You’ve all seen the decorating programmes on the television. The upheaval, the tension, the time restraints and finally the grand unveiling where it becomes apparent that all of the above was well worth the stress endured for the fabulous outcome.
Of course, it does help that there has been a whole crew of people working day and night to make this happen – and they never seem to come across too many setbacks!
But what if you don’t have this resource? A team of people ready to get to work and a smiling presenter to walk you through the process. This is where I come in…
My goal is to create a resource with some of the best information available to help you when it comes to decorating a new/revamping your current salon.
The tip of the iceberg…
I know it is a scary proposition when you don’t even know where to begin. You have no design experience and have no idea where to get the correct equipment from. You are unsure of budget and don’t know where to find the right/reputable tradesman to carry out the job.
And all this feels like the tip of the iceberg.
It’s no wonder so many salon owners get a headache just thinking about what they need to get done.
I hope by reading this post, you will have a more rounded idea of cost, timescale and be inspired to put your plan into action.
First off, set your budget
Budget is probably the most important place to start. You need to have a clear understanding of how much money you have to spend on the design of your salon and where to control your costs.
Knowing your budget gives you a better understanding of where you should be looking for equipment and hired help (tradesmen). It also helps you figure out if there are things you can do yourself to cut costs if required.
Most salons can’t function without the basics: basins, chairs, mirrors etc. So it is likely you have taken this into account when working out a budget for this project. Don’t forget to set some money aside for any unforeseen costs. Hopefully, you won’t need to dip into this – but it is good practice to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
The most sound advice I can give you… is to buy the best you can afford. This should go without saying, but trying to cut corners with key pieces (eg flooring, chairs etc) can end up more costly in the long run. Don’t scrimp on these areas. Think of the usage of these pieces, the flooring – particularly around the basins are likely to get wet so need to be waterproof and hardy. The chairs are, again, used multiple times a day and need to be comfortable for the clients and practical for you – easy to wipe down and have the ability to lift/lower etc.
An area often forgotten but is one of the first places clients see upon entering your salon – is the entrance/reception. Ordinarily, salons have hard floors which can get slippery when wet so having a doormat is wise. This ideally needs to be secured to the floor so people don’t trip as they enter the premises. Again, they need to be robust but in fitting with your salon’s decor. Ensure this area is regularly vacuumed and swept – as, again, it is the first thing clients see upon entering your salon.
Think about practicality as well as appearance. Coconut doormats may not be the best option. They have a reputation of shedding, so with the number of people walking across it, you will be constantly sweeping to keep it looking tidy.
Salon Saviour tip: You could opt to have your salon’s logo printed on the doormat – this way you are making a high traffic and otherwise plain area, aesthetically pleasing.
Imagine yourself in your client’s shoes
They say you don’t know someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes…so taking this and applying it to our topic at hand. Put yourself in your client’s shoes and ask yourself; what would they like to see when they walk into your salon?
- A welcoming front desk
- A friendly open environment
- A light, bright area with plenty of natural light
- Fully stocked shelves with the latest products
- Comfortable basins to relax in
- Comfortable chairs when getting their treatments done
- Regularly stocked magazines both for hair inspiration and leisure
You also need to address your client base – whether you are new to this or revamping an existing space. What sort of clients do you want to attract? What clients do you already have? And what do they prefer as their ideal salon environment?
Remember, this is as much about them as it is you. They are also going to be spending a lot of time (hopefully) in this space, so make it appeal to them to keep their repeat custom.
Things to consider when setting up
Before starting – consider these things:
- The size/floorplan of your salon – Are you limited for space? What can you do to maximize the area?
- Customer base – Who is your ideal customer? What would their ideal salon look like?
- Disabled access – Do you have access for disabled customers? Check out this link [https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/access-to-everyday-services] for more information on this.
- Location – Are there other salons in the area? Is there much competition? How can you set your salon apart from the others?
- Carbon footprint – Will you work in a more economically friendly way? Use reusable towels, renewable energy sources where possible, organic products etc. Check out these salons for some inspo! Ralph and Rice, Tabitha James Kraan, Cutting Crew. Finally, get some sustainable salon tips from Eco hair and beauty.
- Ease for cleaning – You want to maximize the amount of seating to increase revenue but not have so many you are crammed in and feel claustrophobic. A salon crowded with equipment and furniture is harder to keep clean & looks disorganised. Think less is more.
