Now more than ever before, people are conducting important Zoom meetings straight from their homes. Yes, it’s safer, more convenient, and more comfortable — but without a professional office environment, it becomes all the more difficult to follow the do’s and don’ts of video conferencing etiquette. If you’re wondering which rooms are best for a video call, you’re not alone.
The first (and most important) factor to consider is privacy. It might not matter as much when you’re throwing a Zoom party for your friends and family, but when it comes to a work call, the fewer distractions, the better. You’ll want to distance yourself from roommates, your partner, and your children. (Some coworkers might welcome the sight of your pets lounging around in the background, but if they’re barking or jumping up on your lap, it could be seen as an unnecessary distraction.) Unless you live alone or can convince your family members to give you privacy during your call, avoid conferencing in the common rooms of the house. Instead, if possible, choose a room with a door you can close behind you.
You’ll want to consider the room’s practicality. Does it have all the tools and furniture you might need, including a desk and access to an outlet? How about a bright, illuminating light source? Dark environments don’t look particularly professional, so you’ll want to sit with a lamp or a window in front of you — not behind you, which may cause the webcam’s aperture to adjust and could actually darken your face. Finally, ensure that the room is free from noises and echoes. Avoid areas with fans or humming electronics, and if possible, choose a room with a rug, which may help to insulate unwanted sounds.
You need a neat, professional-looking setting with uplifting decor. A little clutter on a scholarly bookcase is totally fine, but you don’t want the camera pointing straight at your dirty laundry pile. If none of the rooms in your house fit the bill, you can always opt for a stylish Zoom background to use on your next call. (You’ll still be visible, but it’ll cover anything in the backdrop with a sleek, designer-approved image.)
Now that you’ve got the basics, these are the best spots to host a Zoom conference in your home.
You probably shouldn’t be lounging around on your bed during a work call — but if you have a desk or an accent chair, your bedroom could very well be the best choice. Bedrooms often have plenty of sound-insulating textiles and furniture, not to mention a door that you can easily close for some privacy. In the image above, the turquoise armchair provides a cozy but professional setting, while the greenery-filled window offers a chic backdrop. Place a temporary folding table in front of you for your laptop, and you’re set.
Your Multi-Purpose Room
Not everyone has a designated home office, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, countless people have transformed their multi-purpose rooms into impromptu work-from-home spaces. This room might also double as your guest bedroom, your kids’ playroom, or your media room, but with a little tidying up and restructuring, it could make for one of the best places to host your Zoom conferences. The space above functions as a guest bed, but the smart organizational unit provides storage, entertainment, and a place to work. Thanks to the bright walls and private environment, it’s an ideal spot for a video call.
The Dining Room
For families in open-concept homes, this likely isn’t the best option — but if you live alone or have four walls separating this area from everything else, the dining room is an ideal spot. Think about it: With its long table, ample chairs, and clutter-free decor, it’s almost like your very own conference room. What’s more, most dining rooms (like the one above) have a light fixture in the middle of the table, which will illuminate your face no matter which seat you choose. Just be sure to wear headphones to reduce feedback if your dining room is especially echoic.
The Family Room
In case you’re wondering, there is a difference between a living room and a family room; the living room is usually more open and closer to the entryway, while a family room (or den) is typically closed-off and in a more private section of the house. It’s probably not as formal, but the family room is quieter and cozier, which is why it’s a great pick for your Zoom call. The rugs, couches, and curtains will dampen unwanted sounds, and you’ll probably be able to find a secure surface on which you can rest your laptop. (As the hub for family entertainment, it most likely has great WiFi, too.)
As long as it’s finished, well-lit, and has a strong internet connection, the basement could provide a disturbance-free zone for all of your virtual conferences. It’s secluded and out of the way — in fact, it’s on its very own level, so you won’t have to worry about family members strolling through on their way to the kitchen. In the picture above, the designer contrasted dark brick walls with a shiny hardwood floor. They then set up a simple work desk with ample storage and organized their clutter in a chic, eye-catching way. Also note the multiple light fixtures, which brighten up this usually-dark area.
If you’re lucky enough to have a loft or a finished attic, do yourself a favor: use it. This room is secluded and quaint, not to mention probably one of the quietest rooms in the house. (Because you’re on the top floor, you’ll never have to worry about your family members’ footsteps interrupting your meeting.) Just be sure that the WiFi signal reaches and, if you have limited windows, you can brighten up the space with light fixtures.
If you can stop people from coming and going for an hour or two, the entryway could be the best choice for someone living in an especially small house or apartment. Here’s why: It only has one purpose (to come and to go), so you won’t feel like you’re taking usable space away from your young children, spouse, or roommates. It’s usually pretty enclosed, so sound won’t bounce all over the place. Short of a mirror or some paintings, the entryway probably won’t have much going on, so it’ll be a neat, professional backdrop for your video call. Just set up a chair and a temporary table, and you’re good to go.
When all else fails, take it outside. Your porch, deck, or patio could offer you a quiet, distraction-free environment complete with an uplifting backdrop, like the one pictured in the image above. If it’s a nice sunny day, the natural light will do way more for your image quality than fluorescent bulbs ever could. That said, always be mindful of noise pollution like neighbors, traffic, and wind. (In other words, if you live on the 25th floor of a New York City apartment building, maybe it’s best to stay inside).