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Choosing a Color Palette for Your Store

Opening a pet business or adding a new location can be a daunting task for many small business owners. If you are like many pet groomers and small business pet retailers, you’re likely designing your store by yourself. This can be very gratifying and also very daunting. There are so many decisions that need to be made. Below we will cover a few steps that are extremely important when designing your salon/store for pet services and pet retailing.

What is the inside/outside architecture and design of your new building location? Is the building a Spanish bungalow,Tudor style, a country barn, or a city warehouse? In order to have the most successful store design, taking into account the actual architecture of the outside of the building, and landscape along with the interior store design can save you countless headaches. You can’t fit a square hole into a round peg so make it easier on yourself by designing your space by utilizing the existing architecture when you can. This tactic doesn’t work for every location but it can help “set the stage” for the rest of your design decisions. This technique ultimately simplifies the rest of your design decisions and gives you a specific design direction.

Where is your business located? Are you in the city? Are you suburban or urban? When speaking to my clients I often recommend a certain color palette and design that will go with that particular location along with several other factors. A city location is generally a bit more polished and modern where a country local can be rugged and casual. These designs are not exclusive to their location but their consideration is very important. Remember your target audience. You are designing for THEM, not for yourself.

WHO is your clientele? Are they mostly Women or Men? Are they young hipsters, or a retired elderly population and empty nesters? Are they young and affluent or middle aged and wealthy? Knowing WHO your target market will also widdle down the design decisions and your color palette. Softer colors, pinks, pastels, and bright white spaces often work well for Women. Men on the other hand like wood, hardware, blues, greys, and more muted and natural tones. Knowing your clientele and taking them into account will definitely pay off in the long run. Small business owners competing with corporate and online competition need to design spaces that have great ambiance. Designing for your specific clientele goes a long way toward building a brand that your community can get behind for years to come. In addition; providing a well designed space that your clients can use to brag about their favorite local business on social media is marketing gold!


How do you choose your color palette? You’ve got your design “theme” chosen based on your architecture, you’ve nailed down your clientele based on your neighborhood… so now, let’s choose your colors! Taking into account the aforementioned tools to find your colors, do you have an “inspiration” piece that will help you limit your colors? Do you have a favorite piece of furniture, painting, pillow, tapestry, or any other item that you absolutely love? An inspiration “piece” can help your simplify and choose the color palette you need for your design. One of my favorite tools is the “ColorSnap” Visualizer by Sherwin Williams. I took an inspiration pic that included all the design elements and colors my client and I discussed. Then I uploaded it into “Colorsnap” and then chose the colors that would fit this project. We have our base neutral colors, midtones, and accent tones all in the same app. This simplifies the design process by choosing your colors so you don’t “over design” your color palette.

Consistency is Key! Now that you have your color palette, make sure you’re consistent with the use of these colors including hardware finishes and accents. Start with a couple of neutral base tones (whites, greys) and then add in your mid tones and finally limit your accent colors (generally darker colors) so that you don’t overwhelm your design. With loud accent colors, less is more. If you are using a dark wood grain to bring in some nature, keep that wood grain consistent. Mixing oak, for example and cherry wood in the same space rarely look good together. If you are going to use silver hardware, try to keep the finishes in the same color family. Brushed nickel hardware doesn’t mesh very well with black wrought iron most of the time. I find that keeping your color families and finishes similar creates a very professional and well designed space. Although there are plenty of instances when you can mix and match different finishes, this generally requires a design professional to pull it off well.

In closing, I hope these few tips will help you to simplify your store design opportunities and challenges. Although I absolutely LOVE this process, I know it can be a very daunting task for most. Although I’d gladly give away my design sense every day of the week and twice on Sunday... my husband would like you to know that I am available for grooming, designing, and retail merchandising consulting. Feel free to email me so we can set up a time to chat!

Until next time…
Happy Pet Retailing and Continued Success,

Leel Michelle


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