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How to design a beauty salon: a practical guide with a BIM model

How to design a beauty salon: a practical guide with functional layout examples and a 3D project complete with renderings ready for download

In this interesting focus I’ll be covering the different aspects concerning a proper design project of a beauty salon.

I will provide you with some useful info (regulatory references, 3D model, functional and distribution schemes) that you can use as a reference for your future projects.

You can download a free 3D model of a design for a beauty salon that you can open with 3D building design software now and try the benefits of this tool yourself.

massage room render

Massage room – Render produced with Edificius

Getting planning permission for your beauty salon

The first thing you’ll need to deal with is getting your planning permission application dealt with from your council. This means your architect and planning consultant need to submit a full set of project drawings and interior views.

Beauty salon standards and regulations in the UK

Health and safety in a beauty salon is of paramount importance and like with any other business in public premises, health hazards – such as exposed wires, rugs and wet floors or risk of personal injury – need to be minimized.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Essentials has specific health and safety guides for hairdressers or beautician professionals and will help you to avoid the risks posed by the use of beauty products and to make responsible choices when it comes to your staff and client’s health and safety.

Plus, if you’re looking to offer treatments involving intense pulsed light systems or lasers in England, you must register with the Care Quality Commission.

Elsewhere in the UK, the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the Care Commission, and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety are bodies that can help clarify what’s legally required for the safe running of a beauty salon.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 cover a wide range of basic health, safety and welfare issues and apply to most workplaces and address important aspects in matter of:

  • Ventilation Workplaces need to be adequately ventilated. Fresh, clean air should be drawn from a source outside the workplace, uncontaminated by discharges from flues, chimneys or other process outlets, and be circulated through the workrooms.
  •  Lighting should be sufficient to enable people to work and move about safely. If necessary, local lighting should be provided at individual workstations and at places of particular risk such as crossing points on traffic routes. Lighting and light fittings should not create any hazard. Automatic emergency lighting, powered by an independent source, should be provided where sudden loss of light would create a risk.
  • Cleanliness and waste materials Every workplace and the furniture, furnishings and fittings should be kept clean and it should be possible to keep the surfaces of floors, walls and ceilings clean. Cleaning and the removal of waste should be carried out as necessary by an effective method. Waste should be stored in suitable receptacles.
  • Room dimensions and space Workrooms should have enough free space to allow people to move about with ease. The volume of the room when empty, divided by the number of people normally working in it, should be at least 11 cubic metres. All or part of a room over 3.0 m high should be counted as 3.0 m high. 11 cubic metres per person is a minimum and may be insufficient depending on the layout, contents and the nature of the work.

Beauty Salon Rules & Regulations in the USA

Depending on the type of beauty salon and where it is located, the legal rules and regulations vary. Each state and city have its own specific legal standards.

The FDA has jurisdiction over all cosmetics, drugs, and foods. There are several rules and regulation within the salon industry that must be followed. Check the FDA website to keep informed as to all the regularly changing standards and requirements. Each state also carries its own set of rules and requirements governing salon activities. Be certain to follow state web sites regarding these requirements on an ongoing basis.

Beauty salon design: functional and distributional layouts

A beauty salon design project requires particular attention to functionality, perception of hygiene and to the charm that environments should convey to customers, so to optimize work and provide a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Functions in a beauty salon are multiple and, consequently, the dimensions of the environments will depend on them. The main functional areas and relating furnishing elements include:

beauty salon project: functional and distributional layouts - Edificius - architectural BIM software

functional and distributional layouts – created in Edificius

  1. Customer Toilet
  2. Employees Toilet/Storeroom
  3. Massage Room/Body Treatment
  4. Hall
  5. Entrance / Reception
  6. Manicure / pedicure Area
beauty salon hall – rendered with Edificius

beauty salon hall – rendered with Edificius


Characteristics of this area can be identified in certain factors that make it a welcoming and comfortable space. You will need to keep on mind aesthetic aspects so to impress customers right away.


Customer toilets

Accessibility and usability standards for disabled people must be respected, therefore you must plan sanitary facilities with dimensions that would allow space for a wheelchair to maneuver. Generally, recommended standard dimensions are:

  • 1.50 x 1.50 m per WC without internal washbasin
  • 1.80 x 1.80 m per WC with internal washbasin
  • 2.40 m as minimum height

Additional measures to add accessibility and providing more space should also be considered in the anteroom, that should have a width of 1.50 m at least.

Employees toilets

It is not necessary to take into account the minimum dimensions required for people with disabilities because these toilets are used only by employees.

In this case, the minimum recommended dimensions to ensure easy movement are 0.90 x 1.00 m, without the presence of the internal washbasin that can  be installed in the anteroom.

A storeroom could also be designed if there is extra space so to concentrate the staff functions all in a single place.

Treatment Areas

This area encompasses different operations, such as: massage room, hair removal, manicure and pedicure, facial treatment, solarium, etc.

Common sense should be used when it comes to design and inserting equipments in compliance with the various national regulations.

For instance, European Union standards require that:

  • room heights with continuous presence of people are minimum 2.70 m
  • area surface with a single employee is minimum 15.00 m², that increases of  5.00 m² for each additional workstation
  • floors must have a homogeneous and washable surface
  • beauty salon booths for treatments must be delimited by walls, even not full height. It is advisable that the height is not exceeding 2/3 of that of the room and in any case in full respect of the user’s privacy right
  • booths must be equipped with regular washstands

Furthermore, it is advisable to keep the entrance separate even if only visually) from the treatment areas, so to avoid any possible discomfort for the customer and guarantee more privacy.

A practical example of a 70sqm beauty salon

To plan an attractive and functional beauty salon you will need to make the most of the space available and get the right layout.

Floor plan - beauty salon project - architectural BIM software

beauty salon project – Floor plan

Beauty salons can have large, medium or small size with typical dimensions: 100, 70 or even 40 m². In our case study we will consider a bauty salon of 70 m² and identify 3 environments:

entrance-reception / toilets / treatment area

The entrance area has been designed to give a strong visual impact and “impress” the customer.

In order to give a sense of movement to flat surfaces, both horizontal and vertical, it has been decided to insert false ceilings and perforated counter-walls that are highlighted by strip-leds and spotlights.

In addition, to decorate the environment some shelves have been mounted in the wall niches at the back of the counter and on the back wall.

To ensure better lighting and a better scenic effect, a lacquered material has been used on the counter-walls and false ceilings, and a glazed exposed brick on the wall behind the seats and on the inside of one of the two curved walls used to separate the entrance from the hall.

Two rooms have also been planned for the toilets, one for customers and one for employees.

The first one consists of two WC areas and an anteroom, that are accessible also by people with disabilities; the second one consists of a WC area and an anteroom, also used as a small storage area. Both toilets are covered with easily washable material, as required by regulations.

The “Treatment” area consists of two rooms: one for massages, facial treatment, epilation (and other treatments that require beds) and one for pedicures and manicures (as well as other treatments that do not require special equipment).

The first room has a 2.20 m high wall in the middle that separates the two workstations where the beds are placed; there is also a shared shower and a sink per work area. Walls are covered with treated wood..

The second room is, instead, a single environment where there is a table with manicure seats and a pedicure station: in this case the walls are painted with washable material to comply with hygiene standards.

Download the project BIM model

Download the 3D BIM model (.edf file) of the project
Download the IFC model of the project