- Staff room and storage space – You will need to consider a space for staff to go when they are not on the salon floor. This would usually comprise of the kitchen area as well as somewhere to make drinks for clients etc. Don’t forget all of your backup stock for products and colours will need to be stored somewhere too. This could be something as simple as shelving in your staffroom with labels on to house these items. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration for storage etc.
- Noise insulating flooring – Have you considered vinyl flooring? This can help minimise the noise created from hairdryers by absorbing the sound. Its other benefits include being affordable, durable and stain resistant.
Salon Saviour tip: Don’t forget the health and safety side. National Hairdressers Federation have put together a great guide outlining the health and safety requirements for your salon.
Start with the basics…
Keeping with the ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ metaphor… here’s another one: ‘Don’t run before you can walk’.
By this I mean you must start off with the basics before jumping into the paint swatches. I know, I know, that’s the most fun part! But like with any new project, you need to start with the framework – the fundamentals before you go haring off 🙂 (Pun totally intended haha!)
- Wall construction – If you are considering having wall mounted dryers, you must first check out the wall construction. If it is only a partition wall – it may not be sufficient for your requirements. So you might need to rethink your options.
- Where are your water outlets located? – You may have the perfect spot for your basins, but ensure it fits in with where the water outlets are already located. Or you could be spending unnecessarily to move them.
- Water pressure checked – This can usually be done by your local water company. They should be able to take the pressure and flow measurements and determine where the problem lies to rectify it – if necessary. It can also be done yourself – check out this advice page to help determine what the problem is.
Retail and reception area
This is the first and last point of contact a client will have with your salon so make it count! Sometimes something as simple as an umbrella stand can make the all difference when taking care of customers.
- Will you have a computer system for your bookings or a more traditional appointment diary? You will need to consider this when you purchase your desk with regards to space needed.
- Another recommendation when shopping for reception desks is what payment method you are going to use within your salon. You will most likely need a cash register so take this into account when purchasing. Will you use an iPad for bookings and payments?
- Do you have room for a coat rack? Or will you have a separate area entirely for coats/bags?
- Do you sell much retail? You will need to take this into consideration when you decide how much space you dedicate to this potentially profitable area.
- Be mindful of where you display your retail too. Have it in an area that is easily accessible to people so they can browse freely. Is it possible for the retail to be near the waiting area?
- Think about your use of colour or split levels the help separate the different areas if you don’t have other rooms available.
Remember: Sometimes simpler is better. Have just the bare essentials on display – telephone, appointment system etc. Clear and concise.
This area will be where the client’s treatment starts. It needs to be tranquil and feel relaxing. From experience – it is the favourite part of many clients visit to the salon. As mentioned before, the location of your basins depends on where your water outlets are located. But try and be aware of this when planning out this area.
- What type of basins will you choose? Again a lot of this boils down to costs. But if you choose basins where the chairs recline – be aware that you will need to allow enough room for this and for staff to move around safely.
- There will need to be a shelf or some storage for shampoos and towels etc to be used at the basin area.
- If you are able to have it in a different room – consider some gentle music for this part of the client’s treatment. Alternatively, are you able to put a screen or divider across this to segregate the area?
- Check out this site about water regulations and check your basins comply before purchasing.
- Stick to this rule of thumb: a ratio of 1:3. basins to styling chairs are usually sufficient.
Main salon area design tips
If you have the budget for a salon designer to help you, this would be ideal. They should be able to work within your salon and maximise the space available to really optimize it for staff and clients. However, it is possible to come up with your own design and have it fitted without the extra cost. If you are considering going it alone, think about these points…
- Think about where your windows are located. This is important for two reasons: natural light is always the best lighting to work with for stylists to get the best reflection/likeness on colour results. And if you are considering positioning seating near windows – it might be an idea to have some privacy film fitted. So your clients don’t feel like they are in a fishbowl when getting their hair done!
- Mirrors are a staple for most salons. Use them to your advantage. Mirrors help give the illusion of space – so if you are working with a relatively small floor plan, think about the positioning of mirrors to enhance this.
- Consider the practicality of the salon space too. You will need shelves or storage for brushes and products used on the shop floor. Could you have the mirrors set forward, with shelving units just behind? Saving wall space for other things and keeping the salon more streamlined with less clutter.
- How do your team like to work? Remember there will need to be the use of trolleys for colouring and other services. So bear this in mind when working out how many units you can fit along one wall.
- Where will you have your colour station situated? Will you have it in plain sight of all the customers? In which case you will need to ensure it is in keeping with the rest of the salon decor and in a room that is well ventilated.
- If you are lucky enough to have space for multiple rooms – how will you divide it up? You could have a separate colour room where you have your colour station and products relating to this. It would also be the place to consider your best lighting options.
