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The Guide to Salon Interior Design

The Guide to Salon Interior Design

Do you have plans to decorate your salon or renovate your space? You’ve come to the right place as Minerva is the one-stop shop for all things salon interior design, specifically for those who are looking to DIY their interior design. In this post, we'll be talking about all the salon interior design know-how you need to get it done yourself with insights from key beauty industry professionals." 

Get ready to give your salon the ultimate facelift with enticing interior design. 

Top Salon Interior Design Ideas and Aesthetics

Before we look at how to personalize your salon and give it the look you have always dreamt of, let’s talk about the most popular salon design and aesthetics. Of course, your salon or shop doesn’t have to fall within these categories as it may have its own unique style and aesthetic. However, most salon aesthetics and looks will take heavy inspiration from the following. 

Top Salon Interior Design Ideas and Aesthetics

Modern – Modern salons usually look more minimal when it comes to decor. They prioritize clean lines, neutral colors like black and white with bold pops of color used thoughtfully and sparingly. Modern-looking salons use beauty salon equipment that is sleek and luxurious looking — think black and white. 

Boho Chic – The boho chic aesthetic is a look that has become very popular recently. In these salons, you will see a lot of warm neutrals — think beige, green, clay, etc. — and a lot of plants and natural foliage. Crochet accents look great in these salons. 

Rustic – Rustic salons pay homage to the “barn look.” With a lot of reclaimed or white-washed wood, the rustic look enhances a salon’s natural features. Common accents you will see in a rustic salon are string lights, tins and inspirational signage. Rustic salons usually use wooden styling stations, too. 

Industrial – Industrial aesthetics are commonly found in barbershops as these design elements are usually a little more masculine looking. You could also have a natural industrial looking salon depending on the location where you decide to open shop. For example, salons in loft spaces or repurposed buildings often have a natural industrial look. This aesthetic prioritizes exposed pipes, steel, concrete and brick. 

Minerva’s style guide is a great resource for salon owners and designers alike! Whether you are a design expert or just need some fresh ideas, this style guide can push you in the right design direction.

Shop Minerva Beauty’s Salon Supplies Today

Design Considerations from the Industry’s Top Professionals and Influencers

As you begin designing your salon, there are some important considerations to take and questions to ask before, during and after the process. Luckily, we have some incredibly valuable insight to help guide you right here in this article! Here are some of the factors, considerations and questions that should be top of mind for you as you embark on your DIY salon design.

Pictured: Jason Backe, Ted Gibson

Pictured: Jason Backe, Ted Gibson

Owners of LA-based salon STARRING by Ted Gibson

“Design is the key element in letting the public know your brand identity,” say Jason Backe and Ted Gibson, the owners of LA-based salon STARRING by Ted Gibson. Gibson and Backe are not only the founders of STARRING by Ted Gibson, but they have also co-created the exclusive product line STARRING and co-founded the WORTHUP alliance, which sponsors scholarships, fosters mentorships and encourages future business owners. Ted Gibson is a celebrity hairstylist, was a hair expert on the notable cable show What Not to Wear, and regularly appears on popular talk shows to show off his makeover transformations. “While the costs vary depending on the size of your space and the market you live in, it is worth the time and money to invest in good design.”

Make Your Client the Main Focus 

When you are designing your space and placing furniture and salon equipment, you want to think about how your layout affects your client. From using salon chairs to the layout of your reception and waiting area, the client needs to come first.

 “Client Flow is the most important consideration,” say Backe and Gibson. “From the moment a client walks in the door to the moment they leave the building, what is the experience and what are their touchpoints? When that is all mapped out, you will have a very good idea of how you want the space to look and feel.”

Make Your Client the Main Focus

Influencer and stylist Kayla Boyer, who has amassed more than 100,000 followers on social media, adds that client comfort is a top priority at Minneapolis’ Dead Rose and Rose salons. 

“Some of the most important things to consider when designing a salon would be accessibility, functionality, aesthetic and, most of all, comfort for your guests,” Boyer said. 

Boyer is most well-known for her bold use of color, being a member of PRAVANA COLLECTIVE, the influencer group for the PRAVANA line of hair color and hair care products for salon professionals. She is also a makeup artist slaying some of the most interesting looks on the internet. 

Differentiate Your Salon with New Technology

As you take a look at other salons you will be competing with, where can you differentiate yourself when it comes to design and innovative technology used in your salon? For example, do you have iPads that guests can use while they wait or as they check in at the salon reception desk?

