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Eating ice cream should feel luxurious. Whether your shop is a blast from the past or a peek into ice cream’s future, the vibe of your space can make or break your business.
Sometimes, it's hard to find inspiration for your ice cream shop decor. No matter where you are in your decor plan, getting started begins with your ice cream shop’s business plan to guide and budget your design decisions. Your business plan and floor plan can jumpstart your brainstorming by your space, community, and overall business goals in perspective.
From there, you’ll need a little more design inspiration. That’s why we curated these 12 ice cream shop decor ideas to get you on the path to your dream ice cream shop.
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12 Ice Cream Shop Decor Ideas
Bring Your Brand to Life
Your brand isn’t just about ice cream – it’s about gathering people over delicious frozen treats. To achieve this, infuse your brand into every aspect of your guest’s experience.
Don’t sweat it if you’re unsure what your guest experience is. Start asking yourself questions to get to the answer, like - Is your experience streamlined and sleek, or are you aiming for comfy and classic? Maybe it falls somewhere in between. Either way, make sure you know what your shop's brand identity is so that it translates through your decor to your customers and community.
As you explore your ice cream shop’s identity, consider also how the floor plan and decor work together to enhance the space.
Use Basic Color Psychology
Want to create a cheerful ice cream shop? Then, colors can surely be your ally. They are known to elicit emotional responses in people. So, choose wisely because strategic color communication can help your shop put people in the right mood (or the wrong one!)
Everyone has different relationships with colors, but certain tones represent similar feelings across cultures. Picking soft, bright colors for your ice cream shop will invite people in and get them excited about what treats you have to offer.
The vibrant pastels on this feature wall at Buster’s Real Ice Cream are the perfect combination of welcoming and bold.
The Right Lighting
Playing with light in a space is the first approach for many interior designers. Lighting makes people feel happier. It also makes for better photos (aka more customers promoting your ice cream shop with attractive social media images.)
Open your space to as much natural light as possible. Fill dim spaces with enough light for your guests to navigate your shop. This strategy allows you to hang light fixtures that add character to your shop. As you play with lighting, make sure to have fun and choose bold accents to compliment your overall design.
The bold “Ice Cream” sign and geometric pendant lights tie into the exciting decor of this Jeni’s Ice Cream.
Choosing Tables and Seating
Furniture is a powerful driver of the guest experience – choose pieces that are comfortable, safe, and match the look of your ice cream shop.
Find tables and chairs that align with your ice cream shop’s brand identity. When customers snap pictures of their treats in your shop, your shop will be instantly recognizable.
The table, booth, and wall behind this cone at Fortnum & Mason couldn’t be more iconic.
Invite Guests into the Experience
Don’t hide your hard work. The space where your employees will make and mix frozen treats should be visible to all customers. This experience makes customers even more excited about ice cream, especially as they wait in line.
Like Far Out Ice Cream in Boston, MA, you can invite your customers into the process. Your ice cream shop might become a local attraction rather than blending into the scenery.
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Unique Wall Decor
Wall decor can add a lot of character to your ice cream shop. You can use art from local artists or browse thrift stores for pieces with local flair.
One fun idea is to commission a mural by a local artist that communicates your brand message. No matter which route you go, keep your wall decor bold and consistent, as these feature walls at Odd Fellows in NYC.
Create a Photo Op
Some of the best marketing opportunities are your customers. So, give them what they need to be the best brand ambassadors. In the age of social media, creating a space in your ice cream shop that encourages customers to snap a selfie or a photo of their ice cream cone is a decor idea and a marketing strategy.
This bright, natural space at Milk Train cafe just begs to be photographed. It’s no wonder that social media posts of the shop can get thousands of likes on Instagram!
Menu Boards and More
Keep your guests from guessing. Build stylish menu boards that attract attention and guide customers through your ice cream experience. Also, your menus should be easy to read so that customers waiting to order can make their decisions (speeding up the line!)
For your menu design, you can opt for a chalkboard or display your menu on TVs. Whether you go old-school or digital, your menu boards should reflect your ice cream brand’s identity.
Go Fresh and Green
Plants (real or faux) are a great way to keep your decor natural and light. Pothos, vining plants, philodendrons, and snake plants are all easy to maintain, letting you add more color to your space without much hassle.
You can also build a feature of some faux greenery like at Sweet Spot Ice Cream Cafe.
Party on the Patio
Extend your vision for the interior of your ice cream shop to any outdoor seating space. On nice days, your guests won’t be able to resist snapping pics for social on your patio.
Pro-tip: Choose furniture and seating that is durable and suitable for exposure to the elements. Anything that stays in the sun and humidity will wear down if not built to last.
This little patio space at Ice Cream Jubilee is the perfect example of extending your ice cream brand outdoors!
The Risks and Rewards of Vintage Decor
Vintage decor can be a great way to sprinkle character into your ice cream shop, especially with local pieces. However, think strategically when buying or using vintage decor. Vintage wall art and other aesthetic pieces are usually reliable. On the other hand, vintage furniture can cause more problems than it is worth (potentially costing you more money in the future.)
To incorporate vintage elements into your furniture, consider restoring old furniture or distressing new pieces to capture the aesthetic without the risk.
Customers love when restrooms have cool details. Restrooms can make or break a customer’s decision to return to your ice cream shop. Although the main priority is cleanliness, restrooms should be accessible and attractive, too.
This fun, bold print is reflected in the mirrors at The Friendly Society in Elora, Ontario, and is sure to be memorable.
Achieve your Ice Cream Dreams
Your ice cream shop should reflect your dreams. And, a lot of this comes down to your decor. Your decorating decisions come down to your vision for your shop. With these 12 decor ideas, we’re confident that you can pick the details that will make your ice cream shop the place to be for frozen treats in town.
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This template will help you create SOPs for your entire business, so you can create consistency and easily train employees.
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