One of the few things we're getting to enjoy during this time of social distancing is the sneak peeks into co-workers' homes, thanks to Zoom meetings. It's fascinating to see where these people we work so closely with every day live, but some might not want to grant access — even virtual access — to those they'd prefer to have only a professional relationship with. Whether it's because your apartment is a mess or because the paintings on your wall aren't exactly work-appropriate, you can now swap in a totally different, impeccably decorated home on Zoom thanks to West Elm's new virtual backgrounds.
Yesterday, West Elm announced on Instagram that it curated a bunch of "stylish video conference backgrounds" so you can "start dialing in from your dream home." According to the West Elm website, members of the company's creative team recently started using images of real homes that had been featured on the Front + Main, West Elm's design blog, during virtual meetings, and it was a big hit with everyone on the calls. That's when they got the idea to give others the opportunity to spice up their own Zoom calls.
You can find West Elm's fourteen free virtual backgrounds on the company's website. Choose from images of a mid-century living room, a New York City waterfront view, an industrial-glam loft space, an incredible A-frame, and many more.
Once you find the home you wish you lived in, save the image to your desktop. To use it in Zoom, locate the up arrow next to the Stop Video icon in the bottom left corner of the video window. When you click on it, you'll see an option to "Choose a virtual background," which will take you a menu of pre-loaded Zoom background. In order to add the newly saved West Elm image, select the plus sign next to Choose Virtual Background. That will prompt you to upload the file from your desktop.
If you have trouble getting the West Elm home photos to work in your virtual meeting, make sure your Zoom is updated to the latest version, which means version 4.6.0 (13614.1202) if you're using a Mac or 4.4.53582.0519 for a PC without a physical green screen. Check out the full list of prerequisites here for use of video backgrounds and more.
With help from West Elm, your co-workers will no longer be able to judge the cluttered apartment you just haven't had the mental energy to clean during this crisis. And, you can transport yourself to the swanky and secluded home you wish you could actually escape to right now.