“The design should be built around the guest experience,” says Robert Cromeans, Global Artistic Director, Business Director of John Paul Mitchell Systems and owner of San Diego’s renowned Robert Cromeans salon. Cromeans is said to be one of the most widely-known stylists and showman who owns six salons and holds the position of global artistic director for John Paul Mitchell Systems. A combination of touch and tech is important, too.” 

grey salon chair

Research Assistance Programs to Help with Cash Flow During Renovations

Depending on your salon’s location and circumstances, there are many initiatives and assistance programs that you could take advantage of during the renovation or remodeling process. 

If you are new to a building or you are renting and leasing, ask for tenant improvement help,” Cromeans says. “Sometimes, the landlord will waive the rent while you’re doing the build out. You will want to be as quick and efficient with your buildout so you can take advantage of bringing in revenue while not having to pay rent.” 

You can learn more about local initiatives or special programs that assist with woman- or minority-owned businesses by doing some research or asking your network of salon connections. 

Minerva offers financing options so every salon owner can pick their perfect salon equipment!

Shop Minerva’s Beauty Salon Equipment Today!

Create a Flexible Layout That Can Grow with Your Business

As you begin to determine your layout and assemble salon retail displays, Brayden Pelletier, the owner of two Georgia-based just b. hair salons, suggests prioritizing flexibility. 

“Moveability is essential,” says Pelletier, who has been in salons since he was 16-years-old. He opened his salon after spending years as an educational and artistic director for a large salon company. He is also an International Redken artist and educator. “By not fixating everything to the floor, it allows space for classes and events, but most importantly, the ability to remodel with minimum effort. A revamp should happen every three to five years.”

Not only will flexibility allow you to grow as your business does, but it will also give you opportunities to do more inside your salon. Mobile salon stations are great options for smaller, more flexible spaces.

Leverage Spacing Standards to Your Advantage

While you plan the layout for your salon, keep in mind the many ways you can make use of spacing standards. The industry standard for spacing out styling stations is 5 feet from the center of one chair to the center of the next chair. If your stations are back to back, it’s best to make sure your chairs are around 7.5 feet or more apart from the center of the chairs to create a walkway between them.

Maximize Your Wash Station Layout

Placing your backwash station  so your stylists are washing a client from behind is completely fine and you can even place chairs so close together that they are practically touching. Just make sure you have 30-36 inches behind each bowl to let your stylists move freely while they work. Also, be sure to leave a pathway to the back of your units, too. If your stylists wash clients from the side, leave at least 30-36 inches in between each bowl to give your stylists the space necessary to wash and move around.

Determine a Budget and Stick with It 

When you are opening, remodeling or renovating a salon, setting and creating a budget is very important to ensuring you don’t spend beyond your means. Not only will you need to spend money on the equipment for your salon, but remember that you will also need to invest in salon equipment, too. 

Here are some tips on how to budget like a pro. 

how to budget like a pro

“Itemize everything you will need and want, and don’t leave anything out — even the little things because they all add up,” Cromeans says. “Shop pricing for all items so you can create a budget to work off of. On my last buildout, I went to the Minerva Beauty website and took screenshots of the fixtures that I liked and made a folder with those, including their pricing. Buildouts can vary from $20 to $250 per square foot. You can divide your budget by square footage so you know how much you’re spending.”

Boyer suggests making a list of “must-have items” and “for later items” to help keep yourself on budget. 

“If you are working on a budget, I would definitely start with the most important things first like your station, chair and all of the things that you need to actually do hair,” Boyer says. “As time goes on, you can start hanging things on the wall after you have saved up for it.” Check out these low-cost ways to spruce up your salon interior design, no matter how modest your space or budget!

Pelletier urges new salon owners not to skimp out on aspects of salon design that are critical to running your business properly. 

“Spend the money on the structure like plumbing and electricity,” Pelletier says. “Those are the most important for day-to-day operations and are usually your biggest costs. It’s also important to not skimp on your equipment. Remember, you need this stuff to last at least 3-5 years. There are lots of companies out there selling very cheap and very expensive equipment. It’s best to find someone in the middle that has a solid customer support team to help you along the way. ” 

Check out Minerva Beauty's smart spending guide for salon and spa equipment that explains which items are worth investing in, and which supplies you can price shop for.

He also recommends building in a little bit of padding for your budget to allow for unforeseen costs. 

“Plan a buffer,” Pelletier says. “Your budget should be about 15% less than what you're really willing to spend.”

Cassandra McGlaughlin, a hair influencer and Redken ambassador, advises that salon owners not only consider the financial aspect of budgeting, but also the time and energy you will spend. 

