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3 Steps to an Effective Video Interview Background for Creators

Create a video interview background effortlessly with our complete guide. We include everything from a step-by-step to 7 examples to inspire you.
Stephen Robles
Video & Podcast Creator
Last Updated:
March 21, 2024
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

The right kind of background can make or break an interview. While it might appear trivial, creating a good backdrop is essential – an unappealing one can convey unprofessionalism and other negative impressions.

Luckily, setting up a nice background isn’t difficult, especially with the right design ideas. Want to know what these are?

Read on to find out!

Why does your video interview background matter?

Your video interview background says a lot about you. A clean, well-designed, and well-organized background lets people know you're orderly, creative, and professional. A cluttered background demonstrates the opposite.

There are other reasons why video interview background matters, which we’ll get into below.

A plain background affects people’s perceptions of you

Plain backgrounds are dull. In the worst case, people may think the person behind the video is boring and uncreative.

In contrast, a good background makes a person appear more professional and creative.

A perfect way to illustrate this is to compare two video background stills of Dr. K, a famous YouTube personality. Look at the first image of his video background below. What is your impression?  

messy video interview

Now look at the second image. What's your impression now? Which of the two backgrounds is more likely to make you see the person in a better light?

professional video interview background

A good background makes you seem more authoritative

A well-designed background subtly signifies wealth and status, which is often correlated with authority. So a well-designed background will make the audience see you as authoritative in your domain.

Production quality

A well-chosen background can significantly enhance the production quality of your video interview. It shows that you put effort into your videos. This will make the audience feel like they're watching something valuable and worth their time.

Is visually pleasing to viewers

A nice background creates a pleasing viewer experience, and they’ll appreciate the production quality, professionalism, and aesthetics of the video they’re watching.

Reduce distractions

Unwanted, unnecessary items in the video frame can irk the viewer and make you seem unprofessional.

A classic example is this BBC interview, where the interviewee's background is cluttered, and his kids interrupt the discussion. Which is cute to watch but also distracting.

How to set up a professional interview video background: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Find a place where you can set up the background

When designing your background, you have two options

Option 1: Find a naturally aesthetic corner of your house. This way, you don’t have to put much effort into designing a new space.

For instance, if you look at Bridget's video below, the shelf and the potted plant in the background were already in her room. She had just to tidy up the shelf to make it more organized and then place the camera in front.

Option 2: If you don’t have an aesthetically pleasing background, you’ll need to design one.

First, it involves finding the best possible space in your house and removing any clutter there.

Then you’ll then want to design the background. We’ll go more into this in the following points.

Option 3: The last option is to add a green screen in the background and animate it using graphics of your choice. Many platforms also come with their own set virtual backgrounds which you can apply.

Step 2: Remove the clutter from the background

It’s always better to have fewer items in the frame of the background. In the BBC interview above, the interviewee's background is messy: books haphazardly lying around, stacked papers placed unevenly, kids playing in the background, and more. All these things only serve to detract from the interviewee's professionalism.

In contrast, look at our colleague’s background we shared above. It looks clean and uncluttered, with the items on her shelf arranged neatly. Such a background is easy on the eyes of the viewer.

Step 3: Choose from one of the design options below

If you’re done with the decluttering, then now is the time to design the background. We’ll look at multiple options, so choose the one that best suits your setting.

7 Examples of successful video interview backgrounds to learn from

#1 The Wall backdrop

If you have a wall with a nice paint color, it can suffice as your background. Here is one such example from Gillian Perkins.

plain video interview background

Background color lighting

You can enhance the same wall background above by adding video lighting. Our colleague Stephen also makes great use of color lighting in his Riverside videos.

Video interview background with colored lighting

If you want to know more about how to color your background effectively, check out a good primer on the video below.

Picture background

A poster, picture, or painting, especially one that fits your niche, can make your background wall look interesting.

Like the below background of that of a comic book YouTuber, with comic book artwork hung on his wall.

Video interview background with pictures

Wall decorations

Another option for making your walls look less dull is to decorate them. And if your wall paint isn’t a great color, using color lighting is a great way to enhance the appearance of it. The example below illustrates this well.

video background with decorations

The collectibles background

This type of background is great if you’re in certain niches, especially if you’re in the gaming or entertainment space.

Gary Vee uses this to great effect, even though it goes a bit overboard with the number of collectibles filling the screen.

video interview background with collectibles

The curtain background

A simple curtain with matching clothing colors can make your overall video aesthetic look good.

As shown in the example below, the skin complexion and background of the YouTuber have matching colors that make it look visually good.

video interview background with a curtain

The Bookshelf

The bookshelf background is the most common one that you’ll see in a video interview. Using such a background gives viewers the impression that the person on screen is intelligent and well-read.

For the bookshelf setup, you have two options: you can just add the bookcase, or you can include other items as well. Like Ali Abdaal does. Not only does he have a bookshelf, but also a potted plant, a guitar, and a keyboard in the background.

video interview background with a bookshelf

4 Tips for an impressive video interview background

Start off with our video below, then read on for some tips to keep in mind when setting up your video interview background.

Use good lighting

Good lighting can make or break the aesthetic look of your background. To get it right, here are a couple of things you can do:

Avoid overhead lighting: These can create harsh shadows and unflattering tones. Harsh shadows can also be created by harsh lighting. To avoid this, use soft lighting. A softbox or diffuser can do this for you.

Experiment with different lighting setups and positions: Position your light at different angles to create interesting shadows and highlights on you and the background.

Play around with different color temperatures. This can affect the overall tone and mood of the video. For instance, warm lights like orange help create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Experiment with different ideas

Don’t be afraid to try new background ideas. The good thing about setting up a video background is that it allows you to exercise your creativity, which can be fun.

Keep it simple and clean

Avoid complex designs. And absolutely avoid clutter.

An uncluttered setup helps the viewer easily focus on the speaker and not on some random pajama hanging from his bed.

Incorporate branding elements

If you’re representing a brand, using matching colors and elements, as these can do wonders for making your video look better.

Take the below still from the Wordtune YouTube channel. Wordtune uses purple as its branding color. Look how the designers cleverly interspersed purple elements throughout the background. To top it off, the host also always uses purple clothing, keeping in line with Wordtune's color theme.

FAQs on Video Interview Background

What is the best background for a TV interview?

The best background for a TV interview is one that’s non-distracting and visually appealing. Stressing about coming up with the perfect background is unproductive – there’s no such thing. There are many ways to create a good background, all of which are valid.

If possible, try to customize your background based on your niche and expertise. For example, a bookcase as a background is always a good idea for an academic or intellectual.

Is it okay to have the bed in the background of an interview?

Having a bed in the background of an interview isn’t a good idea. Avoid having one in the shot, even if your bed is well-kept and visually pleasing, as viewers might find it unprofessional.

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