Thinking of opening a new salon or planning to revamp your current one?
Making the most of your space, getting the layout right and creating the right look all on time and within budget can seem a ‘big ask’. So I asked Trevor Lingard Commercial Manager from salon furniture specialists REM UK to share some professional secrets.
Good salon design starts with the basics
Poring over a Farrow and Ball paint chart may be more fun than checking your water pressure, but don’t be tempted to skip the essential basics warns Trevor.
- Have your salon’s water pressure tested as early as possible. Most local water companies will do this for you. You need a minimum of 1.75 to 2.5 bar of water pressure otherwise a booster pump will be necessary.
- Contemplating wall-mounted dryers/processors? Check your wall construction as soon as you can. You need solid concrete or brick – partition walls aren’t suitable.
- Locate your wash area as close as you can to water and waste outlets. Not only will this be cheaper to install but a shorter pipe run is less likely to cause you future plumbing problems.
- Make the most of natural daylight whilst thinking about your clients’ privacy. No-one wants to sit with foils in their hair in full view of passers-by. It’s not a good look.
- Think carefully about the floor surface. Do you need to combat high levels of noise? Can you access under-floor services easily?
Tips & ideas on designing your salon styling area
The big challenge: more styling stations mean more potential revenue for your salon yet you don’t want to overcrowd it with too many workstations.
If you’re struggling for ideas on how to work with your space, Trevor suggests chatting to a professional salon designer early on. They will talk you through the options for your particular premises.
- Allow sufficient workspace. The first styling unit should be 1m (3′) from a window or wall, second and subsequent units should be 1.2m (4′) from the centre of the first unit.
- Working space out from the unit to the rear of the stylist should be 1.5m (5′).
- Consider island styling units to fit more clients into a tight space.
- Stains will happen. It’s inevitable. So darker upholstery tends to be more practical for a hardworking hair salon. If you really want a lighter colour think about fitting clear chair back covers.
- Consider using different light styles to create the right atmosphere. Hang task lights above each section and add wall-mounted secondary feature lighting for ambience.
- Stay legal. All salon electrical fittings/appliances must conform to basic electrical EU and UK legislation. Check every electrical item you purchase has the CE logo proving it conforms.
- But beware advises REM’s Trevor Lingard, “many imports sourced and bought on the internet do not comply with UK Regulations and are illegal for use in salon businesses. This could cause problems with your salon insurance. So if in doubt ask to see a declaration of conformity from the vendor to prove the CE logo isn’t a fake”.
- Are you going to have colour mixed out of sight or are you going to put it in the spotlight with a colour-bar? Weigh up the pros and cons.
- Small shallow salon? Use a mirrored wall to trick the eye and ‘double’ your space.
Planning advice for your salon wash area
Bit of a challenge this one – an area that gets heavy wear, yet needs to look and feel relaxing.
- Use partitions to design a tranquil corner for clients away from the bustle of the salon.
- Again, remember to provide sufficient work space. Allow 0.6m (2′) behind a wash unit for the operator. Plus a similar amount at the other end for the client’s legs.
- Gain handy salon storage and hide ugly pipe work with link units between the wash sections.
- Alternatively, build a small plinth for the wash units. Hot and cold water and waste pipes can then be concealed beneath the false floor.
- A ratio of one backwash to three styling positions is the recommended minimum when you’re calculating your salon budget.
- Before buying your plumbing fittings check they meet the Water Regulations (1999). It’s easy – look for a WRAS logo on the components. Or check with your salon furniture and fittings supplier.
Salon reception design ideas
Your reception area shouldn’t be an afterthought. First (and last) impressions count.
- Use plinths or different floor levels to define separate areas.
- Hide clutter. Think about what you need to have to hand on your reception desk and then how best to conceal it. Your reception is the first thing clients see when they walk through your salon door.
- Use colour effectively. It breaks up the salon without reducing the space.
- Avoid putting your main retail behind your reception desk. The desk and your receptionist create a barrier. Clients have to ask to handle products and this is likely to put them off browsing (and buying).
Tips on planning & buying your salon furniture
Should you buy ‘unseen’ on the internet or visit an established salon furniture supplier? Online prices can seem tempting but think about the following recommends Trevor.
- Always ask about servicing and guarantees. And remember a reputable bricks-and-mortar salon supplier is more likely to be around in a year or two to honour their promises.
- Get everything in writing. Hopefully, there won’t be any problems but you’re in a much stronger legal position with written confirmations.
- A word about upholstered furnishings. The fire-retardant requirements on upholstery only apply to households, not businesses. Yet it makes good business sense to look for salon cloths and foams that meet BS7176: Medium Hazard (a combination of the match test, cigarette test, and a small ignition test). It all helps reduce your fire risk.
- Look for a declaration by the supplier or ask them in writing. Check imported furniture particularly carefully as many don’t fully comply.
- Avoid nasty surprises. There are other costs associated with furniture: delivery cost, installation cost, and storage fees. Make sure you receive estimates from your salon dealer before signing the paperwork.
- Many suppliers offer a planning/design service with the fee refundable against your purchase. Take advantage of these – the layout may seem obvious to you, but a trained salon planner may open your eyes to new ideas.
Do your homework, plan carefully and choose reputable suppliers seems to sum up Trevor’s advice.
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