- Foil/colour trolleys and cutting stools can be bulky items to stow away – so, again, bear this in mind when planning your space. Is there a corner or alcove they could be tucked neatly away?
“Remember: If you are hiring tradesman to carry out work – allow plenty of time to gather quotes and sufficient time for the work to be carried out.”
If you are considering using salon specialists for fitting, I have compiled a list for you to browse. This will give you a more rounded idea of prices and what they offer:
Salon design and fitting
Salon Saviour tip: Don’t forget to check all the electrical equipment is CE registered & PAT tested. PAT tests (Portable appliance testing) must be carried out subsequently. This also includes things like kettles and washing machines as well as hair dryers etc. The CE marking indicates that the manufacturer or supplier is compliant with the relevant EU legislation applicable to the product.
Check out this article from Hairdressers Journal for more information.
Salon furniture, lighting, mirrors…
Now onto the fun part! Once you have all the practical decisions made – here is where you can really let your artistic juices flow.
You should have an idea of your budget for furniture too. It is far too easy to get swept up like a kid in a candy shop. So you should know exactly how many of each item you need so you can decide how to spread the costs efficiently. Remember what I said earlier about buying the best you can afford AND spending a decent amount on high traffic areas – it will save you in the long run.
Here are some tips and words of wisdom…
- Create a mood board for inspiration. Gather cuttings of colours & styles that appeal & help give a more rounded picture of what you want your finished salon to look like. Alternatively, try apps such as Pinterest to collate your ideas somewhere centrally.
- Be wary of high pigmented colours on walls. These can reflect on the hair and give unwanted tones on first appearances. Plus they can date rather quickly, your best bet would be to keep it neutral and let statement pieces do the talking.
- Think about the placement of lighting throughout the salon – both natural and artificial. You don’t want dazzling lights by the basins, blinding the clients when they are trying to relax. But you want your reception and retail area to be bright and inviting. Spotlights are usually the go-to option in this instance as you can easily change them and choose whether you want a warmer or cooler direction.
- Think about your lux levels for your lighting. This is the illuminance and luminous emittance and how far the light throws. Check out this article detailing tips to ensure efficient lighting for a hairdressing salon.
- Do your research – look online at prices to get an idea but call stockists and make sure you read the small print. Don’t forget to take into account shipping costs, sometimes it is free if you spend over a certain amount.
- Check reviews of these online stockists. If something seems too good to be true, it usually it. Explore your options before blindly buying & thinking about how much you have saved. Sometimes cheaper isn’t always better.
- They have sales online too. Once you have decided on what equipment you like – hold fire & keeps your eyes peeled for any offers to shop around before buying. Often different websites sell the same brands. So do your research before adding to your basket.
- Mirror mirror on the wall – placement of mirrors is important, not just in the obvious places. Mirrors can create the illusion of space and lighten a dark room. Could you place one opposite a window to help reflect more natural light?
Check out these resources for salon equipment suppliers
Here I have compiled a list of US suppliers (Please note: some of these double up as UK suppliers too – I have listed them separately.)
UK Salon Suppliers:
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation or endorsement with any of these suppliers – they are to help illustrate what suppliers are available.
Salon Saviour tip: Don’t forget the grand unveiling of your new salon. You have worked tirelessly and now want the world to see it. Stay tuned for my post on ‘salon opening ideas’ for inspiration.
Tips for thrifty salon owners
- Change lighting to LED bulbs. LED lights consume less electricity and also have a longer operational lifetime than traditional bulbs. For more benefits on LED lighting – read this post!
- When thinking about wall decor – you could display canvases with work carried out by your staff. They are a relatively low-cost way to way to decorate and a great way to further advertise your work.
- Want to make your salon look and feel like a high-end establishment but don’t have the bank balance to reflect this? Think about what scents can give this aura. The aroma of hair care products can build brand identity and provide a sense of relaxation. This can influence clients buying behaviour and boost sales. This article highlights the science of smell.
- Get back to nature. Having plants in the salon can also help with the ‘spa’ like feel you may be going for. Greenery can add a sense of calm AND they have the added bonus of being air purifying to help detoxify the air! Check out these images on Pinterest to give you some inspiration.
Ultimately you want your salon space designed around your vision. One that works for business operation and allows maximum practicality for staff and customers too.
That’s it, folks! Don’t be put off by the amount of work that is required for a project as sizeable as this. Stick with it and you have the potential to grow your salon empire. This first step may one day be your flagship store… and be the first of many!
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