Expert Tips for a Holiday Storefront Display on a Budget

Tips from Sally Dailey, Artist & Interior Designer

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

According to research, the average small business owner spends just a few hundred dollars decorating their storefront window for the holidays. That might seem like a small budget, but there’s a lot you can do!

We spoke to artist and interior designer Sally Dailey, who provided tips on how to make the most out of your storefront display. She also shared examples of window decoration themes and the materials you’ll need to get started on your storefront window display.

No matter what you’re designing, excellence begins with proper planning!

First, you’ll want to determine your message. In doing so, make sure to ask yourself a few questions–What do you want to say? How do you want your display to look? That’s what I did before coming up with the examples below.

Next, start to imagine your store window as a stage. This is where your story comes to life. There’s a backdrop, a floor, a ceiling, lighting, set décor, supporting cast members and the stars of the show. Keep it simple, yet bold. Remember: less is more. Your display must be graphic, clean, legible and easy to understand.

Once you have your message and can start to envision some great ways to transform your window, it’s time to start thinking about the display’s design.

Think eclectic

This simply means mixing styles of contrasting colors, using both large and small shapes and using different fonts to draw one’s eye. This will make people want to look again because it is not usual or expected. In fact, a slight clash of shapes, styles or colors creates tremendous intrigue and energy, and that’s a very good thing! Lastly, by adding an element of surprise, you hook your audience. My example in “The Perfect Package” is the surprise of the elf carrying the packages instead of a person.

Choose your colors

Before you start working on your display, lock down the color palette you want to use. You can use any materials, whether that’s paper or paint samples, to get an idea of how each color will look in your window.

Now that the scene is set, it’s time to start creating. Here are some tips to make your storefront display really pop.

Give it dimension
There are some simple ways to give your display a 3D effect, no special glasses necessary!

  • Stagger image boards, items, etc. so that some are in the foreground and some in the background.
  • On printed material, add a heavy shadow line. Words will look thick and dimensional.
  • Place darker items in background and brighter/lighter objects up front.
  • Illuminate from the front with a small spotlight. This adds drama.

Let it shine
Use mirrors, glass and glittery metal along with a small spotlight to give your display some sparkle.

Make it fun and festive
This is for the Holidays, after all!

With the above tips in mind, I’ve provided 4 examples of themes for storefront displays and the materials you’ll need to bring them to life.

1. Holidays Look Bright

About the Look
The color palette is sophisticated: soft citron green, with pops of red in the words “merry“ & "bright”. The glittered accents on the coasters add sparkle to draw people in. Our element of surprise is that the two wreaths are actually forming sunglasses! The large Ampersand adds a hip statement to the otherwise simple, smaller scaled words.

What You’ll Need

  • 24 Printed paper coasters: 9 printed bright red, 8 printed glittered gold, 7 printed glittered silver
  • Gold or Silver string and clear tape (used to create the garlands with coasters)
  • 2.5’ x 4’ Floor standups or two 2.5’ x 4’ floor standups for a larger window and larger graphic image
  • 6’ of battery-powered LED twinkle light strands
  • 24” to 28” diameter green and holly wreaths and small garland of same for nose bridge

2. Reindeer Games

About the Look
A classic window that creates eclectic flair by mixing traditional elements of holly garlands, plaid taffeta ribbon, charcoal backboard with fun handwritten fonts stating the Reindeer’s names. The applied glitter on the Antler’s adds a sparkle of panache! Add twinkle lights and make sure to backlight and away you go!

What You’ll Need

  • 2.5’ x 4’ Floor standups or 1 to 2 boards depending on size of window
  • 6’ of holly garlands
    • 7 yards of ribbon for border
    • Bronze decorative tacks to tack ribbon onto board
    • Chalkboard black paint for the background
  • 4” x 8’ Masonite back board (1/8” thick and white board on backside)
    • Paint on the brown, Masonite side

3. Peace on Earth

About the Look
This window is for the Earth lovers! The peace sign can be printed onto the board or be applied on top. Either way, the areas of glitter give a contemporary glamour to an understated, yet powerful message! Twinkle lights and a front spotlight will make this shine brightly- clean and strong with nontraditional colors.

What You’ll Need

  • 2.5’ x 4’ Floor standups or 1 to 2 boards depending on size of window
  • Silver glitter and Elmer’s Glue to accent PEACE and peace sign on printed board
  • 30 printed paper coasters
  • Silver string and tape to create the garlands
  • 2 to 3 rolls of ribbon for the garlands

4. The Perfect Package

About the Look
This display is pure fun and whimsy! The printed packages need to be clean, bright colors to visually pop off the board. The huge glittered ribbon ties the whole concept together. Our element of surprise is that all you see is the elf’s hat, hands and feet. A sprinkle of faux glitter snow at the base sets a scene that will intrigue young and old alike!

What You’ll Need

  • 2.5’ x 4’ Floor standup
    • Poster board to cut elf shoes
  • Coasters
  • Silver string and tape to create hanging ho-ho-hos
    • Sliver glitter–to accent large ribbon on packages
    • Elmer’s Glue®
    • Ribbon

About the Author

Sally Dailey is a seasoned Artist & Interior Designer that has been in the industry for 30+ years. She established a firm base with her initial company, Mississippi Household Goods, offering hand-painted home accessories sold in boutiques and Neiman Marcus. This lead to Sally’s artwork licensed on manufactured products worldwide, all the while, maintaining her client base for residential and commercial interiors. Sally’s unique style and artistic approach allows each project to be a complete standout and reflects the style of her clients.

Sally is based in the Midwest and has had the privilege of working with individuals across the globe and her artwork has even been collected by well-known celebrities.

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