One of the unexpected issues you’ll need to address when starting a podcast is what your podcast setup ideas are. Will you be inviting guests to your studio to be interviewed? Will you be talking over Zoom or streaming through a product like Riverside? How much space do you need?
It’s ok if you don’t know the answers to these questions yet. We’re here to help you brainstorm and determine what kind of setup is right for you. Whether you long to be the next H3 Podcast or build something intimate for a niche audience, we’ve got you covered.
The One Universal Truth Of Every Podcast Setup: You Need Mic Stands
Get a mic stand that attaches to your desk, or that can be placed near your chairs. There are so many moving parts to a podcast, but the universal truth of every setup is that you need a mic stand. A mic stand will help reduce room noise and keep the mic in place while you film without blocking your guests or yourself. Just accept this is something you need to factor into your setup.
Five Podcast Setup Ideas To Get You Started
1) Podcast Setup Ideas: When You’re Solo, Match Your Space To Your Vibe
It’s not cheating to reference great work your own company does. Passionfruit’s incredible ReactorVerse Podcast is an excellent example of how to approach podcasting when your guests aren’t in the room. Take a look at the image above. What do you notice? Host Eric Rodriguez, aka NerdChronic, may not be in the same room as his guest Akasan, but his background provides plenty of character information.
From the carefully framed posters from his favorite games to the Chucky backpack and Pokemon toys, NerdChronic’s setup instantly tells viewers about possible shared interests. That said, it’s not cluttered either; the decorations don’t distract from the conversation.
Akasan has taken a different but equally valid approach worth considering. Rather than build a shrine to their interests, Akasan’s setup has background fillers. There’s a panel room divider alongside hung-up green, red, and black backgrounds. And, yes, a few toys and statues for flavor.
What’s important to notice in both of these setups is they’re well-lit and not cramped. There’s a distance between the background and the subject in each case. This distance allows the off-camera lighting to create a sense of space in the room.
When building your solo home podcasting setup, consider your background and what you cover. A true-crime podcast shouldn’t have a row of Superman toys in the background while covering a brutal murder. Accordingly, you might want to take down your Frazetta nudes if you’re recording something religious.
2) Podcast Setup Ideas: Make It Cozy
Here’s the beautiful thing about microphone stands: if you properly mount them, you can record anywhere. One of the best examples of cozy podcasting is the mega-popular show Canceled with Tana Mongeau. In each episode, Mongeau and her guests curl up on a big sofa to get deep into subjects like embarrassing drunk nights and lost teeth.
This cozy setup suggests a conversational podcast that encourages its guests to get comfortable and let their guard down. By creating a comfortable environment, Mongeau and cohost Brooke Schofield break away from the formalities of standard interviews. They’re literally encouraging their guests to kick their feet up and relax.
If your podcast aims to replicate the feeling of a great hang, make your podcast studio look like a living room.
3) The Simplest Podcast Setup Idea: Green Screen And A Table
Why waste time decorating a studio for your podcast when you can set up any location you want? Green screens allow you to change your background and studio location whenever the mood strikes. They also work great for solo podcasters, allowing them to change their background to match the topic of each episode.
Green screens provide the freedom to pop up infographics and logos or enhance comedy bits quickly. Most importantly, if you plan on letting other people use your podcasting setup, it makes it easy for each show to create its vibe.
However, the lighting is the most important thing with a green screen set up. Green screen effects require solid lighting to work correctly. Just make sure you’ve got enough lights to illuminate your subject and background. We also recommend reading our tutorial on three-point lighting before you start recording.
4) Minimalist Magic
One of the easiest ways to decorate your studio is by going minimalist. The queen of this is Sadie Robertson Huff’s Whoa That’s Good podcast. It is recorded in a white room, at a white table, in front of a white wall, with only a white logo sign and flowers for decoration. Whoa That’s Good’s setup screams Pintrest moodboard.
The main advantage of this setup is keeping your space distraction-free. You’ll never have to worry about switching out your posters or viewers clocking a problematic favorite in the background. Monochrome colors never really go out of style, but you don’t need to match everything to pull this off.
Just find a place in your apartment with a blank wall to set up a table, microphone, and good lighting.
5) The Man Cave
Finally, we have the Man Cave, aka the “Any Pronoun Cave.” This setup aims to be the ideal hangout for your audience. In the case of the Flagrant podcast, shown above, the aim is to recreate an aspirational Playboy lounge. There’s a well-stocked liquor cabinet in the background, mid-century modern chairs, a table for refreshments, and a giant house plant in the background.
This setup is popular with everything from advice podcasts to lets plays and pop culture podcasts. The most legendary example might be the Angry Video Game Nerd’s basement, but this is a larger extension of our first example. The difference is you’re not making your space a reflection of who you are and where you hang out. Rather, you’re making a studio space a reflection of where your audience wants to hang out.
You don’t need to blow up your budget to achieve this look. In many ways, this is another form of minimalism. A few accent pieces in the background can do as much heavy lifting as 100 objects. For example, every nerd show doesn’t need a full wall of Funko Pops. Often, your favorite posters and a good table will do.
Ultimately, when thinking about podcast studio ideas, the most important thing to consider is what you like. Your podcast is a reflection of you. Don’t chase after exactly what you’ve seen other people do. Find a way to make your personality shine through, and your audience will see themselves in what you build. You’re the product as much as the podcast. Trust your instincts and have fun.