Archive for July, 2010

Designing a salon to suit your client’s needs

It is sometimes necessary to put your own personal tastes and whims aside when designing your new salon. You need to remember that whilst you and your staff will work in the space; the salon’s decor is primarily for clients to enjoy and benefit from.

Furthermore, clients will always appreciate small gestures and efforts made to accommodate their needs, as it makes them feel welcome and looked after. It is this that will persuade them to book in for a repeat visit, not the cascading water feature in the reception area.

Here are a few things to think about:

Comfort – This should be one of your top priorities when kitting out your salon with furniture, seating and backwash units. If your salon chairs or waiting benches aren’t comfortable, the experience will be spoilt for your clients.

Personal storage – Remembering to add places for your clients to put their personal belongings during their appointments will be much appreciated. You can be even more considerate and invest in small storage cabinets by each styling station. These should ideally have an easy-access space for handbags and mobile phones, as well as encompassing beverage holders.

Technology – Some salons offer their clients LCD TV screens to watch and personal headphones so that they can listen to music. This can be a great touch in waiting areas or during lengthy treatments.

Top tips for different-sized salons pt.2 – open plan

Now that we’ve established the best designs for narrow and high-ceilinged salons (see pt.1), it’s now time to look at how to manage open plan spaces.

Open plan salons

In the same way as salons with high ceilings, open plan spaces can either look airy and spacious or they can look empty and uninviting; it all depends on the layout and the décor. If you want an open plan salon, experts recommend that you use the space effectively. Try:

• Making a floor plan detailing how many styling and backwash units you can fit in (without overfilling the space) and the most logical places to put other pieces of salon furniture. Larger spaces can be more chaotic than you may think, so you need to put thought into creating a smooth, efficient work area.

• Choosing flooring which absorbs sound, or at least materials that don’t amplify it. Large, open plan salons should be buzzing and exciting rather than deafeningly noisy.

• Using colour and texture to break up the space and create a welcoming warmth

• Experimenting with different floor levels or plinths

• Creating different zones, either to give clients more privacy or to separate off different treatment areas

Does your salon have a signature style?

Your salon’s décor will always reflect your ethos as a business, as well as creating an atmosphere tailored to your clientele.

For example, a salon located in a high-powered business area is likely to be decorated in a no-nonsense minimalist style, with clean lines and a strong sense of professionalism, to reflect the status of its clients.

The only problem with this is that unless you are the only salon within miles of this hypothetical business area, your premises is unlikely to stand out from the crowd of competing salons. This is why you need a signature style.

A signature style is a defining feature that your customers will recognise as unique to your salon, and may even be part of the reason they make a return visit.

Examples of signature styles

• The Scissors salon in Gainesville, Florida, has installed a coffee bar, which offers flavoured coffees to customers. Owner Mary Park-Smith says:

“We even have guests who will drop by between visits just to have a cup of coffee! Building our coffee bar has created a coffee house comfort that our guests love.”

Noelyne Ltd in North Carolina has taken a completely different approach, making the salon as high-tech as possible. Owner Noelyne Langston says:

“We use as much technology as possible through our e-mail confirmation system, WiFi access, mounted plasma TV and high-tech kitchen with a variety of beverages and food.”

Top tips for different-sized salons pt. 1 – narrow and tall

The size and shape of your salon premises can affect everything from the design possibilities to the feel of the space for salon, as well as limiting the number of treatments and services you can offer.

Not everyone can afford a vast, open salon, however, so it’s all about making the best of the space you do have. The following are a few design ideas to consider:

For narrow salons…

Long, thin salons can either feel cosy and intimate or claustrophobic and crowded, but they will always look busy to passers-by (this is a good thing). The way to achieve the former boutique-style look is through clever design and use of colour. Try:

• Placing mirrors and salon chairs at a slight angle to avoid creating a ‘tunnel’ effect
• Use wide mirrors and large windows to create the illusion of space and openness
• Make the back wall a feature, with pictures or promotional displays
• Lay any flooring in a diamond pattern to give the illusion of width

For salons with high ceilings…

Some salon owners would love to have a space with high ceilings, as it helps to create and airy and spacious feel. For others though, high ceilings can make the salon feel empty and intimidating to clients.

Leading salon designer Stephen Ewings explains the best way to utilise this feature to your advantage:

“High ceilings give the luxury of adjusting the ceiling height in zones. For example, lower the ceiling heights in the retail/reception area and over the backwashes as this will give it a more homely, relaxing feeling,”

Ewings also suggests using tall, slim styling units to make full use of the space.

Crucial considerations for salon design

Choosing the right colour scheme, furniture and décor for a new salon is not as simple as picking out what you like the look of. You can’t design a whole salon based solely on what your own personal tastes dictate; you have to consider so many other practical aspects as well.

Before picking up a paintbrush or splashing out on new salon chairs, ask yourself the following questions about your salon’s décor:

Is the layout practical for staff? Your stylists or technicians need to be able to move from one station to another with relative ease.

Is the colour scheme and the lighting suitable for your colourists to do their job properly? You need to light your salon for true colour, so that your colourists can accurately assess tonal value. Examples of what not to do include fitting coloured lights in areas where colourists work, or even painting the wall a garish colour such as lime green.

Is the salon comfortable for clients? Your clients will be with you for an hour or so, so they need comfortable salon chairs and waiting benches, as well as footrests and backwash units.

