How To Make A Small Shop Look Bigger

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A small shop can sometimes be difficult to merchandise effectively. There are some small things that you can do to help your store seem larger than it is. Through careful merchandising and display layout, you can not only make your small shop look bigger, you can also help to drive your sales.

Here are our tips on how to make your small shop look bigger by using clever illusions:

1) Accent Walls & Neutral Furnishings

Light and neutral colours can help make a room look larger than it really is. Neutral colours can be particularly effective when combined with a bright, or strong, coloured accent wall.  If you do decide to use an accent wall, it is best placed at the back of your store. Accent walls are a popular and valuable tool because they are an easy and effective way to create a focal point, while simultaneously adding depth to your store. However, be careful not to use an accent wall for the sake of it. Your accent wall is best used in combination with a strong anchor that will entice customers to the back of your store. This could be a popular brand or item. To read more about anchors and layout, visit our shop design article.

You can use colour in a cost effective way by using shop fittings and fixtures that are neutral colours. Neutral colours have three key benefits. Firstly, they ensure that your merchandise stands out more than the displays that they are on. Secondly, neutral colours visually push walls outwards, whereas strong colours can make a space feel smaller. Thirdly, your shop’s atmosphere and colour scheme can be easily changed from season to season. The accent furnishings and colours of your clothing can change the look and feel of your whole room without needing to update fixtures and fittings.

The combination of accent walls and neutral coloured shop furnishings, ensures that you can easily keep your store feeling fresh. In addition, you can make your small shop look bigger than it really is.

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2) Use Mirrors

Mirrors are a great way to give the illusion that a room is larger than it really is. This can be particularly effective if you place a mirror opposite a natural light source such as a window or skylight. By reflecting light around your shop, you can make it feel lighter and airier. In addition, mirrors are a great way to give the illusion of more space in their own right. This is simply because they give the illusion of a larger room by reflecting what you already have. So whether you have a position opposite a window or not, consider hanging a few mirrors to increase the perceived size of your shop.

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3) Focal Points

Focal points are key to encouraging customers to browse a store properly, particularly if it is small. These focal points should be able to be seen the moment a customer enters and should consist of key brands that can be used as anchors. Your anchors should encourage your customers to browse each point, instead of taking a direct path to one place that they find attractive. Read more about store layout and focal points in our Shop Design article.

Floor Plan To Run

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4) Colour Blocking

Colour blocking is used by visual merchandisers frequently. It is when retailers place merchandise in blocks of colours that are either complementary or gradated. By putting merchandise into blocks of colour, retailers make their merchandise easier for their customers to process. This is because the merchandise becomes visually stimulating without becoming over-stimulating. This in turn can help to make your small shop look bigger as it becomes less “busy”. In addition, colour blocking allows you to create bold displays that are easily maintained and quick to change up.

Chequered colour blocking is a form of colour blocking that can be particularly striking. This is when colours are alternated to create a chequered wall or display. For example a bold display can be made by hanging white t-shirts above black jeans next to black t-shirts above white jeans. In addition, these types of layout are particularly effective when complementary colours are used. To make a particularly bold display, try combining blues and oranges, purples and yellows or pinks and greens. These will provide bold, striking, colourful displays, but in accents. This will ensure that your small shop will not be made to look smaller despite the bold colour use.

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5) Space Saving Displays

Some types of shop displays can help to make a small shop look bigger. These include space saving, versatile display systems such as slatwall, gridwall and tube and clamp displays. Slatwall is particularly useful as it sits against the shop walls and it is easily changed around. As the arms and prongsare simply slotted in and out of the wall, slatwall can be changed around quickly and easily to suit your merchandise.

As well as actual display systems, some retail furniture can also give the impression of a larger store. Glass cabinets and counters can be particularly useful for this as their frames are thin and do not disrupt the customer eye-line.

Clean lines can be particularly helpful for making small shops look bigger.


6) Floor Space

Many sources recommend using a striped floor or rug to make a retail space seem larger. This can be achieved by positioning the stripes so that they run across the floor on the shortest length of a shop. For the majority of retailers, a new floor is not possible. But a similar effect can be achieved by using a rug. However, care should be taken when using this technique as the customer’s entrance to a store should not be obstructed. For example, if the stripes are placed running against the entrance, they may create a visual instruction. However, if placed at the entrance, with the stripes running towards the back of the store, the customer is invited inside to browse.

The Display Centre specialise in shop fittings & display equipment. Our customers include Paperchase, Superdry and Harrods. If you need help finding your ideal shop fittings and display equipment, call us on 01329 842 000 or email us.

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