Intelligent Design

While each element of a salon, from the reception desk to the pedicure area, is essential to the overall aesthetic, adding unique details can really elevate the space. "Finishes truly enhance the interior of a salon and transform it into a space that everyone is talking about," says Jennifer Millspaugh, an interior designer with Old Saybrook, CT-based Salon Design Crew. Here, Millspaugh shares some ideas on giving your salon that extra-special touch.


USE ELEMENTS OF LIGHT. "Translucent acrylic panels can be used throughout a salon and spa," Millspaugh says. "They look fantastic as walls, illuminated desk fronts, backsplashes and more." These eco-friendly light-filtering sheets are made by encapsulating recycled or organic material inside resins or acrylics.

ADD EYE-CATCHING TEXTURES TO WALLS. Decorative three-dimensional panels can give dramatic interest to hallways or backdrops behind reception desks or be used as accent walls in styling areas. Designs range from carved-out medium-density fiberboard to ornamental textures made from rock-hard composites. Most can be painted to match the space, but Millspaugh says that lighter colors work best to show off the sculptural elements of the panels.

INVEST IN REAL WOOD VENEERS. "Nothing says rich and luxurious like real wood veneers," Millspaugh says. "This finish will give your salon a soothing and timeless look of beauty and distinction. Though they may cost a bit more than traditional plastic laminate, the look and feel pays for itself."

BE CONCRETE. Concrete is another versatile material that looks trendy and sleek when used in a salon atmosphere. It can be poured into any shape—such as a countertop or sink—tinted to any color, and given any finish. —L.M.

For more tips and salon design ideas, or to contact Jennifer Millspaugh, visit