Does your salon meet disability access requirements?

Is there enough storage space?

What message does the design scheme convey about your salon? I.e. is it young and funky or chic and classic?

Planning a reception area

For any salon or beauty spa, the appearance of the reception area is of crucial importance. This is because this space is your first chance to make the right impression on the client, to really let them know what your salon is all about.  What’s more, many salons are designed so that the reception area can be seen from the street, so you can use attractive, eye-catching décor to entice customers inside.

So what makes a good reception area?

The overall principles to bear in mind when designing a salon reception area are comfort, colour and style. Remember that this is a place where clients will be waiting for appointments, so you need to offer them comfortable seating and plenty to look at and read.

Attention to detail is also important, as your waiting clients will often have ample time to observe your décor in minute detail. Even the smallest aspects like a fresh vase of flowers or the very latest style magazines will impress, whilst others like a cracked tile or cobwebbed corner will not.

The reception desk

This piece of salon furniture is extremely important, as it is a focal point and the centre of activity in the reception area. Whether you opt for sleek, classic design or bold and bright; always ensure your reception desk is clean, uncluttered and staffed by a friendly, smiling face.

Overcoming salon design challenges

It can often be difficult for owners to realise their ideas when designing a new salon, especially when their vision is ambitious. This is where challenges occur – expensive, frustrating and time-consuming challenges – but they need to be conquered if your salon is to be everything you imagined.

The following are a few examples of design challenges, and suggestions for how to overcome then:

Challenge: Designing the perfect, high-quality lighting scheme
Solution: Experiment with mock-ups of the lighting system, researching how different lights create a range of mood effects and reflect colour. The ultimate aim is to flatter the client, whilst also allowing your stylists to work with light that renders colour and texture perfectly.

Challenge: Finding the right design balance between contemporary/cosy to attract both young and older clients
Solution: Use colours that are both warm and fun, and blend minimalist salon furniture with more comfortable pieces. For example: your salon chairs and styling units could be contemporary black and white, whilst your reception area would have comfortable, red sofas.

Challenge: Getting all of your design ideas into one space
Solution: Whilst starting with many ideas is great, you will need to streamline your ideas into one coherent design. You need just one strong design scheme that will work with the amount of space you have available. Don’t try to do everything or your salon will become a confused, cluttered mess.

When to splash out on a key feature for your salon

As a great deal of your salon redecoration project can be done on a budget – repainting walls or replacing mirrors or salon chairs – you can afford to splash out on a key feature or focal point for your salon. This will not only help your salon stand out from the competition, giving clients something to tell their friends about; it will also give you something to base the rest of your decor on.

So what do we mean when we say ‘a key feature’? The following successful salon owners offer a few inspiring examples:

Bob Steele from Bob Steele Salon in Atlanta, Georgia says his salon’s key feature and the best design decision he ever made was a laminate floor, one specially designed not to stain when in contact with hair colour products.

Jennifer Rabideau from Halo Salon and ColorLab in Texas said (when interviewed for Salon Today) that her salon’s defining feature was:

“A beautiful, modern Swarovski crystal chandelier. I think that an occasional splurge on a fixture can mean a big return. It makes me happy when I am at work and it makes my clients feel as though they are in a salon that has an eye for detail and beautiful design.”

Sharon Kotchkowski, the owner of New Image Salon in New Jersey, says that her salon is dominated by an enormous, wall-sized mirror that “seems to double the space”.

How to give your salon the ‘wow’ factor

In order to stand out from the competition – and there is a lot of it, especially in busy city centres – your salon needs to shake up the conventions of standard salon design. You need to be creative, colourful and really stamp your own personality and style on the décor of your new business.

To make your salon memorable, clients need to be instantly impressed when they walk in. This is why you first need to focus your attentions on the waiting/reception area. Here, you could try adding:

• Some exciting artwork for waiting clients to enjoy, which really symbolises the mood of the salon (e.g. fresh and funky, classic glamour etc.)
• A stunning reception desk – really make a feature of it
• An eye-catching product display and comfortable waiting benches

Inside the salon itself, you need to ensure that all of your salon furniture and equipment is, first and foremost, comfortable and functional.

Then, you can continue your style theme from the reception area in the different ‘zones’ of your salon. For example, you could choose a different colour scheme for beauty treatment, hair styling and massage areas, but ensure there is an element tying them all together. In this way, your salon is exciting and memorable but also has a coherent and unified design.

The importance of client privacy in salon design

Salon design isn’t just about colour schemes and expensive artwork; it’s everything from the placement of salon furniture to the layout of rooms or ‘zones’. Everything needs to be planned out before the renovation begins, so as to save time and money in the long run.

Of the many things to remember when designing a new salon, the privacy of client’s is the one thing that is often forgotten. Whilst it can be off-putting to clients to be placed in full view of a huge, open window – where passers-by can see the ‘before’ stages of the client’s makeover – there are other problems that can be just as invasive.

For example:

• If your treatment rooms are broken up using partition walls, room dividers or curtains, remember that sound is likely to be travelling through. If a waxing session is going on next door, just imagine how disruptive this will be for a client in the massage chair.

• For smaller salons, privacy can be a huge issue as clients may feel they are all crowded in together. A few clever design strategies will remedy this, such as using drapes or branded space dividers between pedicure stations and positioning styling units on either side of a mirror.