Visual merchandising takes some practice. And when you’re looking for inspo, the internet gods certainly do provide. But soon you find yourself sick of scrolling through visual merchandising displays on Pinterest, full of ideas and completely overwhelmed, right?
Pinterest is fabulous for inspo, but let’s be brutally honest; those million dollar store displays are just a teeensy bit out of reach.
Instead, here’s 19 visual merchandising display ideas you can actually make use of. Totally DIY-friendly. I’ve provided the what, the who and the how-to below.
Read on to transform your shop into an aesthetically beautiful, customer-attracting goldmine.
Visual Merchandising Displays
Natural Merchandising display
THE INSPIRATION: Yöli & Otis showroom
WHY IT WORKS: Natural tones showcase luxurious neutral products
HOW TO DO IT: Use raw, unpolished timber display tables and furniture along with natural jute rugs. Simple wire frame baskets and coat hangers allow the products to stay in the spotlight. And a simple timber hanging clothes rack (ahem.. old broomstick handle) completes that light, airy feel. Use plentiful space between products and display areas. Too much clutter looks cheap. Space = luxury.
Wabi Sabi Visual Merchandising
THE INSPIRATION: Atelier St. George studio showroom
WHY IT WORKS: Dark, earthy tones blend with heavy textures
HOW TO DO IT: Rough walls help, but you can add texture with wallpaper, paint effects or grainy display furnishings. Think gritty, not dirty. Stack ceramics, textiles, homewares, clothing and soft furnishings in flowing layers. Works best with plenty of natural light.
Surface Contrast Window display
THE INSPIRATION: St Agni boutique, Brisbane
WHY IT WORKS: Soft, warm products against cold, hard surfaces
HOW TO DO IT: Arrange products against a contrasting surface, like soft leather accessories or delicate clothing against hard concrete, marble, or stone. Or solid products like wine bottles or skincare products against softer surfaces like linen, fur or sand.
Merchandising Complimentary Patterns
THE INSPIRATION: Cloth & Goods studio
WHY IT WORKS: Matching colour base for patterned textiles
HOW TO DO IT: Patterns can be hard to arrange, but using colour groups ties them together harmoniously. Arrange similar colour groups together, with plenty of space between each colour set. Use natural decor and display furniture like the rustic wooden ladder pictured. If you can’t match colour sets, keep identical pattern ranges together or pad with solid colours products in the same hue.
Colour Block Product Displays
THE INSPIRATION: Mejuri fine jewellery store
WHY IT WORKS: Colour blocks draw the customer’s eye to subtle product differences
HOW TO DO IT: Use for stores with multiple product types. Paint some surfaces in warm & bold colours, and others in complimentary subtle colours. Each colour block should highlight a different product set and create a consistent backdrop to give the eye a rest between products.
Colour Coded Product display
THE INSPIRATION: The Little Market store
WHY IT WORKS: Colour groups are aesthetically pleasing & easy to browse
HOW TO DO IT: Use identical neutral colours on all walls, display fixtures and furnishings. Preferably stark white. Let the products stand out. Arrange in harmonious colour groups that run the full wall. Clashing colour products belong in a separate grouping, either on tables, opposite walls, or small display nooks.
Two-tone window display
THE INSPIRATION: Tropical Deluxe window display by CF Magali
WHY IT WORKS: Simplistic colour repetition and a central focus point product
HOW TO DO IT: Paint a backdrop wall and either thin ply board or study cardboard cutouts in your brand colours. Separate with paper cutout foliage in various shades and tints to add depth. Feature one main product only, and keep supporting products in complimentary but neutral tones.
Hospitality Visual Merchandising
THE INSPIRATION: Merah restaurant, Melbourne
WHY IT WORKS: Soothing clean lines and repetition encourage relaxation
HOW TO DO IT: Use either coloured walls or coloured shelving. One single colour works best. Fill with long, repetitive lines of product or servingware. A few feature products can be highlighted, but keep it clean. This works just as well in hospitality as in salons, yoga studios, skincare stores, ceramics, candles, soaps and wine merchants.
Textural Display Furniture
THE INSPIRATION: Pampa store, Byron Bay
WHY IT WORKS: Woodgrain reinforces the natural qualities of the products
HOW TO DO IT: Unpainted timber plinths can be purchased or easily made from plywood. Alternatively, you can sand back simplistic furniture or stools. Keep your display props tightly positioned. This works best against a stark, neutral floor and wall colour.
Harmonic Colour Spotlight
THE INSPIRATION: Delvaux Paris showroom
WHY IT WORKS: Soft natural greens create a harmonious product spotlight
HOW TO DO IT: Start with a clean, white base. Choose your feature colour carefully. Position all plinths before painting. Use a front-on spotlight to mark your circle. Paint your wall colour a shade darker than your display plinths. A textured paint finish on the wall gives a luxurious effect.
