Salon Design

Cracking the Color Code

Clients come in to your salon for more than a great manicure or pedicure. They are sold on a feel, a look, or a culture. Add color to the list of tools you have to influence client behavior, accentuate services, and shape the client’s total experience.

Regional Faves

It’s important to realize that some colors will be perennial favorites and people in certain regions will gravitate toward them, which is why one color palette may work in Key West but would seem out of place in Manhattan. The symbolism and emotion that are evoked by a color in the United States may be drastically different in another country.

Lotus Day Spa in Kitty Hawk, N.C., brought in natural tones and muted greens and oranges reminiscent of the nearby coast to create a comforting environment. The pedicure room even has a seashore mural in the colors of a blissful ocean. The natural tones of the floor help unite the areas and encourage patrons to move between them. Warm corals are brought in as accents. In small doses, they are soothing and not overpowering.

The Spa at Laguna Cliffs ties in the bright orange of Orange County in small but effective ways. “While the spa is adorned with pale, buttery yellows and warm beiges, we have brought in orange as our signature accent color,” Lohmann says. “We believe in the cleansing properties of orange. Used as accents it is quite effective to get the products noticed. The staff wear orange polo shirts, there are orange pillows, and treatment products in orange packaging are placed in each guest’s room at the adjoining hotel.”

Don’t be afraid to play up local favorite colors — especially if your manicurists and pedicurists enjoy seasonal traffic from tourism. The tourist traffic is looking to get a different feel from that of their hometown salons. Color can help out-of-town clients get into the local swing of things as they relax on vacation.

The pink, cream, and chocolate brown at Nitespa in Venice, Calif., make for a visual treat.
<p>The pink, cream, and chocolate brown at Nitespa in Venice, Calif., make for a visual treat.</p>

Test Drive Color

“Try out colors in the salon before using a great deal of a vivid color,” says Tatum. “Some colors are fine in some spaces but overwhelm in others. A little color can go a long way.” Design experts advise painting a two-foot square on the wall and observing it in the different light it receives around the clock. What looks good in the morning may change as the sun passes overhead.

Color is an inexpensive medium to play in, so you can experiment a little to find your best look. “Efficient color design does not need to add any cost to interior renovations or construction — it is a simple matter of planning ahead,” states Poore. Consider the impact color can have on your space. You aren’t just decorating; you are conveying a message to the client — a subtle, subconscious message alerting them how they should feel inside your space.

sidebar: Additional Reading

Interior Color by Design, by Jonathan Poore Rockport Publishers ISBN 978-1-59253-296-4
Paint Effects, by Hilary Mandleberg Thunder Bay Press ISBN 978-1-59223
Better Homes and Gardens, Color with Confidence, Your Room, Your Way. Meredith Books ISBN 0-696-22691-X


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