“Calculate the actual cost, meaning look at not only the money, but the time and energy spent,” says McGlaughlin who has spent more than 15 years in the salon industry and enjoys sharing her knowledge with other industry professionals on social media and at industry events. “There are so many ways to hire out work on a budget, but if you decide to do it yourself, practice and make sure you invest in the right tools. There’s nothing worse than doing something unsuccessfully only to have to pay to have it redone.”

When you are creating your budget, McGlaughlin says to prioritize the items that bring in revenue and de-prioritize non-revenue generating items. 

“Focus on the permanent parts first,” McGlaughlin says. “Make sure that your layout, plumbing and electric are done right to begin with. Everything else can be easily adjusted and upgraded. Prioritize the budget items that create revenue like salon chairs and stations, and de-prioritize non-revenue generating items. Once the salon is making money, let it pay for its own upgrades.”

Invest in Good Lighting 

What’s necessary and what isn’t? You may find yourself asking this question as you determine your budget and get into designing your salon. According to Cromeans, the lighting in your salon should never be an afterthought and it’s non-negotiable. 

“Without a doubt, the most important thing is lighting,” Cromeans says. “Spend the time and the money on lighting.”

Not only is lighting important in order to allow stylists to do their job to perfection, but good lighting also draws customers in and keeps them coming back. Lighting is also necessary for hair coloring and precision cutting. Color correct LED mirrors enable stylists and customers to feel good and get the best results possible.

Also, if you plan on setting up a space in your salon that’s dedicated to getting high quality before and after shots to post on social media, lighting can make or break this portion of your salon. 

phone camera light

Make Your Salon Instagrammable

As you are designing your salon, you have a unique opportunity to customize in a variety of ways to boost business — one of those being creating an “Instagrammable” space or area where you and your stylists can take photos. You can even encourage your clients to use the area for their own selfies! Outside of one space, you should focus on making your entire salon Instagram-friendly. From the front desk to the bathroom (hello, fun wallpaper!), your salon space should make clients want to take photos.

“Social media is a considerable driver for your business,” Backe and Gibson say. “Having several different locations to either take photos or inspire your clients to take selfies is super important. Have interesting wall coverings or treatments for clients to pose in front of and a ring light for professional looking lighting. You can also try mirror clings that ask your clients to tag your business to gain followers.”

Boyer, a stylist who clearly knows how to pull in an audience on Instagram, urges salon owners to focus on the design of this space to encourage stylists and clients to use it. 

“Have a theme,” Boyer says. “If you aren’t good at designing, find someone that is and get their advice. It never hurts to ask someone that has a good eye for decorating. In my case, I do it myself and I make my decorations very unique and unusual. You can encourage your stylists to use Instagram by having a photo booth set up. We have a Minerva ring light at our salon so that at all times of the day you can take a photo.” 

Interior Design Resources From Minerva Beauty

Interior Design Resources From Minerva Beauty 

Minerva Beauty can assist you every step of the way when it comes to DIYing your salon’s interior design and determining your aesthetic. Here are some of the resources that can guide your design journey down the right path. 

  1. Get Inspired – Do you want to see what’s possible for your salon when you incorporate salon decor and equipment from Minerva? Minerva’s salon lookbook will show you what other salons and shops have been able to accomplish. From modern and posh salons to rustic and industrial barbershops, these salon and shop owners found everything they needed to make their business stand out at Minerva Beauty. For further inspiration, look no further than our curated beauty Instagram page for tons of photos of real salons using Minerva equipment. This will not only provide you with more ideas but it also gives you a chance to see how our products would look in your very own space. Our lookbook and Instagram are excellent examples  of the endless possibilities for your salon, whether you’re looking for high-quality styling chairs, sleek salon stations or just ideas for how to design your salon reception area. 
  2. Style Guide – Minerva Beauty’s salon style guide is a great place to start if you need to determine your salon’s aesthetic. In this guide, we go over the various salon aesthetics and design, as well as which color palettes, decor and finishes look best inside of them.  
  3. Interior Design Blog Posts – Whether you are looking for inspiration or ideas on how to design your salon layout, Minerva’s interior design blog posts will offer all the insight you need. From mood boards to functional salon design tips, these blog posts will empower you with all the DIY design knowledge you need. 
  4. 2D Design Tool – How will your salon furniture and equipment fit into your space? With Minerva Beauty’s 2D Design Tool, you will get to envision your salon’s layout and furniture placement. This can help you determine how you may need to design your salon to create a layout and flow that is conducive to how you want to run your business. 

Are you feeling confident enough to DIY your salon’s design? The professionals who weighed in are confident that with the right amount of thoughtful planning and creativity, you’ll be able to create a beautiful salon space. We hope this article has guided and inspired you to confidently create the salon of your dreams! 


Image Credits


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