One of the most exciting challenges when opening your own retail space is deciding how to design and decorate it. There’s so much to think about, from the color of the walls to the layout of the products you’re displaying. You probably have a budget you need to stick to, but you also want the design of your space to be engaging and draw customers in. Luckily, there are plenty of small design choices that can make a big difference in your retail space, as well as effective strategies to optimize your layout and bring in revenue.

Color Choices Matter

color choices for retail space

There’s a lot of psychology behind color and the effect it has on our brains, and smart retailers use color to make their retail spaces more engaging. One notable example is Target, which is known for using plenty of red. Red is credited with increasing people’s desire to buy things. Blue, on the other hand, has a calming effect on the mind, and yellow is an uplifting color that can improve mood. However, painting your entire space an intense color like red can be overwhelming. Consider doing an accent wall in a bold color. Make sure the color matches the overall vibe you’re going for in the space. For example, if your furniture and displays are in all pastels, a bright red wall may not be the way to go.

Avoid Clutter

Avoiding clutter in a retail space can be challenging, especially if you’re working with a small space, but there are plenty of ways to do it. Get creative with shelving options- try to do your shelving vertically. Build up, rather than out. This will not only conserve space, but it’s also a more visually appealing way to display merchandise. Vertical shelving draws the customer’s eye from the floor to the ceiling, giving the illusion of a larger space. Make sure you leave plenty of space for customers to maneuver around your displays, but also make sure you’re taking full advantage of the space you have. It’s all about balance!

Choose a Setup

You’ll need to decide how you want to set up your space. On the one hand, an open concept can make a store feel friendly, warm, and welcoming, as well as making your space seem larger. On the other hand, strategically setting up shelving and racks can guide a customer through the store and potentially influence their purchases. Look into the strategic placement of products, such as the age-old technique of placing more expensive products at eye level in order to attract customers’ attention.

Let People Get in the Door First

It may be helpful to leave some space around the front of your retail space (sometimes called the “decompression zone”). People tend to miss any products placed here. As they enter the store, they’ll be busy trying to take in the vibe of the new space they’ve just walked into. They’ll be looking at your decorations, trying to figure out which products they want to look at first, and they’ll likely be doing this as they walk forward into your business. This cognitive effort leaves less room for them to focus on products or advertisements in the front of the store, meaning they’re more likely to just walk right past them. Leave a little room at the front of the store for people to breathe, and place products a bit further back from the door.

Create an Instagram-Worthy Photo Spot


Utilize the power of social media in your space. Some apparel stores have mirrors with a stack of Post-It notes and pens, encouraging customers to write nice messages such as “You look great!” and stick them on the mirror for other customers to see. Other retailers have walls with sassy or fun sayings on them. For example, a coffee shop might have a brightly colored accent wall with “But first, coffee” painted on it. Little spots like these are great for exposure. People frequently take pictures of them and share them on social media, and many will tag the location of the store as well, drawing even more traffic to your business.

Consistent Design

One of the most important elements of design in a retail space is consistency. You don’t have to have furniture that’s all the exact same color, but try to make sure you have a consistent vibe throughout the space. If your entire space is painted and furnished in soft, pastel colors, then painting your new shelving unit in a camouflage pattern will be confusing and disorienting to your customers. The same principle applies to multiple locations for your business. If your flagship store is decorated in pastels, it makes sense to decorate any additional stores you decide to open in the same way.

Ready to Open Your Own Retail Store?

Wondering how to find the right space for your business? Schwarz Properties can help you navigate the real estate market and find the perfect space to make your business a success! Call us at (336) 625-6076 or visit us on our website.