Tips for Remodeling Your Salon from an Award-Winning Interior Designer


Welcome back to the Beyond The Technique blog! We recently published a blog that was all about Salon Design 101 with award-winning interior designer, Leslie McGwire. We enjoyed chatting with her so much, that we brought her back to talk about the rules every salon owner should know before remodeling a salon. 

If you missed her first interview, here is a quick recap about Leslie: she has been in the interior design business for over 30 years and specializes in high-end jewelers and salon and spa interior design. Leslie has won multiple awards for her work, including America’s Coolest Store and Salon of the Year. Leslie is an industry rock star, and we’re excited to have her back! 

When to Remodel Your Salon

If you’re reading this, chances are you are a salon manager, owner, or stylist. For us, our office is our salon, so what do you do when your current location needs a facelift, but you aren’t quite ready to relocate? Remodeling is a great option, but how do you know when it’s the right time for your salon? To make the right decision, Leslie recommends asking yourself these questions:

  • Does your salon look outdated? 
  • Does your equipment look like it belongs in the nineties (or worse!)? 
  • Is your equipment mismatched – with some old and some new? 
  • Does your furniture have some wear and tear? 
  • Is there paint chipping on the walls? Or, are the walls an outdated color? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time for a remodel! It’s important to keep your salon looking fresh and updated. This is especially important for salons because people go to a salon to get a fresh look and to stay in style. And potential customers will think twice if your salon doesn’t look like it understands what’s in style. 

Leslie suggests that a good rule of thumb is to remodel every three to five years. Now this doesn’t mean you do a complete overhaul every few years, that would not be feasible. But you should be doing small-to-medium scale updates – like fresh paint, new pedicure chairs, or new flooring – every few years to keep your salon updated. And then leave the bigger remodels for closer to five years. 

Don’t let this recommendation freak you out. There are so many ways to remodel your salon without breaking the bank. Interior design has come a long way in recent years. For example, there are a lot of affordable flooring options that look great and have low maintenance, such as designer vinyl and porcelain tiles. And if you want to keep the updates inexpensive, but not look cheap, reach out to a designer! They are a great resource for cost-efficient updates. 

Once you’ve decided to remodel – talk it up! Get your stylists and guests excited for the change. Make sure your stylists mention it to their customers throughout the day, send out an email announcement, and mention it on social. You can even put together a design board and have it on display in your retail section to give guests a sneak peek. 

Quick Tip: After you’ve completed a remodel you want to make sure to celebrate! Again, announce it on all of your channels and host an open house party or event to show off the new place! 

How Much Time Does it Take to Remodel? 

The number one thing salon owners don’t accurately account for when it comes to a remodel is time. How much time it will take to plan, how much time it will take to get in new equipment or materials, heck, even finding time to do the actual remodel work. 

Leslie suggests working with a contractor who can commit to working nights and the days your salon isn’t open. The goal is to keep your salon doors closed for the least amount of time possible – and a good contractor will understand that. But for a big remodel project, you should plan to be closed for a solid week. However, there’s a caveat. To get a big project done in that short amount of time, you have to have everything scheduled and orchestrated – floors and light fixtures should be installed before you paint, which needs to be done before your equipment is delivered, the list goes on. Your remodel needs to operate like clockwork or you will lose out on potential revenue. This factor alone is why it’s important to work with an experienced interior designer who also offers project management as part of the contract. They can help manage those details to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. 

Things to Consider Before Remodeling Your Salon

Before you begin any remodel project, take time to analyze your current situation. Do you like where your shampoo station is located? Can the plumbing even be moved if you don’t like the shampoo location? If you want to rearrange your stations, how much will it costs to reroute the electrical work? Details like this are very important to consider before beginning. 

It’s also worth evaluating your future in your current space. Are you leasing your salon? How much longer will you be in that location? Is it worth putting money into a remodel when you want to be out in a year or so? Answering these questions will help you determine if it’s time for you to remodel. 

Remodeling your salon can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it! The average increase in revenue for a salon is 20 percent in the first year after a remodel. So just do it! A remodel will keep your salon looking fresh, your clientele impressed, and help increase your bottom line. 

To learn more about Leslie McGwire, listen to her first podcast, episode 118. And to listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 124

Emily Kelly