4 Key Retail Design Trends for Spring 2019

March, 20th 2019

These days, trends in retail tend to focus less on colours, textures and theatrical themes and more on technology, omnichannel strategy and the latest subscription services. But with the first sightings of spring sprouting at our door, it’s important we awaken our visual senses and remember that a huge part of the success of retail lies in its presentation.

These four key design trends set by retailers across the globe at first may seem contradictory; a hark back to the past alongside a nod to space travel, or vivid colours playing out in contrast to a tendency for natural elements. However, all of these visual inspirations can be linked by their rejuvenating qualities that can spring retail forward in 2019.  


As retailers explore avenues to create intriguing and immersive shopping experiences, it’s not all about packing the four shop walls with interactive gadgets. More recently, we have seen a number of retail outlets travel back in time to take on crumbling yet characterful, abandoned spaces and bring them back to life with a modern, architectural twist. Two great examples are the Coals Yard London shopping centre that revitalises two Victorian coal sheds and their cobbled streets and brick arches with an interspersion of independent shops. Another is Issey Miyake’s new boutique in Kyoto, which elegantly rescues a 132-year-old traditional townhouse known as a Machiya.



It’s been a pivotal time for space exploration and discovery recently as the commercial endeavours of SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic race to launch humans to space in reusable rockets and hunt for new signs of life. The sharing of triumphs and training sessions across Instagram have perhaps awakened an age of optimism, the kind we felt when space exploration began, and man first walked on the moon. We’ve certainly seen the need for celebration of human achievement and atomic science reflected in the world of design, with a retro-futurism aesthetic bringing a space age feel to some retail spaces.


Coming back down from space and landing squarely on planet Earth is the more calming trend towards a nature-inspired aesthetic. Perhaps an extension of the wellness trend that boomed in 2018 and continues with force into 2019, retailers are creating spaces that generate a sense of relaxation and escapism from our increasingly polluted planet, encouraging customers to linger and enjoy the oasis. The trend includes selecting natural materials such as woods and planting to use across flooring, cladding and shelving and combining them with earthy and sandy tones like ochre, burnt gold, and terracotta.


In contrast to the Down to Earth trend, a number of retailers are placing themselves at the other end of the spectrum and putting bold and brilliant colours as a central part of their interior design this year. Colour blocking is increasingly being used to eye-catching effect, particularly for zoning and to encourage particular customer behaviours. The chromatic colour trend, where multiple shades of a single hue are used, has proven popular for a while now in the luxury space, but we are going to see things get a lot brighter in 2019.