Sprucing up your premises - checklist

A small business owner plans the redesign of her business premises with colour swatches and fabric samples

Are your premises feeling cramped, cluttered or shabby? Follow our tips to give them - and your staff - a new lease of life.

  • Ask staff and customers how they think your premises could be improved. Involving staff is good for morale and they may suggest changes which improve their productivity. Ask customers what they think, too, and focus your efforts on areas they identify.
  • Get rid of clutter. If your premises are cramped, clear out unused items or documents. Tidy surroundings can have a calming effect. Creating an uncluttered working environment is also good for staff productivity and is more welcoming for visitors.
  • Ensure that you follow the WEEE regulations when disposing of electronic and electrical equipment. These laws allow you to send back equipment to the manufacturer for disposal, free of charge.
  • Use free programmes such as Freecycle to get rid of old furniture. By signing up to the scheme's email alert service, you advertise your unwanted furniture and arrange for its new owner to collect it.
  • Make the most of space. Move your furniture or equipment around, so that your employees have as much breathing space as possible.
  • Make use of natural daylight. Make sure your windows are clean and aren't blocked. If your premises don't benefit from much natural light, make use of artificial lighting, lightly coloured and reflective surfaces to give the illusion of light and space.
  • Review your interior decor. There may be small changes you can make that create character or improve the atmosphere - for example, a restaurant or café might use pictures, mirrors, lampshades and candle holders, all of which can be bought cheaply from second-hand antique and charity shops.
  • Consider your use of colour and finishes. Some colours are known to have energising or inspirational qualities and some finishes will naturally reflect more light.  
  • Think about your company brand.  Do your premises reflect your brand values and what they stand for? Can you incorporate your company logo or colours in your décor?
  • If your walls look shabby, give them a lick of paint. If yours is a creative or community-based business you could consider inviting local artists to paint your walls, providing a canvas for them to display their talent in return for brighter, more interesting premises.
  • Consider your curb appeal. Are your windows and the pavement outside your premises clean and welcoming? Could you add planters with brightly coloured flowers or interesting shrubs to brighten the exterior?
  • Do you need to update your façade? This can dramatically change the appearance of your premises without costing as much as a full refit. You might just want to order new signage or clean up the outside of the building, but there are also agencies that specialise in designing facades.
  • If you have a shop window, make sure the display is changed regularly - otherwise, customers may think you have nothing new to offer them. Don't clutter your display, ensure it is well lit and make sure the contents are timely.

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