As an extension of your brand, your salon’s decor should be more than an afterthought. Decor can set the tone of your business, whether it’s edgy and modern, or traditional and family-friendly. Your decor choices let your clients know what to expect, and can keep them coming back to an experience that makes them feel good. Just as you are in the business of making your clients look their best, you should make sure that your salon looks its best to your client base.

Do Start With Layout

The arrangement of your space should be open and welcoming, while also providing for smooth transitions from the reception desk and waiting area to the various work stations. Allow a comfortable amount of space between stations and station groups. Each station should have adequate storage space and proper lighting. The changing areas and restrooms should be clearly labeled and easy to access.

Do Promote Your Brand

You’ve thought long and hard about your brand, and as to how it meshes with your client base and regional location, so be sure to reflect this in your decorating choices. An upscale, designer salon in New York City will have a different “look” than a family-friendly salon in the Midwest. If you serve primarily professional women, choose a contemporary style and welcome your clients with a coffee or beverage station for a relaxing break in their busy day. And, if you’re located in an area that has a strong regional identity such as New Orleans, the Southwest or Hollywood, consider including local motifs or color schemes among your choices.

Do Create a Coherent Decorating Vision

Color, theme and style choices will guide your selection of decorating details, so make sure these components work together for a unified look. If your brand positions as upscale and urban, choose modern, minimalist decor -- white walls with black floors or trim, one or two bright accent colors, and sleek furnishings with clean lines. If you want a traditional look that's homelike and comfortable, choose softer colors and lines with compatible furnishings. For example, you might furnish the waiting area with a plump sofa and chairs accented with cheerful pillows.

At this stage, professional designers often a create a mood board to refine their color and style choices. You can do the same online or if you have a sheet of poster board, plus color and fabric swatches, and pictures cut from magazines and catalogs. Select the images and samples that appeal to you and arrange them on the board, adding and subtracting until you’re satisfied with the overall look, and then glue the pieces to the board. This will help you identify which elements “go together” and will guide your selections as you decorate.

Do Accessorize Thoughtfully

Once you’ve painted the walls, installed the flooring and have set up the main furnishings, it’s time to personalize your salon’s look. This is where art and accessories come in. Your choice of wall art, plants, table and shelf displays, as well as comfort furnishings such as magazine racks and footstools should enhance your decorating vision. Select accessories that you love, and distribute them in key locations around your salon. The rule of three is useful here: three similarly-framed posters on one large wall, for example, or three decorative items of different heights on the coffee table.

Don’t Overdo It

When carrying out a theme, don’t go over the top. If one bright accent color works in a modern decor, for example, two become risky and three can end up looking odd instead of like the dream salon you yearn for. And while carefully chosen accessories can “make” your salon’s look, too many accessories can look busy and distracting.

Don’t Let Clutter Take Hold

Nothing looks more unappealing than an messy, cluttered salon. Develop daily routines to keep clutter at bay. Between customers, clear away your working products and supplies. Straighten and dust your retail displays, and tidy the items on the coffee table. Be sure to toss out old magazines -- anything more than a few months old belongs in the recycling bin.

Don’t Skimp on the Essentials

When acquiring investment items like flooring, work station furnishings, lighting and mirrors, always buy the best quality you can afford. These essential pieces should stand up to the heavy use of a busy salon. Higher-end fixtures also typically exhibit timeless styling, so they’ll last for years and still look good. Later, when you want to refresh your salon’s look, you can redecorate inexpensively with new paint and a change of accessories.