Do you ever walk into some shops and feel a strong compulsion to walk right back out again? Some stores seem purposefully designed to be an assault on the senses.
Walk into an uber-hip high street fashion retailer’s store and you’ll be assailed by thumping bass, harsh lighting and discordant design elements can be a little too much for some shoppers. Of course, these kinds of retail environments are specifically designed to appeal to and influence the behaviours of specific demographics, but if you want to create a shopping environment that’s a little more relaxing, we won’t blame you.
After all, if high street retail is to remain healthy, it needs to be all about creating the right experience to supplement and enhance shoppers’ experience with the products themselves. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some decor tips for creating a calm and relaxing retail environment…
Use natural materials wherever possible
We are psychologically predisposed to feel calmer and more relaxed when we are surrounded by nature. The sight of natural materials makes us feel more at peace and as though we are in our natural habitat than in sprawling urban cityscapes. While not every retail outlet will be well served by distributing pot plants in key areas, there are plenty of opportunities to use natural materials like wood, iron and stone in your decor. Take a look at these wood badges, for example, which lend themselves to all kinds of store design concepts. Synthetic materials have come along leaps and bounds in recent decades but they still feel “wrong” to us visually, which is why natural materials (while a little costlier) are the gold standard when you’re trying to create a calming and relaxing environment for your customers.
Keep your colours neutral
The colours you use in your decor carry a tremendous amount of psychological weight and so it’s no wonder so many retailers agonise over their colour schemes. While pale blues and greens are typically associated with calming interiors, these can often clash with the products you keep on display. When it comes to your walls and floors, neutrality may be the best option, using unassuming whites and exposed brickwork to create a look that is both timeless and soothing while letting your products shine.
Use warm lighting
If this were your home, we’d tell you to use soft lighting to create a calm and relaxing mood. However, in a retail environment that’s not usually feasible. You need plenty of light to let your products shine and ensure that they’re visible to browsing customers. When it comes to creating a relaxing environment, natural light is the god standard, but if your outlet doesn’t have access to natural light (e.g. if it’s inside a mall or shopping complex) try using powerful but warm lighting with golden hues rather than the harsh bluish white in some retail stores.
Don’t forget about non visual elements
Finally, remember that store design is about all the senses, not just sight. Make sure that customers can hear something soothing like ambient music or smell something like essential oils to help them feel calm and relaxed. Avoid spray or plug in room deodorizers as these use a lot of harsh chemicals. Instead, try using essential oil atomisers which will help infuse your store with calming scents.