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You found a storefront in the perfect location for the right price. Congratulations! The problem is, space is so tight that your customers can’t browse without bumping into furniture or one another — and you’d need to invest some serious coin to expand your footprint.

Fortunately, you can more easily create the illusion of space. Here are four tips for making your small shop feel bigger.

  • Decorate for your target audience.  Are you appealing to a high-end clientele? Don’t clutter your display room with inventory. Set out only the samples you need to drive sales for each day or demonstrate products, and keep the rest in your stockroom or a nearby storage unit. You want to create an elegant, streamlined impression for customers. Focal points are key to encouraging customers to browse a store properly, particularly if it is small. These focal points should be able to be seen the moment a customer enters and should consist of key brands that can be used as anchors. Your anchors should encourage your customers to browse each point, instead of taking a direct path to one place that they find attractive. Read more about store layout in Planning Your Store Layout in 7 Steps
  • Cover the walls wisely.  Interior decorators often recommend painting small rooms in light and neutral colors. suggests combining cream and icy blue shades to maximize the sense of space. Mirrors are a great way to give illusion that a room is larger than it really is, especially when angled toward a window to reflect the outdoors. By reflecting light around your shop, you can make it feel lighter and airier.
  • Keep the furnishings sparse. Bookcases and displays that stretch all the way to the roof will make a tight space feel even tighter. Furnish sparingly, and make sure that the size of your furniture suits the room. That may mean chairs instead of sofas, and waist-high displays instead of full-length towering shelves.
  • Focus on your ambiance. Make what limited space you have as cozy and comfortable as possible. Create splashes of color with floral arrangements and other decorative touches to brighten up your space, and invest in some high-quality art for the walls. Consulting with an interior decorator is always an option as well.

The Bottom Line

Designing your retail interior is a never-ending process where you can always be switching up, tweaking, adding, or taking away to creating a resonating customer journey and experience. However, at the end of the day, that’s exactly what you want to focus on–the customer journey.

Have a walk-through yourself and see where the visual cues guide you or get your staff, friends, or family to do the same and give you honest feedback. Don’t forget to observe your customers and see what they’re drawn to, what they avoid and how they move. Then match that with your intended design. If you keep resilient and keep your eyes and ears open, you’ll be sure to create a retail design that’s a win-win for both you and your customers.

Post Author: Lorrie Toillion, CFP®

Accounting Specialist, Tax Assistant, and Client On-Boarding Associate.