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Designed for Success, Part II

By: Annet King
Posted: June 23, 2008, from the June 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

The message from Part I of this article that ran in May is that you need to create and sustain two seemingly opposed energies in your spa environment—retail and treatment.

But you don’t want to create a feeling of friction or conflict; the yin and yang are components within an integrated whole. One way to do this is by using color. Again, endless theories abound, but generally it is a growing notion that white walls aren’t ideal. They seem cold and clinical, even for a medical spa environment. Still, the hygienic message conveyed by white must be communicated with color in every inch of the facility. One way to do this is with a tropical, citrusy palette, including sunny yellows and tangerines for your yang areas—entry and retail—and fresh, subdued aquamarines, turquoises and grass greens for the yin treatment areas—showers and relaxation spaces. These colors can be made very subtle when mixed with white, but still are a bit zingier than traditional pastels.

Pink, flesh and peach tones are traditional choices for spas. It certainly is a matter of taste, and these hues do flatter most skin tones. They can seem dated, however. An exception would be hot fuchsia paired with brown, white and silver for a cosmopolitan, metrosexual vibe, which may or may not work for your clientele. Earth tones also are a mixed bag. Although rusts, browns and terra cottas are grounding and soothing, they tend to look muddy if they aren’t mixed perfectly, may make the skin look sallow and can drag down the energy level like a bag of wet sand, so handle them with care.

The heart of the matter

In a perfect world—or at least a perfect spa—the treatment area itself is situated in the heart of the space. Generally, however, it is located at the back of a facility or down a long hall, tucked away to the side.

Treatment rooms are the real reason why clients show up, but it’s a mistake to sink a lot of your budget into their décor. This is simply because clients’ eyes are closed most of the time they are in these areas. Therefore, you don’t need an original Picasso on the wall. Far more important is the design—meaning the architectural logic and placement—especially from an ergonomic standpoint, keeping the body mechanics of the therapist your top priority. This also adds to the in-room experience. Designing the room in a way that allows therapists to consistently do their best work means taking into account the following key factors.