Podcast Set Design Ideas: 5 Tips to Get You Started

Mar 25

Get the Right Feel with These Podcast Set Design Ideas

If you’re looking to start a podcast, you’ll need to consider more than just what to talk about. While the audio quality and content of your podcast will reign supreme, establishing the right tone and feel also includes a visual element. Podcast set design requires careful thought as you evaluate ideas, assess your studio space, and create a consistent setup that will ultimately help build the personality of your podcast.

At Authentic Exposure Studio, our space is designed to give creators the comfort, options, and design freedom they need to truly feel at home. We’ve had numerous clients come in to film podcasts—and you should be filming your podcast, by the way—with each able to tailor their set to their needs. In that time, we’ve identified a few consistent tips to help establish the right look and feel for your podcast setup. Here are our top podcast set design tips to help spark ideas and get you comfortable with recording.

two women recording a podcast across a table

1. Consider Speaker Placement

Speaker placement is a good place to start when you plan out your podcast set design—and no, we aren’t talking about audio equipment. In this case, “speaker” refers to your host (or hosts) and guests. How many people will regularly be on your podcast? And how should they be oriented? 

For example, if your podcast is consistently one-on-one, you may go with a classic two armchair setup. If you typically have two hosts and one guest, you may choose to share a couch with your co-host while the guest gets their own seat—or perhaps you’d prefer to seat them with your co-host. A more group-oriented podcast may have multiple seats all arranged to face each other and facilitate cross conversations.

Give some thought to whether and how other furniture might factor in. Some podcasts film with two people talking across a table. This can lend a more businesslike or strategic feel, which may be right—or not!—for your podcast.

Of course, as is true for all of these podcast set design ideas, you don’t need to stick to a single orientation for every edition. However, settling on a typical format gives you one less thing to think about as you record each episode.

2. Color Coordination

The color palette of your podcast will do a lot to define the tone and mood across each episode. While much of this will stay in the background of your podcast, it’s important to keep in mind across all elements of set design.

Consider the vibe you’re aiming for with your podcast. Are you looking for fun, quirky, and vibrant? Bright colors are probably a must. Do you want something homey and relaxed? Lighter neutrals may be the best option. Are you hoping to communicate luxury and prestige, or even aiming for a moody feel? Dark colors such as black or wood tones may work well.

It’s also important to envision your audience as you select colors. Consider the demographic makeup of your typical (or target) listeners, and make intentional decisions based on these intuitions. Whether you want to match typical color palettes or completely break from the norm, this is all useful information to incorporate into your podcast set design.

3. Adjust Your Lighting

At many professional podcast studios, including here at The AE Studio, you’ll have several professional lighting options and fixtures to use in your podcast set design. And while lighting is closely related to color, it’s a crucial element of set design that’s worth evaluating separately for your podcast.

Do you prefer neutral, even lighting options to keep the focus squarely on the content? Or would you rather set a specific mood through limited and strategically placed lighting? There are often many colored light options available as well, which can help you take your color palette a step further.

4. Play With Props

Now that the main elements of the podcast studio setup are settled, it’s time to get detailed with your set design. Props are accessories that can subtly shift the mood of your podcast, establish running themes or in-jokes, and generally lend your podcast some real personality.

That said, while some podcasters express their personality through objects, others will prefer a more minimalist look to keep the attention on the host and guest. Both of these options are valid, but it’s a good idea to establish from the start which one you’re going for.

Props may also come from guests as much as from hosts. A common example is reserving a place to display a book or other example of a guest’s recent work that you may be talking through on the current episode. 

Other props and accessories could include plants and greenery, beverages from craft beer to coffee, a personalized mug, or pretty much anything else you can think of.

5. Dress to Impress—or Make an Impression

While this post is focusing on ideas to expertly design your podcast setup, studio elements of set design aren’t the only thing contributing to the visual feel of your podcast. While guests come and go, you—and any of your co-hosts—should be constant fixtures across each episode. That means you’ll be a consistent feature of the podcast set, and it’s important to consider your own appearance as part of that visual personality.

Your own look is a great way to match, complement, or contrast with the overall set design of your podcast. If you’ve established a minimalist, neutral vibe with your furniture and background, maybe you’ll be that pop of color to add some fun and life. Or maybe you’ve chosen a moodier feel for your podcast set and your choice of classy, luxurious outfits will tie that look together.

Of course, if your podcast has a more casual, less exacting feel, you, your co-hosts, and your guests may all bring in distinct personal styles—and that’s perfectly okay. All that matters is that you at least account for the interplay among your set design choices, the studio, and the people who are ultimately the life of your podcast.

Bonus: Don’t Be Afraid to Shake Things Up

Whether you’re filming a one-off special episode, or some aspect of your established set design just isn’t working anymore, don’t be afraid to make some changes until you get things right. While consistency is helpful, if you, your guests, or all of the above are uncomfortable and not vibing with the design you’ve chosen, that will detract from your content more than a shift in set design ever could.

And of course, special episodes can generate intrigue by breaking from your typical format. Maybe you’ve taken things on-site with an interesting guest, maybe you’re in a scenic new area for a short period of time, or maybe the nice weather had you asking “Can we have our podcast outside today?” Change can be good!

The AE Studio: Let’s Design Your Perfect Podcast Set

At The AE Studio, our goal is to provide a space where creators truly feel the freedom to bring their podcast to life. That requires both the comfort to express yourself freely and the flexibility to make our space truly your own.

Our podcast studio space in downtown Austin is fully equipped with all the furniture, lighting elements, and professional audio equipment to make sure your podcast looks, sounds, and feels exactly how you want it to. We give guests the freedom to bring in their own props and visual elements as they like and to genuinely make themselves feel at home. And if you’re strapped for podcast set design ideas, our professional team at The AE Studio is happy to help you get the vibes just right.

Ready to start recording? Book a time slot today! Or if you’d like to see our space for yourself, we’re happy to provide a studio tour.