When planning the layout of your salon, you'll want to think about how to best maximize your space without causing it to feel cramped. You of course want to fit in as many clients as possible at any given time, but you also want each one to feel comfortable.

First, decide on your washing space. It should be in an area of the salon or spa that is accessible for clients and allows for maximum stylist movement, but if at all possible it should also be a space that will not require much walking around outstretched client legs. You should be sure that you have access to all water valves and any plumbing connections related to your washing area should problems crop up. Consider shampoo cabinets above or next to wash basins to hold towels, shampoos, and other products your stylists will need. This will keep stylists from having to leave clients alone in shampoo chairs to search for salon supplies and will also contribute to a tidy and well-kept atmosphere in your salon.

As for the number of shampoo stations to include, it is recommended that you set up at least 1/3 of the number of styling chairs you plan to have. If possible, you should also set up a separate small area for chemical mixing for dyes so that the harsh smells do not assault clients in the rest of the facility. Ensure proper ventilation for this area for the health and safety of your stylists.

Your drying area should follow similar guidelines as your washing space; make sure that you provide a comfortable space that is not in the way, and that your electrical outlets are properly equipped to run powerful salon dryers.

Your styling space is the heart of your salon and the best place for you to get creative with your layout. You can set it up any way you prefer depending on your space; just be sure that there is plenty of room so that your stylists and clients do not feel crammed together. Also be sure to provide plenty of storage for stylist equipment, salon supplies, and accessories (again, closed cabinets contribute to the impression of cleanliness in your salon).

Finally, don't neglect your reception and waiting area. This space provides your clients with their first impression of your business. Invest in a professional-looking desk, preferably with a high divider in front to hide scheduling books, sensitive client information, and general administrative clutter from your patrons. Consider installing retail display shelves for products in this space where clients will already have payment at the ready. Make sure that you provide an amount of salon waiting chairs that is proportional to the number of stylist chairs you have. If you have the space, purchase a coat rack for client convenience.

We hope this has provided the inspiration to jump-start your salon or spa layout. Once you've made these general decisions, you can move on to the fun part: decorating and outfitting your space!