Ideas for Decorating a Retail Store

by Autumn Glenister ; Updated September 26, 2017
A well-decorated store will attract more customers.

Retail store decoration is a significant factor in bringing customers through your shop's front door. The decorations you choose will depend highly on the tastes of your customer base and the type of items you sell. That being said, there are some basic rules that shop owners should follow when decorating their own place of business.


Without quality design on the outside of a retail store, you could have the perfect interior decor, but customers will not be lured inside to see it. The shop front is where a shopper will get her first impression of a store so good curb appeal will help the success of your business. In "The Big Book of Marketing," Anthony Bennett claims that signage is imbued with great importance by many store owners. Smaller shops do not necessarily need to get their signs made by professionals, but the expert noted that many do spend the extra money having professional signs created, in order to improve their presentation. A logo and the name of the shop are usually included in the sign. To grab the interest of passers by, store owners should consider using bright colors or neon lights on their signs. It also is important to ensure that the decoration used suits the products being sold. For instance, if you are selling clothes aimed at women over the age of 50, a bright display may not be right for your store, while a sophisticated look makes more sense. Meanwhile, the opposite approach is likely to be advantageous to shops with a teenage customer base.

Window Displays

Another external feature that business owners need to consider when decorating a retail store is window design. This factor has "a particularly important role to play in communicating to the potential customer what the retailer stands for in terms of product and shopping environment," Rosemary Varley writes in her book, "Retail Product Management: Buying and Merchandising." The expert noted that window displays can either be open, so customers can see the store through the panes, or they can be backed by a board. They also are usually both functional -- showing what is available in the store -- and stylish. Business owners will have more success if they try to make their displays exciting. Ms. Varley highlighted the success of famous shop windows, like those of Harvey Nichols or the automated movement of legs and arms in Top Shop's London store. Taking influence from these stores and injecting a bit of fun into window displays may be the way to go. For instance, a toy store may consider setting up toys to create the illusion that they are a "toy community." At Christmas, place toys around a tree, giving each other presents. In the summer, place the toys in a beach scene. Creativity captures the imagination of passing children and encourages them to step inside.

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Include mannequins in your clothe's store design. Ms. Varley explains that customers relate to the simulated body forms; therefore, mannequins make a strong marketing tool. She adds that mannequins that share features with pop icons, such as those who look a little like famous television, music and Hollywood stars, are particularly successful. Apart from the identification customers have with body forms, mannequins also are useful for exhibiting how clothes look when they are worn, as this could be very different from the way they appear on the rack. Retailers may, therefore, think of using mannequins for pieces of clothing for which they think clothes hangers do no justice.


Mr. Bennett noted that the logo and design used on a sign is often extended to become the face of the brand that is used on all of a shop's items, including bags, tags and receipts. A shop owner, decorating a retail store, can consider going one step further and incorporating the logo into the design chosen for the shop's walls. Decide which colors are going to dominate the walls, bearing in mind the customer base for the shop. Bright colors may be eye-catching and attract a younger generation, but stores that want to promote a calm peacefulness, like florists or bookshops, may want to go for neutral hues or soft pastels. Choose a color that stands out against that dominant shade, and have it stenciled or painted onto the wall or use a vinyl sticker.

About the Author

Based in the U.K., Autumn Glenister began writing professionally in 2009, on behalf of a charity. She also writes newsfeeds for companies like Wickes and Total Jobs. She holds a first-class Bachelor of Arts in English and film from Manchester Metropolitan University.

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