To retain clients, you have to provide an ambiance they want to return to over and over again. The vibe you create in your studio is a major part of your clients’ experience and the design choices you make help establish that. Here we discuss four different studio vibes and a few design ideas to complement each.


If your studio caters to restorative fitness, yoga or barre, or, you just want to create a calming fitness oasis, stick to minimalist design.

Paint a Peaceful Picture
Use nature as your source of color inspiration. Choose your color palette from your local environment. If you are in the Pacific Northwest, go with rich green colors to reflect the forested landscape. If your studio is in the Southwest, choose earthy, terracotta colors. If you are in an urban center where you’re miles from a natural habitat, you can go with warm (red, orange or purple) or cool (blue and green) tones. It’s important to be consistent throughout every square inch of your studio – from the paint on the walls to the towels in the locker room. Try to be as monochromatic as possible.

Light it Right
Natural light is key. If you have large windows in your studio and privacy is an issue, hang airy linen curtains. If your studio space isn’t exactly flooded with light, there are a few design tricks for maximizing the available light. Paint your ceiling a lighter color than you put on the walls. As a matter of function, mirrors around your workout space allow your clients to check their form and improve. From a design perspective, mirrors reflect and maximize the available light. Whether you are a modern yogi with a taste for an exotic faux croc frame or an earth-conscious fan of reclaimed wood, choose floor mirrors that match your Zen style.

Place electric candles throughout the studio to add to your relaxing vibe while also adhering to the fire codes.

Eco-Friendly Flooring
Bamboo flooring is ideal because of its look and sustainability. There are several companies that offer bamboo flooring designed specifically for athletic spaces. Cork is an increasingly popular alternative to hardwood because of its eco-friendly properties.

If you have existing hardwood floors and no budget to replace them, consider refinishing them with a white or gray wash.

Open Storage Solutions
Open wood bookshelves can be used to store weights, towels, mats and other gear. Use sturdy and distinctive baskets to contain smaller items. If your studio has an open floor plan, a backless bookcase can do double duty as storage and space divider.

Bring the Outdoors Inside
Plants bring more life into your studio and act as natural air purifier. They also add color and warmth to your design. Traditional Zen design incorporates bonsai trees, palms and white orchids, but aloe, peace lilies and shamrock plants also fit in well with this vibe and are very easy to keep alive. Jasmine is another indoor plant that is not only beautiful, but gives off a delicate fragrance. Add a pop of color with African violets or begonias.

Relaxed Retail
Keep the retail area as relaxing as the rest of your studio by featuring yoga mats, organic body lotions and comfy organic cotton apparel. Tata Harper’s nontoxic skincare and aromatherapy line would be a natural fit.


For CrossFit, martial arts, boxing or bootcamp studios, you might want your space to feel like a combat zone. Vibrant colors and tough materials can inspire your clients to work as hard as possible.

Colors Inspiration for Perspiration
When you are trying to create a space that inspires clients to push themselves, consider the psychological and physiological responses color creates. Red increases heart rate and breathing. Yellow speeds metabolism and increases concentration. Orange creates feelings of enthusiasm and cheerfulness. Painting your entire studio in a vibrant color can be distracting, so use these colors as accent walls or stripes.

Toughen Up
To give your studio a little grit, use corrugated aluminum as a feature wall or as wainscoting around one area. Use chain link fencing to separate workout spaces, while maintaining an open feel to the floor plan.

Love those Lockers
Give new life to old lockers by repainting the door with chalkboard paint and using them for equipment storage. The chalkboard paint will allow you to label the contents of the locker or write inspirational quotes.


If you are offering high-end services or targeting clients with a taste for the finer things, it’s important to create a luxury vibe. If your current studio space lacks character or isn’t giving a first class impression, there are some simple changes you can make instantly create a luxury vibe.

Bling out the Ceiling
Hang an elegant yet modern chandelier over the reception desk. Use similar, smaller chandeliers in the workout space and in the locker rooms. Ceiling fans should be more than just utilitarian. Consider splurging on well-designed, modern-looking fans to upgrade your look from off-the-shelf to custom.

It’s All in the Details
What creates a true sense of luxury is the care given to every detail. Add or upgrade the floor and ceiling molding throughout your studio. Look for a vintage fireplace mantle that your can restore and use it as a beautiful shelf or an architectural detail.

Trendy Displays
Offer clients high-end and health-conscious beauty products like Tammy Fender. Display your retail by incorporating luxury design trends like smoky glass containers and mixed metal trays.


Exposed ductwork, brick walls and old, well-worn wood create the perfect canvas for creating a trendy, urban space. Furnish the studio space with reclaimed and vintage pieces to complete the indie vibe.

Reclaim Your Space
Keep a trendy but casual look consistent throughout your studio, including your locker rooms. Build your changing rooms from salvaged wood and use vintage inspired lockers to add character. Finish off the look with fun, Broadway-style lighted floor mirrors for post workout prepping.

The Floor is Your Biggest Canvas
Get creative with your flooring. Paint a vibrant pattern on your wood floors to create a warm and unique space your clients will adore. Or, leave the existing wood floors alone and just give them a good polish. Visible nicks and wear can add character and warmth to a space.


Appeal to More than Just the Eye
Vibe is about more than the décor. Music can play a major role in your clients’ experience at your studio. If you are going for an organically cool vibe, playing the latest Top 40 club bangers will sound out of place. Instead, compile retro favorites, old school hip hop, alt country, indie rock, electronica and other niche playlists. If you subscribe to Pandora or Spotify, there are tons of playlists for you to browse and get ideas.

Create a Hangout
With so much effort put into the design of your studio, it would be a shame for clients to run right out after class. Opening a juice, smoothie or coffee bar that also serves light, healthy and locally sourced snacks can take your studio to another level. Instead of being just a location for working up a sweat, your studio can be a spot where your clients bring friends, colleagues and business associates to work out and then catch up or do business. If refreshments are not your thing, you may want to partner with a local coffee shop or juice bar owner. You can provide the space and the epicurean expert can provide the food and drink.