How to Create Captivating Store Displays

Eye-catching props, such as this antler chandelier, create compelling displays that draw traffic through your store.

By Lyn M. Falk, Retailworks Inc.

The importance of in-store displays cannot be overstated.

People’s feet follow their eyes, and when displays are properly designed and positioned, your customers will have shopped your entire store before they know it.

To be effective, displays must function as well-coordinated focal points that are strategically placed throughout your store. They often incorporate display props and should be changed regularly.

The most successful displays have good composition. This means they utilize the elements and principles of design to bring products together in a way that is both attractive and helps the viewer quickly make sense of the display. A common and effective rule of thumb is to group display items in odd numbers, i.e., three, five or seven, as the visual rhythm of a lineup of odd-numbered objects is visually pleasing.

Another quick way to get a product line to stand out from its surroundings is by stacking products in the shape of a pyramid for 360-degree viewing.

Also, displays should be illuminated three-times brighter than their surrounding ambient light to attract attention and provide a visual pop. A simple sign can also be incorporated, but make sure it is consistent with the design of other signage in the store.

When planning your displays, be sure to spend some time determining a theme, whether it’s seasonal, lifestyle oriented, humorous, color-based, linked to a community event, or reflective of a promotion or event you are running. Themes help coordinate your artistic efforts. Keep in mind that display themes that evoke a positive emotion are often followed by a purchase.

Here are some ideas for creating engaging furniture and appliance displays:

  • Build a large and long (oversized) trestle table and make each place setting different and unusual (think out of the box!). Place a different chair at each table setting and hang a crazy-long “faux chandelier” made out of silverware above the table.
  • Provide visuals showing how a mattress or sofa is made and what’s inside it. People love to learn about the what and how of a product, and an educational display also enhances a dealer’s authority standing.
  • Use multiples of something to garner attention, such as hanging a rash of cooking utensils or fabric swatches from a ceiling grid.
  • Stack pillows to the ceiling (using strong string), each in a different colored pillowcase, and watch people gawk!
  • Create a summer picnic vignette, complete with picnic table, coolers, grills and badminton set. Place the vignette on an elevated platform and/or hang a large outdoor fabric umbrella over it to draw attention from a distance.
  • Create a pyramid of pots and pans and place Santa’s hat on top.
  • Stack sturdy packing boxes to create different platforms and place fun mannequins on each to promote your shipping or delivery service expertise.
  • Hang a bed off of a wall (why not?).

Don’t forget the importance of price when it comes to creating a display.

When selecting props, be sure their quality is consistent with the quality of the product line. Never use cheap, hand-me-down props with higher-end products.

Final Advice

When assembling a display, be sure to ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it attract and hold attention long enough to get a customer engaged?
  • Does it tell a story, and quickly?
  • Does it stimulate interest in the product?
  • Does it create desire for the product?
  • Does it move the customer to action and inspire them to buy something?

Need more ideas or help creating displays? Reach out to me at

Lyn M. Falk is President and Founder of Retailworks, Inc., an award-winning branding, design, display and consulting firm specializing in retail, corporate and hospitality spaces. A registered interior designer and retail consultant, and a contributor to AVB’s store Makeover Manual, Falk has devoted over 35 years to teaching and helping retailers and business professionals build healthy, purposeful and productive spaces that move hearts, minds and merchandise. Contact Lyn at

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