Pop Up Store Visual Merchandising
THE INSPIRATION: Dôen clothing pop-up shop
WHY IT WORKS: Strong colour repetition against unobtrusive fixtures
HOW TO DO IT: Pop up shops often start as a monotonously blank canvas. Use bold, richly coloured products en masse to create vibrancy. Textured furnishings like cane chairs and monochrome patterned rugs can add interest to an otherwise cold, industrial space.
Food Retail Visual Merchandising
THE INSPIRATION: Via Porta cafe restaurant, Melbourne
WHY IT WORKS: Repetitive displays with identical packaging fixate attention
HOW TO DO IT: Instead of displaying a few items at a time, empty the back store room onto the shelves in obsessively neat rows. Place items with identical packaging together. Repeat products in rows. A solid wall colour behind the shelving helps the products come to life.
Visual Merchandising Decor
THE INSPIRATION: RAW, Sunshine Coast store
WHY IT WORKS: Clean white and brown decor compliment natural products
HOW TO DO IT: Spray paint (or paint) store decor items like vases and light fittings in crisp white for a clean, unobtrusive look. Simple framed photography or artwork in subtle colours can finish off a store nicely. You can use your brand colours for a vibrant burst or stick to white and neutral bases.
Focal Colour Visual Merchandising
THE INSPIRATION: Lucy Folk, Sydney store
WHY IT WORKS: Products take centre stage against a single focal colour wall
HOW TO DO IT: Use wallpaper or paint in your main brand colour. Use the identical shade for product shelves and any fixtures. Undershelf lighting highlights these products, but natural light can also work. Arrange products in long, clean and repetitive lines.
Warm Wood Visual Merchandising
THE INSPIRATION: General Store
WHY IT WORKS: Woodgrain warms a cold store and compliment products
HOW TO DO IT: If you have a predominantly cold-feeling retail shop, like this concrete and white brick example, use generous amounts of timber furnishings as a base to add warmth and life. Arrange products in groupings, with neatness but not too much order for a pleasing, natural flow.
Layered Visual Merchandising Displays
THE INSPIRATION: Aje store, Adelaide
WHY IT WORKS: Multiple product heights and angles offer a prolonged in-store experience
HOW TO DO IT: A simple way to encourage customers to linger longer is to add dynamic displays to your retail shop. Mix wall racks with display tables of varying heights and sizes. This works particularly well for businesses with small product ranges. Note how this example uses different textures in the floor, plinths, walls, racks and planter pot to create visual interest.
Colourful Visual Merchandising
THE INSPIRATION: Takeawei retail shop, Melbourne
WHY IT WORKS: Vibrant products jump out from plain display furnishings
HOW TO DO IT: Don’t underestimate clean, white surfaces for walls and display shelving. A floating timber floor adds warmth. And plants, mirrors and flowers give a homely feel. Help customers imagine the products in use with minimalist additions, like the billy button flowers in the small vases here.
Retail Boutique Merchandising
THE INSPIRATION: The Attic X Lilya store
WHY IT WORKS: Soft furnishings + decor make products feel ‘at home’
HOW TO DO IT: Start with colour. Warm the space with coloured dressing room curtains, velvety-soft upholstered seating, bouquets of dried or tastefully coloured flowers and subtle artworks or decorations between products. Door handles, jewellery stands and clothes racks in warm metals like copper, rose gold or brass add a classy finishing touch.
Natural Element Decor
THE INSPIRATION: Linda & co, by Blackspace
WHY IT WORKS: Minimalist natural elements reinforce luxurious, natural products
HOW TO DO IT: Use a single, focal branch with rocks or small tree in a natural pot. Keep it simple, but sturdy. Use for window display or a stagnant corner – somewhere safe from swinging handbags and accompanying children. Avoid bright green plants in favour of softer greens like olive trees. Large, dry foliage can also work.
Not everybody has a great eye for visual merchandising displays.
Getting that balance right between low cost solutions and a luxury feel is definitely an art. But hopefully this gives you a good start. Add a spot of good branding, a healthy serving of great products and a dash of superb customer service, and you’re good to go!
Remember to use what you’ve got. Big, small, cold, dark, it doesn’t matter all that much – there’s almost always a way to make it look brilliant. I adore working with small retail spaces to make the most of them, no matter how raw (or challenging) the starting materials are.
One more tip for the road: if in doubt, cut it out. Less is infinitely more when it comes to visual merchandising displays for premium products.
Best of luck to you.
HI, I'm SARAH
I’m here to help you work smarter, not harder. I teach passionate business owners how to charge premium prices, attract the best customers, save time and make money with ease.