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It’s a truth of running a business that appearances matter. From product size and packaging to employee uniforms and the decor of a retail space, how your business looks to both potential and returning customers could mean the difference between a sale and a hard pass.

This is especially the case for retail spaces. Investing in refreshing the look of your shop can attract new customers and inspire regular clients, resulting in significant sales growth. But running a small business often means tight margins. Refreshing the decor of your retail space may make good business sense, but how can you afford to update?

Despite what design magazines and decorators may tell you, updating the look of your shop doesn’t have to break the bank. When it comes to livening up a space, all it takes is a little creativity, a dose of imagination, and some elbow grease.

1. Make a statement

Create a visual impact with paint. Whether it’s an accent wall to highlight new product displays or a touch-up of fixtures or shelves, a bit of fresh color can go a long way. Consider the size and shape of your space — if it’s small, open it up with light colors. If you want to create a cozy atmosphere, choose a warmer color in a darker shade. If you have exposed ducts or beams, try painting them a bright color to liven up the space or paint them the same color as the ceiling to camouflage them.

2. Light it up

Proper lighting can make your store shine, glow, shimmer, or sparkle — the choice is up to you. Simply changing out the light bulbs to a different type of light — brighter or dimmer — can work visual magic. Light color is measured on the Kelvin (K) temperature scale. The lower the number, the more yellow the light will appear. Mid-range and higher numbers denote whiter or bluer light. Choose what works best for your space and make the most of the colors you are already using.

If your light fixtures are portable, play around with where they are placed for the best effect. If you have a little cash to spare, update your lighting fixtures, or add a new light that strategically highlights an area of your store you want to bring more attention to.

3. Replace old signage

Replacing any outdated or worn signage on your windows, walls, or storefront can instantly perk up your shop for minimal cost. It’s easy to get creative with the signs you choose to use. Try using chalkboard paint to create an easy-to-change menu to highlight specials and deals, strategically place floor decals to direct customers to different areas of your shop, or add blocks of colorful wall decals or inspirational quotes throughout the interior to capture your customers’ attention.

4. Add accent pieces

You don’t need to buy an entire set of furniture to give your store a face lift. Survey your space to find the most visually obvious piece of furniture and either refurbish it or replace it with a different accent piece. Cruise local flea markets and estate or garage sales for unique finds; look online for deals on used pieces or find a local artisan and offer to trade in-kind for something new.

5. Get rid of clutter

Nothing interrupts a sleek aesthetic more than unneeded clutter. Be brutal and get rid of everything in your store that doesn’t need to be there. Clearing up your space allows customers to easily see what you are selling, and they can comfortably access it. A clutter-free space also feels more inviting and organized, which can increase your foot traffic to browse your well-ordered shelves.

6. Become a gallery

Want fresh art for your walls, but can’t afford to buy inventory? Reach out to local artists and offer your walls as a place to sell their work. Your space gets an image update and you can charge a commission on sales of their work. Exhibition openings are also great ways to bring in new customers, who can browse your products while supporting their favorite artist.

7. Don’t forget your staff

Even if it’s only you attending the register, it’s worth it to look your best. Update your image with new shirts with iron-on badges, patches, or decals with your logo or brand on them. Crisp, new shirts instantly add a sense of professionalism to your business and can double as free marketing if you wear them outside of work while running errands.

It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money to instantly refresh your retail environment. Make room on your calendar and plan for small upgrades throughout the year or plan a full revamp behind closed doors during a slow season. Just remember to be creative and have fun!

For more information on how to update your retail presence with quality, unique products, visit www.stickeryou.com.