Yoga studio design refers to your color scheme, décor, and furnishings. You can do this yourself or hire an interior designer. I’m not an interior designer, but I’ll make some basic recommendations.
The sky is the limit to creating a beautiful and functional yoga space.
However, one must is hardwood or laminate (looks-like-wood), bamboo, or cork. Avoid linoleum, vinyl, marble, carpet, and concrete. Wood flooring is warmer. If you want padding for your clients, offer mats (a given), bolsters, blankets, and foam blocks.
You have to consider the style of yoga you teach also. If you teach kids, make it kid friendly. If you teach Iyengar and will use the wall, keep pictures off the walls.
Other basic considerations (not an exhaustive set of décor considerations by any stretch of the imagination):
1. Yoga Studio Lighting
- Natural light is good for yoga studio design. However, if you’re on a ground floor you may have students who wish not to be seen from outside. Also, if you need the walls for postures, you don’t want lots of windows.
- No fluorescent lights.
- Ambient lighting is best.
- Candles: only if supervised closely. I would opt for lights that look like candles if you wanted the candle ambiance. Why? Fire hazard. If you’re keen on candles, be sure fire damage as a result of candles is not excluded.
2. Yoga Studio Mirrors
In my view, mirrors are more a distraction than a benefit. That said, mirrors allow yoga students to observe their form and technique. It’s a judgment call. I prefer no mirrors and instead prefer the yoga teacher to observe and correct technique. Also, it’s handy having wall space available for inversions and support; mirrors take away wall space.
3. Yoga Flooring
- Hardwood is optimal in yoga studio design. Other decent options: laminate (looks like wood, but doesn’t feel quite as nice), bamboo, or cork. Avoid concrete, vinyl, linoleum, marble, and especially carpet. Why especially carpet? Because it’s dirty, it smells, and is chemically laden.
- If you want to create a padded space, provide blankets, bolsters, and blocks.
4. Yoga Space Generally
Consider the following:
- Look for space where all places offer an unobstructed view of the teacher. I know the larger the space the more likely there may be pillars or other ceiling support structures.
- Avoid oddly-shaped space with nooks and crannies. Hidden spaces make seeing the yoga instructor difficult and reduces their yoga class experience.
- If a rectangular space, it’s better, if possible, for the instructor to teach at the front of a wide side than a short side. In my view, it’s easier to observe an instructor further to the side than further back behind numerous rows of students.
5. Yoga Wall Space
Generally, for optimal yoga studio design, it’s a good idea to keep your walls available for posture assistance – especially inversions. This means paint them or use wood, but don’t decorate them in a way that prevents posture assistance.
6. Yoga Studio Color Schemes
The sky is the limit of course – but I would go with soothing above all. More importantly is that your color and design scheme flows and is consistent throughout your studio. Integrate your color scheme with your yoga equipment such as mats, bolsters, equipment. Also integrate your color scheme with your marketing materials (logo, website, letterhead, etc.). Color contributes to your brand. It’s part of the experience you provide.
7. Yoga Equipment
I strongly urge you provide mats, and all the accessories for your classes. A nice customer service touch is not requiring your students to clean the equipment you provide. Make your yoga studio and classes an oasis.
Avoid strong incense. Also, request that people not wear perfumes/colognes because many people are sensitive to scent. That said, I suggest you create a consistent, pleasant, subtle smell to your yoga studio. Subtle scent is good to cover up body odor. It’s a delicate balance between just enough scent and not too much.
9. Yoga Studio Parking
Even if you’re in an urban setting, do your best to secure some parking for your students. If your building has pay parking, see if you can arrange that it’s free for your students if the ticket is validated in your studio.
When looking for yoga space, give consideration to public transit options. The more ways people can access your studio, the more potential you have for students attending.
That said, if much of your clientele are vigilant environmental advocates, maybe you’re better off not providing parking in a gesture to encourage public transit, cycling, and walking.
If you can, choose space that isn’t noisy from adjacent businesses (i.e. a factory or a bar).
11. Yoga Studio Cleanliness
- Keep your studio spotless. This means your mats, equipment, your floor (especially your floor), the bathrooms, and all places your clients go within your studio.
- Clean your mats and the room for your students. This is a very nice client service. Don’t tell your students to spray down the mats (unless they bring their own mat).
12. Yoga Studio Gathering and Reception Space
If possible, create some space where your students can gather, sign-in, and wait for class. I don’t like yoga studios where when you enter the studio you’re in the class space. I like some amount of foyer or entry.
13. Coat and Shoe Space
Provide a place your students can store their shoes and hang coats. Perhaps offer small storage cubicles if you have the space.
14. Ceiling Height
I didn’t think about this element when I first published this post. This is an added yoga studio design consideration thanks to a reader of Yoga Baron who asked me about ceiling height. After some thought, here is my opinion (and response to the reader).
Functionally, 8 feet is high enough. 8 feet will accommodate a six foot person with arms stretched above their head in poses such as tree pose.
However, aesthetically, I don’t think 8 feet high ceilings create an optimal yoga environment. I prefer higher ceilings (10 feet or higher – loft ceilings are fabulous). The reason for higher ceilings is it creates a sense of airiness which I like.
That said, if you’ve found the perfect space, but it has 8 or 9 foot ceilings, then you may have to compromise on this yoga studio design feature. Just remember that yoga students attend yoga classes for a calming environment.
Again, if you’re not sure, why not ask your students their preference? My opinion is just one yogi’s opinion.
There’s a lot more to studio décor and furnishing than this meager list. I’m not an interior design expert. I hope my list gets you started thinking about the myriad of studio design options you should consider. Visit other yoga studios for ideas. Talk to other yoga studio owners for ideas. Explore, investigate, and inquire.
I’ll end with this: for every design feature you’re thinking about installing or implementing, ask whether it will hinder, enhance or have no effect on your students’ yoga asana/meditation practice? Do what enhances delivery of your benefit to your yoga students.