When I first started blogging, I didn’t have any extra wiggle room in our budget to spend on extra styling props. I wanted to push myself in photography but felt limited in what I could use. I started looking for ways to repurpose what we already had, never bought 1 time props, and diy’ed a whole lot. Now with a year and a half of sourcing cheap & creative props, I thought I’d share my favorite sources and tips.
Everything But The Kitchen Sink
You’re probably familiar with using food in recipe shots, but take a closer look in your pantry and kitchen drawers. Anything that comes in a glass jar can be up-cycled. Just remove the label and paint the top and you’ve got modern containers for craft supplies, bottles for cocktail syrups, or even candles! Even just filled with water, the glass jars can add beautiful, reflective textures to your photos. My favorite ones come from the ‘Better Than Bouillon’ chicken stock- they come with brass lids!- and the fancy juice bottles from when I’m feeling extra splurgy. Reusing the bottles almost justifies the $8 tag…
Another way to add unexpected color is to look at the full range of color options for you kitchen staples. For example, my favorite paring knife in the world comes 15 colors. Useful and cute!
Look At These Photographs
Every time I do it makes me laugh ♪. Especially the cropped off one where Michael is making the best pre-lunch face muhaha. I took mercy on him and cropped it since he made such lovely 4th of July cupcakes 😉
Photographs can add a big punch of color in a small frame and can really set a color scheme. I had these printed through Printki, and have to say I’m super impressed by the quality and color fidelity. (Use code 3QGGG34Q for free shipping if you order through them! They gave me a refferal code, but this post is not sponsored)I favor matte prints to avoid glare when shooting. Even using free, downloadable prints and popping them in a frame instantly elevates a room.
Home Goods Has The Goods
Home Goods is my secret treasure trove of natural materials. All of my olive wood, acacia, and cork pieces have been found in the clearance section. I feel like a mad bandit who always makes off with a prize!
The up and downside of using Home Goods is the high turnover rate of goods. That means a lot of good things get moved to clearance, but you have to grab when you can. Once you get your wood pieces home and washed, don’t forget to treat with wood butter to really get a good depth of color. Home Goods is also a fantastic source for styling glassware where you might just need 2-3 pieces and not a full set.
Pretty Pencils + Paper Please
I have a huge weakness for stationary. Heavy weight paper, balanced pens, brass finishings. *swoon* And while those pieces might be a dream to work with, sometimes the cheaper stuff photographs better. For example, the Pinterest patterned pen & pencil and gold foil thank you cards were $1 from Target’s Dollar Spot. They always have on trend stationary pieces and they never exceed $5.
And if you’re curious about the other pieces, the brass triangle is a Tom Dixon Home Goods find and the sculptural hand dishes are a diy.)
This one shouldn’t surprise anyone, with the IKEA planter hacks and mini indoor gardening series around here, but I want to make the case for more plants. For a few bucks at your local home improvement store or nursery, you can have wonderfully organic shapes to play with. Go during mid-late growing season for the best prices (aka now). I managed to snag a rubber tree, monstera obliqua, and a xanadu philodendron for ~10-15 each! Smaller plants will run you only a few bucks.
Coming soon- a Target hack to dress up your new babies.
Do you have a favorite collection laying about? Maybe shoved in a shoebox in the closet? Bring it out, bring it out! Chances are if you have a collection, it’s already a curated set of cohesive pieces. For example, these matchbooks! I like collecting them from restaurants as a small memento, or scooping up a 4 for $1 set at the thrift store when the colors call to me. These were all picked up at different times in different places, but there’s an underlying theme. Sprinkle your collection into photos to slip your personality in.
That rounds it off here! What are some of your favorite budget blog props?