Podcast, Ep. 287: Styling Secrets with Robin Zachary

Prop Stylist Robin Zachary

Robin Zachary, Prop Stylist and Author of Styling Beyond Instagram: Take Your Prop Styling Skills From the Square to the Street

This week we welcome New York based prop stylist Robin Zachary. After working as the Creative Director for Bridal Guide Magazine, Robin launched her prop styling career and has since founded The Prop Styling Experience—a popular prop styling workshop. Robin talks with us about how to start styling with the things you already have and love, advice for those looking to get into the field, and more about her book, Styling Beyond Instagram: Take Your Prop Styling Skills From the Square to the Street.

Book Cover: Styling Beyond Instagram by Robin ZacharyWhat You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • What exactly does a prop stylist do?
  • What are some of the biggest misconceptions about prop styling?
  • Advice for those looking to get into prop styling.
  • What led Robin to develop both her workshop and book?
  • How Instagram and Pinterest have changed the world of photography.
  • Robin’s great advice on how you can make things look beautiful on a daily basis.
  • How to find the perfect pillow cover for your sofa.
  • Some of the inspiration behind Styling Beyond Instagram.
  • A plug for Ballard – you can order any of our 350 fabrics and a pillow cover, and we will make it for you!

Decorating Dilemma:

Hi there ladies!

I’ve been so appreciative of (and slightly addicted to) your podcast since discovering it last year! I’m adding dimmer switches and scooping up lamps like it’s going out of style! Loving the dedicated “trials and triumphs” episodes and more time with each talented guest!

We moved into a boring, beige, builder-grade house for more space in late 2020 and have been chipping away at projects to make it ours since then. Still quite a few projects on the list, but we’re inching closer! My husband and dad are super-handy and have done a large portion of the work.

I’m currently finishing up our family room and having trouble tying it all together. The TV is staying above the mantel until we finish out the basement. We have 2 young daughters at home and spend a lot of time in here reading, playing games/puzzles, watching football, and entertaining. I’m hoping to achieve a classic, elegant, but cozy vibe with a little quirk too. I have a few specific questions but appreciate any suggestions you and your guest have to make the space feel finished!

  1. I’d love ideas for pillow covers! I didn’t start with a color palette in mind and might be asking a lot for them to tie the various colors together! The vintage rug doesn’t photograph well but is raspberry and navy in real life.
  2. I would love to do color on the walls, though I have grown to not-hate the current yellow-beige. Maybe it’s ok as it is? I’ve considered soft blue, pale pink, or something more saturated. I’m facing the open-concept dilemma of where to transition colors (the entry hall is going to be a medium blue pulled from the runner). This main/back part of the house faces SW and gets direct light in the late afternoon but overall is on the darker side. What would y’all do?
  3. Styling is not my strong suit. Any suggestions for the fireplace area and sofa table? We keep the coffee table mostly clear for puzzles, towers, etc. The mantel color is an experiment – completely open to other ideas!

I was shocked when there wasn’t a dilemma on a recent episode so decided to write in. I feel like I’m getting a mini interior decorating education through the podcast! Thank you so much!! Come on over for fresh eggs or cocktails next time you’re flying through Denver!




First, you have an incredible start, and your photos already look like an “after” with all the great textures. Now let’s get into it. You absolutely can find some throw pillows that unite all the colors together, and something in the family of colors should be fine, maybe even some stripes to contrast from the patterns already in the space. The pillows on the brown leather chairs are a little overpowering in size for that really unique shape, so you may want to downsize in a roll pillow that is navy. to quiet down the busy chairs.

Take a page from Robin’s book to find something with a contrasting texture to your sofa, and maybe try to find a real nubby linen or something kind of woven. The great thing about pillow covers is that it’s easy to replace them and try something new. So order some to bring them home, you can send them back if they don’t work.

It would be great to decorate the mantel for the holidays, with branches, bows, candles, and other winter tidings that you can transition out after the Christmas season.

We would have items that are ready to pick up and move as you need the table but keep the table decorated, and we would have a low floral arrangement or plant with a wide bowl on the table.

You are a great stylist, and thank you for taking the time to write in!

Mentioned in This Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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Kelley Bostian

Kelley enjoys a light and livable home and is always searching for that perfect "finishing touch" antique piece. Here on How to Decorate, it's his goal to help you bring your own unique design vision to life.