I'm deciding on a colour palette for my new boutique, which sells ethnic Indian wear. Should I go with dark coloured ceilings and floors, or a lighter scheme?
In retail design, understanding and working with colour psychology is key. It is a sure-fire way to affect footfall - if you get it right you can drive sales through the roof.
Before you decide on a paint colour, ask yourself: What is the ambience I want to create? How high is the shop ceiling? Who is the target demographic?
Using dark colours on a low ceiling can make a space feel oppressive. Sometimes designers use this technique intentionally to create intimate atmospheres. Lighting is critical here, and it's a thin line between intimate and gloomy.
Dark ceilings work particularly well if you have the luxury of height. Colin Beaton of Limelight Creative Services, a retail strategy firm based in Dubai, says painting ceilings dark gets the customer to focus their attention at eye level, where the products are displayed. Dark tones also hide inconsistencies in ceiling finish and create a contrasting backdrop for elements suspended from it.
If you have a low ceiling, it might be better to go for a "light and open" feel by painting the ceiling the same pale tone as the walls. This will give you an added sense of height.
Interior design and colour palette are important elements of a retail experience, but remember that they are simply the backdrop for your product. Indian fabrics are rich in colour, infused with intricate detail and patterning, so be sure the colour palette of the store doesn't compete for attention.
Opt for neutral tones on the walls. Combine this with reflective surfaces such as mirrors and back-painted glass to make your space look larger and encourage your customers to linger. Research suggests that Generation Y (people born in the 1980s) likes vibrant hues, while older shoppers prefer muted palettes. This is important to consider once you have determined your target demographic.
Finally, after focusing so much on the ceiling, don't forget about flooring, which can guide customers to the heart of your shop. One trick is to change the flooring in areas you want to draw attention to. Another is to add a poured resin floor. You can use patterns, lines or text to engage and direct your customers. Preferred Flooring in Dubai specialises in decorative resin flooring (www.preferred.ae).
Pallavi Dean is an award-winning independent design consultant who practises in the UAE. If you have a question for her, email email@example.com