled by Maria Killam
Styled by Maria Killam
3. In a perfect world, you keep everything the way it is for consistency. In this case, we broke that rule, as you can see by the fact that the cheese and fruit tray has been moved to this corner of the kitchen. The photographer Anna Beaudry, had the brilliant idea of inserting a light in the drawer and it sure makes this shot (above) fabulous!
Since my client builds cabinets, we wanted to display the drawers open with dishes so I found the blue rolling pin and a matching rubber rim from a pressure cooker in some other drawers and managed to pull off a coordinated look with her stainless pots and bowls for this image (below).
Styled by Maria Killam

The next kitchen we styled was quite dark so I chose an orange and yellow colour scheme to add some colour and pop!


See the pendant lights in the kitchen (above) when I chose the yellow and orange colour scheme I didn’t consciously pick it based on the colour, it was only when I saw the finished images that I noticed that the colours I chose matched the lights. Whew, I love it when that happens 🙂


I don’t have the full kitchen shot here so I’ll just show the one you already saw in yesterday’s post but here you have the before photos (above) anyway:

Styled by Maria Killam

In this home they had installed cabinets in the office and bathrooms as well, so here are the before and after’s:

I only have this view of the styled bathroom but the two green urns above were placed in between the two sinks with the plant that you can see on the left, with this much brown we needed a shot of something fresh!
Styled by Maria Killam
This was the bookshelf in the office, if I had more time I would have colour coordinated the books too, because they had so many great, colourful ones, but it worked out with the accessories I picked up at fluff:

Styled by Maria Killam
Styled by Maria Killam
The books (above) I did coordinate underneath the little piece of art, Anna picked up on that immediately and got a close up shot!
When I picked up these urns (above) I took the smallest one and stuck it in a small bag (for the colour) so that I could continue to shop for other items and it immediately fell through the bottom and smashed onto the concrete into a million pieces. Therefore, it is not in the styled image below 🙂
Styled by Maria Killam
As you can see by the colour scheme in the bookshelf above, I did chose books to match the artwork and blue theme happening here!

Styled by Maria Killam
With this much brown everywhere, what is your guess that pretty soon everyone will start painting their cabinets white?
Related posts:

Styling Kitchens
Styling for Photo Shoots
Staging: Two Day Transformation
White Kitchen Cabinets

While you’re here, subscribe to this feed so you don’t miss out!


leave aREPLY

  1. The light in the drawer was a great idea, really successful! (those elderberry drinks are yummy too…)
    And I loved the office staging too.
    Thanks for letting us know about Fluff, I didn't even know they existed.

  2. Between you, me and the Fencepost

    I'm a little late on the commenting . . . I have noticed the crappy unmatching food in styled kitchens. Thank you for noticing and keeping the theme together. The ladyfinger cake looks delicious.

  3. Maria… I just read an old post of yours about the effect of natural light on colour. So… does that mean that if a room (hypothetically – uh huh… yeah… right… hypothetically) has a northeast exposure, that yellow is not a good colour for that room?

    So much to read – so few hours in the day.


  4. Dear Thunder-Moon,
    It means you can't go with a pale yellow, or something that looks like creamy beige, that's what tends to go green, it must be something like BM Dijon!

  5. Sedona @ MyDivineDelights

    Maria, I was just reading your white kitchen post and you showed a picture of a kitchen you show painted with Benjamin Moore's OC-92 Mannequin Cream, is this what you wer thinking? I like the creamy color, maybe with a dark glaze rubbed in the crevices? Thanks for commenting on my blog! My new cameras on the way, so I'll be posting lots of pictures soon. Also, I emailed you about cost for advice on outside paint colors for our house in Houston. Not sure if you've recieved it? Thanks so much!

  6. Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner)

    Fantastic post, thanks so much for sharing all Maria! The cabinetry looks wonderful and it is clearly the star of every shot. You have a wonderful sense of color and proportion, I imagine your client was thrilled!

  7. Brillante Home Decor

    Just a super fantastic job Maria, I have also noticed, as Joni did,the water running…nice touch. Great staging and great images.

  8. Really a wonderful post – great tips – love the backlighting on the open drawer. Of course your eye, is fantastic for all themes and colours


  9. Wow, I kind of stumbled onto your blog, and I love it! You do such a wonderful job, and I've often wondered how staged homes and photos look so great. It was really great to see the step-by-step brought to life by an expert! Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Maria, This a phenomenal post! I'm trying to get an idea of how decorating really is done and this went miles towards helping me understand the principles involved.

    I also had a long talk with my friend, Laurie, who (the one who didn't get the idea of A-Z filing, but is an amazing decorator. She's the only person I actually know nearby who can help…and she 'owes' me on all the sewing I do for her. :o)

    I had this sense that one of my biggest mistakes is too many little things versus a few big things. Between that, and the whole house being unified either in theme or color scheme, I really have a lot to work on.

    I am spending the whole evening…just reading your older posts and trying to pick up some of the barebones 'principles' involved in decorating.

    Thanks for this super post!

  11. Hi Maria..I feel so funny coming back and leaving yet another comment..but I sure do love this post! I need to feature this one! I've finally gotten the livingroom completely re-done with our new look and the new carpet and some antique rustic lamps..lots of brown, cream and navy. This will be a great post to show what inspired me! This the best how to I've seen so far on your blog..such great before and after photos.

  12. OMG that is great! I love your work! Guess I am not as up-to-date as your usual subscribers! I swear I have fallen in love with your blog… Breathtaking writing! You're an outstanding and talented person, keep up the individuality 🙂