Salon Design

11 Ways to Spruce Up Your Salon

Attention-getting design and visual merchandising — the art of placing retail products in a way that increases sales — can give you a major advantage over your competition. Even if you don’t have a hefty visual merchandising budget, remember that creativity, initiative, and a sense of humor don’t carry a price tag. A visual strategist at Chute Gerdeman Retail shares 11 Dos (and a few Don’ts) to help you prepare for a successful holiday season.

1. Look for interesting pieces that can act as display fixtures while adding personality to your space.


2. Re-arrange product displays every few months (or more often) to freshen up the salon — especially at the storefront.


3. Cross-merchandise items that make sense together and go together. This helps convince your clients that they need all of the products (even though they may not). Polish + hand treatment + manicure implements = more sales.


4. Bring residential fixtures or furniture, like baker’s racks and armoires, into the salon to help your clients feel at home.


5. Accommodate the client’s companion. Give him a place to hang out. This could be as simple as a comfortable seating area for the client’s spouse, child, parent, or friend. Make it look homey and residential. Serve mulled cider or other seasonal beverages.


6. Add something extra. How about a “pamper your hands” day? Every client gets an extra hand treatment with her manicure. Partner with a local jewelry store and give a free or discounted manicure to every man who buys a diamond engagement ring.


7. Give ’em space. Make the circulation route easy to follow and as expansive as the space will allow.


8. Vintage is in and retailers are coming up with clever and inexpensive ways to display merchandise. An old steamer trunk or vintage dressing table could be fun and add visual interest. Even using an old wash-basin to display polishes is unexpected. Or use dessert plates and trays to display yummy new colors.


9. Try spotlighting to emphasize new or promotional merchandise. Focus the spotlights on the product and crisscross the beams of light so the lighting hits the merchandise evenly. Make sure the lights are not aimed to shine in customers’ eyes.


10. Appeal to all of the senses. Enhance the mood with serene music and scents. Add TVs and show beauty-related programming.


11. Why not add a large blackboard to the wall and populate it with timely tips or news (“Join Our Birthday Club,” or “Ask about our nail art” or “Get your toes ready for holiday sandals!”)? Of course, what better area to display appropriate products tied to your announcements!



> Don’t assume your customer has any idea what services and products you offer. Blend the salon experience with an educational component that both broadens product knowledge and fosters brand loyalty.

> Don’t assume products will sell without enhancing the display with appropriate props that make sense.

> On the other hand, don’t overpower the merchandise with visuals and graphics. The merchandise should always be the hero and visuals and graphics should enhance.

> Don’t take it all too seriously. Have fun, and let it show in your displays.


Bess Anderson is director, visual strategy at Columbus, Ohio-based retail branding and design firm Chute Gerdeman Retail. The firm’s client list includes Benelava, C&A Brazil, Christopher & Banks, Hamleys, Innerself, Kiva Spa, Kohl’s, Levi Strauss, Mattel (Barbie Shanghai), M&M’s/Mars, RadioShack, Sheetz, Shopko, Sun Tan City, and Target. The company has earned more than 150 awards including four “Store of the Year” awards. For more information, visit

Note: Photos shown here are not necessarily Chute Gerdeman Retail design projects.

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A volatile, fragrant, flammable liquid used chiefly as a solvent, often found in polish remover; can be used to soak off acrylic nails.
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