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The freedom to create a space that’s uniquely you is one of the things that drew you to Sola Salon Studios in the first place. But, striking the right balance between daring individualism and spa-like serenity isn’t easy. We’ve got you covered with simple tips and practical advice from some of the best decorators around.

Beware of Bold

“Ah, bold colors,” sighs Jennifer Comfort, a color consultant in Denver who is so good at her job she’s earned herself a reputation as The Color Psychic. While big, bright hues are a great tool for self-expression, they can also be a bit disruptive if used improperly. Jenifer recently re-did a salon in the Cherry Creek neighborhood in Denver – she was called in because the original paint made it too hard to see true color on finished hair. Avoid acid greens and orange at all costs, Jennifer says. Neutrals, especially grays, are smart. Blacks and blues can also work, adds CJ Knapp, Lead Interior Designer and Creative Director at Savvy Style Surrounding in Ladue, Missouri.

The Accent Wall

If you can’t live without a vibrant color in your studio, Jennifer suggests putting bold paint on one wall instead of every wall. The caveat: pick a wall that reflects the least amount onto your client through the mirror.

Create a Trademark

Still looking for a way to stand out? A trademark can help, says Joni Spear of Joni Spear Interior Design. First, you’ll need to know what mood you’re aiming for. If Zen’s your thing, think nature: “Earth and peaceful colors,” Joni says. Add a beige leather chair, introduce incandescent lighting with floor or table lamps, or try a tabletop waterfall. To create a modern aesthetic, monotone colors are your best bet, and you might even hang chandeliers or pendant fixtures. For traditional style, you might consider framing artwork and mirrors in gilded antique frames.

Add Artwork

CJ’s stylist is located in Sola Salon Studios St. Louis, and CJ loves how each studio is different and private. Adding one of two stunning pieces of art is a fantastic -- and subtle -- way to let your personality shine through. Anything from a unique oil-on-canvas piece to a well-planned gallery wall of black and white photographs will work. (Psst: Shop Ikea for affordable and simple frames.) Consider choosing a local artist, and displaying her card. Who knows? The artist might reciprocate with referrals!

Old Hollywood Glam

Old Hollywood style is classic and oh-so-chic. To achieve it, use a combination of black and white, but make everything larger and grander than life, Joni says. Opt for over-sized everything: fixtures, artwork, chairs – you name it.

The *Light* Stuff

“Consider the light bulb,” Jennifer says, explaining that there is a huge variation with bulbs. If adding floor lamps or a chandelier consider the characteristics of LED, halogen, incandescent… the list goes on, and each bulb skews color in a different way. “Compact florescent can bring out sickly yellow tones and LED can add a blue or purplish cast to the color,” Jennifer says. It’s not that you can’t use these bulbs in your lamps and chandeliers – you just need to know how your colors are going to react.

Take a Seat

You (and your clients!) want a chair that is comfy and stylish – and also practical when the dyes and hair start flying. CJ’s answer: Indoor-outdoor solution-dyed acrylic fabrics. Find a style that suits you, and rest easy knowing that with durable fabric you’ll always be able to bleach, if needed. A bright colored chair is a great accent piece that won’t overwhelm your studio.

Less is more

“The cool thing about these spaces is that they are a great platform for a stylist to express who they are,” Jennifer reiterates. “But,” she cautions, “At the end of the day, you are providing a service for a client and the client needs to be the star!” If done well, stripes on the wall can be really cool, funky and young, but if not done well, they can be distracting when your client wants to see how good she looks in the mirror. “In order to get repeat business, you want your client to look glowing in the chair – too much of you on the wall means your client wont see as much of herself,” Jennifer says.

Devil’s in the Details

You’ll need a hamper for towels, and a broom with dustpan. Why not make these everyday staples fun? Even utilitarian items can look fab with fun colors or interesting patterns, says CJ.

Add Homey Touches

Here’s where you can really go to town, adding small, budget friendly pieces that’ll have a big effect. Arrange a few pens and a pad of paper on an end table with an array of magazines – that way clients won’t have to rip pages for that recipe they like. “A TV would be nice,” CJ says, “And, I love having a comfortable chair to sit in while I wait.” CJ’s stylist goes the extra mile, providing cookies to nosh on and a selection of coffee and teas; Joni suggests wine for adult clients, and fresh juices or real fruit for children.

Resources: CJ Knapp, Lead interior Designer and Creative Director at Savvy Style Surrounding: 314-432-7289; cj@savvyladue.com Jennifer Comfort, a color consultant in Denver: 303-886-5360; jennifer@thecolorpsychic.com Joni Spear, Owner of Joni Spear Interior Design: 314-614-9080; joni@jonispear.com

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