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5 Instagram Flat Lay Background Ideas

I’m always on the hunt for great backgrounds for my Instagram flat lay photos. I’ve taken photos on nearly every surface in my home. There are definitely some things that work better than others. Here are 5 cheap and easy background ideas for your Instagram flay lay photos.

A photo posted by Christine (@thechaoticcreative) on

1) A painted surface

Any painted surface in your home, or literally anywhere, is a great background for photos. We painted our dining table dark gray last year and it has been one of my go-to spots. The color is such a great neutral so any subject I want to photograph looks good on it, and it has a really cool texture. It also helps when it’s next to a window or another light source. Another idea would be to paint a canvas or a piece of wood to whatever color (or multiple colors) you think would work best with your brand.

2) Foam Board

This is the cheapest and most versatile option if you want a bunch of different colors for your backgrounds. It’s my favorite because I am not hip enough to have any white or marble surfaces in my house (it’s all dark like my soul so…) and it’s also great because you can chase that natural light. I move mine from my front door to my back door depending on the time of day and the type of light. Sometimes I’ll even take it outside. The white ones also work great for light reflectors for all of your photos when those shadows are just a little too intense.

3) The Floor

I’m saving up my money to get one of those fancy backgrounds that are made from gorgeous wood. But until then, I will use one of my favorite tricks – the floor! If you’re lucky enough to have hardwood (or wood looking, or fun tile, or carpet) floors you have a free built in background. And with a lot more space to work with. Plus it makes it SO much easier to get the angle for that perfect flat lay. Rugs also make for fun and funky backdrops for your favorite flat lay subjects.

A photo posted by Christine (@thechaoticcreative) on


4) Contact Paper

So like I mentioned I am so not hip and I don’t have anything marble in my house but I love the look of marble backgrounds. So, I ordered marble contact paper and put it on the back of my white foam board. I’m not going to lie, this takes a little bit of finesse (which I also do not have) to apply to any surface. You have to be really careful to avoid bubbles and ridges. But with contact paper you have a lot more access to textures and patterns you might not otherwise have. Plus it’s very cheap so you can buy a whole bunch of different ones and keep things interesting.

5) Your bed

A really popular and easy background option is your bed (or any bed – whatever you’re into). What could be better than working from bed? (Literally nothing. I would live in bed if I could.) Many of your favorite bloggers and Instagram stars spread out their hauls, make up bags or packing supplies on their favorite comfy blanket or cushy bed. It definitely is a certain type of image but if you’re like me and have a billion blankets you have many options for your perfect Instagram flat lay.

Instagram flat lay backgrounds don’t have to be fancy or expensive. Some of the greatest back drops can be found in your house or for very cheap at a craft store. The possibilities for your gorgeous photos are endless.

What is your favorite spot to take an Instagram flat lay?

|| the chaotic creative

  • I love using scrapbook paper from Michael’s or Hobby lobby for backgrounds. I even use them in my blog posts. I love the marble contact paper, and really need to invest in some!

    • That’s such a great idea! Thank you!

  • I’ve been working on improving my flat lay posts, so this is super helpful!

  • Erin

    I suck at flatlays… No matter how good they seem to be to me in the moment, they dont get likes or traffic and I look back at them later and cringe. I will be implementing some of these ideas!