Making Life Simple – An Ikea Hack for Still Life Photography

This year I’ve found myself shooting less and less indoor still life, not because I’ve lost interest or feel uninspired but simply because it requires a lot of effort! My usual shooting space is in the living room, I’ve a large window and great light but each time I want to shoot something I need to start moving around furniture and carrying a whole array of props and backdrops up and down the stairs. And honestly, sometimes I just can’t be bothered….

So something needed to change and I set off to Ikea filled with my usual mixed feelings of dread and excitement (anyone else feel the same way about visiting Ikea or is that just me?) and came home with a great new still life set up that cost just £11 and the cutest little espresso cup.

Disclaimer: I did obviously buy more things, things that my life just wouldn’t be complete without, but they aren’t that relevant to my photography…..

Still life photography online workshop

Still life photography, simple Ikea set up by Janet Broughton

So what did I buy for the great sum of £11?

A Lack coffee table for £5 and a Linnmon table top for £6 – the coffee table works as a base, it’s a perfect height for sitting on the floor and shooting straight on or at angle but isn’t too high for standing up and shooting top down.

Still life photography online workshop

The table top stands on its end leaning against the table and can either be a white background or can be used to tape wallpaper onto or lean photo boards against. Alternatively, when I need a wider background, it can be turned around and propped on top something (in my case the open drawers of the wardrobe) and it’s then perfect for draping fabric over.

And the best thing of all is that its all very lightweight (you can’t really expect anything else for £5!) making it much easier to move around than my living room furniture. It’s stored in a corner of my spare bedroom, the same room I keep all my props in, which also has great light, so it’s now effortless to pull everything out and start shooting.

No more excuses!

Still life photography, simple Ikea set up by Janet Broughton

Still life photography online workshop

Still life photography online workshop

An unexpected bonus is that when the table is tucked away in the corner I can store much of the accumulated boxes and bits and pieces that go alongside a home based business underneath or on top of it and make the room look a little tidier.

Here’s a little behind the scenes phone shot, it looks a bit like a chair but the back is actually the table top, it’s standing on the floor but I can also pull out the drawers behind, turn it around and pop it on there to make a wider background.

ikea still life photography hack


  • patricia

    Super simple and soo ogreat !

    • Janet Broughton

      Thank you!

  • Martin Smith

    Yep super simple and effective with super results. I got myself two packs of laminate flooring from Carpetright for the grand sum of £0.00, as they had been returned by a customer unhappy about two tiny marks on one of the boards! Your summer workshop sounds interesting!

    • Janet Broughton

      Now that is a bargain!! Yes I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the venues turn out to be suitable for the workshops but if not I’ll keep on looking!

  • Melita

    This is brilliant Janet! I’m always on the lookout for new ideas so this came at a perfect time. I still have my large textured tiles from Topps Tiles, but they can be quite heavy. I really like the practicality of this setup and not having to stand on a step ladder to do a flatlay! 😉 xx

    • Janet Broughton

      Glad it’s come in useful Mel! I’m actually kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner, it makes life so much easier and helps tidy some of the clutter that comes with running a business from home! xx

  • Shirley

    Just getting back into my photography after a lengthy illness. So happy to find your blog. Will go to FB & look for u there!

    • Janet Broughton

      Wishing you all the best with your photography and recovery Shirley!

  • Rebecca Jones

    thank you Janet for sending me to look here – this has helped me so much. I got some wallpaper and hardboard. I took some flower photos in the garden for my blog. I’ll use the backdrops indoors too when it’s too windy/wet for flower photography. thanks so much – am practising what I learnt in the workshop. Lots of love Bec xx

    • Janet Broughton

      So glad it was helpful Bec and great to hear you’ve been practising what you learned in workshop! Take care xx