Designing for Interior Spaces in Retail Settings

February 20, 2020

retail space


Retail stores may seem like fairly simple, straightforward jobs, but they’re often more complicated than residential or commercial office designs. Retail spaces have very specific needs because they’re interacted with by the public on a frequent basis. Therefore, everything from the layout of the space to the materials used needs to make it easier for customers to navigate and shop as well as for the space to gain as much brand recognition as possible. 

Setting yourself apart as a builder or contractor who can tackle retail spaces means understanding these issues and how to design for them. 


retail space interior design

Branding is crucial with retail spaces, and it will mean that every inch of the space needs to coordinate with that store’s brand. This includes making sure that the logo is part of the design, but it often goes deeper than that.

If the message the store is trying to impart to its customers is that the store is modern and made for technology, then everything about the store needs to impart that theme. That includes the interior design, which would therefore need to be sleek, edgy, and often contain materials that will match people’s image of that space. 

If the store has a greater message as part of its brand, such as environmental friendliness, for example, this is also something that needs to echo throughout the space. That means utilizing materials for the interior that are eco-friendly, such as reclaimed wood, low VOC paints, and LED fixtures.


clothing store interior

The layout of the store needs to accommodate both the customers and the items being sold. Because stores can carry a wide range of items, this means that the layout will need to be customized to the space. Aisles will need to be wide enough to allow easy navigation, and in the best cases will also be constructed to try to guide shoppers deeper into the store, meaning that they need to pass more displays to reach things like the checkout.

The layout of the store should include a variety of different built-in accommodations to allow for different types of displays. This includes wall shelving and built-in tables and furnishings. 

Changing rooms in clothing stores, as well as checkout stations, need to be easily found, yet they need to allow for things like impulse purchase displays, and in the case of large stores, they should also be arranged to allow for the flow of customers waiting in line. Directing people through a line that is bracketed by shelves can maximize impulse purchase placement, and help corral traffic in the store. 


retail space entrance

The entrance to the store is arguably one of the most important parts of the design. This is particularly true if the store is part of a shopping center, plaza, or mall where multiple stores are grouped together. The store needs to catch the eye of anyone passing by in order to maximize foot traffic, and this is done partially through window displays, and also through the appearance of the entrance.

Make sure that the entrance is on brand with the rest of the store, and that it has a welcoming atmosphere. Keep the threshold flat and easy to enter. Make sure the doors are wide enough to encourage pass-through, and that the materials you use on the entrance are eye-catching, to pull people in.


retail space materials

Materials used in retail spaces need to meet a lot of needs all at once. They need to be able to handle commercial levels of foot traffic on a daily or near daily basis. They also need to be fairly easy to clean or low-maintenance, as many retail spaces don’t have the time or the money to invest in special cleansers and cleaning techniques.

At the same time, the materials used in the design of the store need to match the brand of the space, and they also need to be welcoming to customers. Studies have shown that wood used in interior spaces has a direct impact on a person’s mood. Wood may make a person happier and it may also reduce overall stress. When wood is used in retail spaces it may increase the purchasing and spending habits of the shopper due to the increase in happiness they feel in the space. It may also reduce employee stress. 

Taking this one step further and using reclaimed wood can also make a difference. Reclaimed wood is wood that has been used before, so it’s more eco-friendly than new cut wood, and can provide additional benefits to a store’s brand. Reclaimed wood also has a lot more character, interest, and depth than new cut wood, so it can visually enhance the space as well. 

Design Better Retail Spaces

While interior design may not change too much from space to space, retail design does have an added layer of considerations that are necessary for the success of the store. Make sure that you’re designing with these considerations in mind to ensure that you’re making the most out of every retail space interior.

For more interior design options in retail locations, contact Elmwood Reclaimed Timber to speak with a professional.

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