Store Window Displays: From Idea to Execution

Learn How to Design & Execute a Store Window Design

Posted on 15, April, 2015

Last Modified on 29, April, 2015

This article lays out insider tips and tricks for crafting an effective store window display. Put your ideas into action with these helpful and inexpensive suggestions!


Pops of Color Draw Attention

There’s more to designing an effective and attractive retail window display than just simply displaying your merchandise. Instead, view your store’s window design as an opportunity to make your business stand out from the crowd. You can use it to create a place that will embody your store’s mission and brand - one that makes passersby do a double-take or even stop in their tracks. If your current window display is boring and predictable you are truly missing out on an incredible marketing opportunity. To correct this, all you really need to do is get creative!

Follow these suggestions when first conceptualizing your window design:

  • Take advantage of nontraditional elements to create customer interest
  • Avoid the predictable - this is your chance to set the shop apart from cookie-cutter chain stores
  • Make it attractive, memorable, intriguing, and colorful so customers stop & stare
  • Add elements that are not necessarily product related but add context
  • Think from the point of view of the passerby - what will be visible from street level?

Next, you'll want to develop a specific theme for your window display with these conceptual elements in mind and map out exactly what you want it to look like.

Start by Sketching Your Design!

Sketch Out Your Store Window Design

It doesn't have to be perfect, or even that good! The purpose of the sketch is to develop a creative vision and plan to reference as you execute the window design. Making the drawing to scale will help you realize how much space needs to be filled and what should go where before you make any purchases or start any DIY crafts.


Now that you have your concept, you need to actually make it happen. This is much easier said than done...

Here are some ideas to help you turn your design into a reality:

  1. Use bright colors and dramatic shapes to draw the eye
  2. Vary display heights using risers, tables, or other furniture
  3. Backdrops of all kinds help the items in the display pop
    • Try hanging strips of fabric, wallpaper, or ribbon
    • Be careful not to completely block view of the interior of the store; use just enough to create some intrigue
  4. Mannequin presentation should be simple, deliberate, & tasteful
  5. Lighting draws attention and illuminates goods - even when the store is closed!
    • Strings of white Christmas lights
    • Spotlights
    • Paper Lanterns
  6. Save money & try out some thrift store finds
    • Paint old frames in modern colors and suspend from the ceiling in intriguing patterns
    • Use old chairs or tables for merchandise
    • Hang or drape a vintage floral fabric for a backdrop
    • Thrift stores are a great place to find those nontraditional elements mentioned earlier
  7. DIY Decorations
    • Tissue paper flowers - check out this great tutorial
    • Paper mache + paint = anything & everything!
    • Get creative!
  8. Play with inexpensive design elements - a few hours of craft time could save you a lot of money
    • Sheets
    • Wrapping paper
    • Fake flowers & greenery
    • Ribbon
    • Tissue Paper
Display Risers

Multi-tiered riser display

Mannequins for Displaying Clothing & Accessories

Abstract mannequin

Tissue Paper Pom-Poms

Tissue paper flowers


Here's a little more inspiration to help get you started!

A Creative & Branded Window Display
Use of nontraditional elements, colors, & shapes
Use of Attractive Backdrops & Decorations
Use of colorful backdrops, well-styled mannequins, nontraditional birch tree stands, & inexpensive lighting
Use Mannequins to Promote Clothing
Simply styled mannequins reflect store's brand identity
Bright Pops of Color Attract Attention
Bright pops of color draw the customer's eye.
Mannequin Window Display Example
Mannequins reflect the store's identity.
Dress Shows Showcase Merchandise
A DIY backdrop fills empty space and generates intrigue.
Themed Seasonal Window Display
A beautiful winter wonderland concept with a backdrop to fit the theme, including pops of color on mannequins to draw the eye.
Mannequins with Sale Tags
Extra-large price tags to annouce a sale with gusto.
A Creative Back-to-School Window Display
A creative mix of nontraditional elements, thought-out mannequin presentation, pops of color, and store branding!
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