4 Tips for Making a Small Retail Space Feel Bigger

kathryn by Kathryn Hawkins on February 23, 2012
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You found a storefront in the perfect location for the right price. Congratulations! The problem is, space is so tight that your customers can’t browse without bumping into furniture or one another — and you’d need to invest some serious coin to expand your footprint.

Fortunately, you can more easily create the illusion of space. Here are four tips for making your small shop feel bigger.

  1. Decorate for your target audience. Are you appealing to a high-end clientele? Don’t clutter your display room with inventory. Set out only the samples you need to drive sales for each day or demonstrate products, and keep the rest in your stockroom or a nearby storage unit. You want to create an elegant, streamlined impression for customers. Conversely, if you’re after bargain shoppers, it may be more effective to cram in as much inventory as possible. The New York Times reported that when Wal-Mart fills its aisles with extra inventory, customers tend to buy more, because they feel like they’re getting a deal.
  2. Cover the walls wisely. Interior decorators often recommend painting small rooms in lighter colors. Freshome.com suggests combining cream and icy blue shades to maximize the sense of space. Mirrors can also create the illusion of additional depth, especially when angled toward a window to reflect the outdoors.
  3. Keep the furnishings sparse. Bookcases and displays that stretch all the way to the roof will make a tight space feel even tighter. Furnish sparingly, and make sure that the size of your furniture suits the room. That may mean chairs instead of sofas, and waist-high displays instead of full-length towering shelves.
  4. Focus on your ambiance. Make what limited space you have as cozy and comfortable as possible. Create splashes of color with floral arrangements and other decorative touches to brighten up your space, and invest in some high-quality art for the walls. Consider consulting with an interior decorator (about $200) about how to create a place that customers will want to return to, despite its lack of square footage.
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