Your shop’s image and ambience are particularly crucial during the holidays. Foot traffic is at its peak, and your floor is teeming with impressionable first-time shoppers. A store swathed in elegant holiday decor makes for a more enjoyable shopping experience—and encourages consumers to spend. We asked a few top design experts to share their best tips for holiday decorating.
Choose a color story.
West Hollywood, Calif.–based interior designer Natasha Baradaran suggests choosing a specific color theme—then employing it through the store’s total design. Metallic hues are evergreen, but there are no rules to color. But avoid the old red-and-green Christmas combo, which is decidedly passé and too closely tied to a single holiday. “Whites combined with mixed metals like gold and silver can feel dramatic and festive,” says Baradaran.
Go for the gold.
Los Angeles designer Oliver M. Furth relies on gold for a chic seasonal spirit. “It’s festive, timeless, and nondenominational,” he says. It’s also a natural for jewelers, as it picks up the shine of the merchandise. Considering a gold theme? Furth recommends “changing the liners in your cases to gold lamé, using gold Lurex ribbon to wrap chairs in your store” and “adding gold foil to the edges of holiday invites.”
Foliage-inspired greens are another elegant option. Westime boutiques incorporate fresh plants such as topiaries, says Laura Q. Hughes, director of communications for the Southern California watch-centric chain. She adds that the store sources most of its seasonal decor from florists and event companies.
Use natural beauty.
LA designer David Phoenix favors more traditional holiday decor, utilizing real garlands and other plant cuttings, which he accents with silver or gold elements. “I love the smell of a real Christmas tree,” he says. “And I like using a collection of old ornaments with new ones mixed in.” Phoenix adds oomph to his natural-feeling decorations with a smattering of white lights.
Be inclusive in your design.
All of the interior designers recommend forgoing any elements that are non-secular or cartoonish (e.g., Frosty the Snowman). And never use items that aren’t in tip-top condition (like fraying bows and strings of lights that are missing bulbs). When in doubt—or short on time—strive for simplicity. “At the end of the day, your holiday decorating should enhance and complement the merchandise, not detract from it,” Furth says.
Go out on a limb.
Not that subdued decorations are always the most effective. Marie Helene Morrow, owner of Reinhold Jewelers in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has used vibrant street-style graffiti in her holiday (and everyday) store designs, to fantastical effect. “I’ve had a graffiti artist come in and decorate a tree or make a tree,” she says. “Sometimes the tree is planks of wood”—maybe not realistic, but festive nonetheless. “We always like to think of something that’s really different. I want it to appeal to everybody.”
A version of this story originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of JCK magazine.
(Ornament: Radius Images/Alamy; metallics: Lubos Chlubny/Alamy)