How long does it take to design (& build) a Salon or Spa?

Don’t forget when you are researching how long it takes to open a salon, to factor in the time it takes to plan and design your dream salon or spa.

Popular reality TV shows create a distorted perception of how long it takes to design and build/renovate a home (or a commercial space). These shows are often edited to condense months or even years of work into just a few episodes, creating the impression that a home can be designed and built/renovated in a matter of weeks. This impression consequently filters through to peoples impression of design & building in general, regardless of the type of space.

In reality, designing and building/renovating is a complex process that can take months or even years to complete. There are many factors that can impact the timeline, including the size and complexity of the project, the availability of materials and labor, and any unexpected challenges that arise during construction.

It’s important to remember that the homes featured on reality TV shows are often designed and built by experienced professionals who have access to the best resources and technologies. The average client may not have the same level of expertise or resources, and may need to allow more time for the design and construction process.

Ultimately, it’s important to approach your Salon or Spa design and construction with realistic expectations and to work with a team of professionals who can help guide you through the process and ensure that your project is completed on time and within budget.

Assembling your team

Allow for time to start assembling your design team before the project starts. This will give you the opportunity to find the right professionals for your project and ensure that they have adequate time to work on the design before construction begins.

You’ll need to appoint your Interior Designer first; they’ll create a brief and sketch plan which you can use to request quotes from other consultants; this Stage takes time to complete. I’ve talked about taking the brief HERE and developing sketch plans HERE. From my perspective; having a completed sketch plan is essential before developing a design fee and timeline for your project.

Once you have a list of potential team members, you should schedule meetings to discuss your vision for the salon and ensure that you are on the same page.

By allowing time to assemble your design team before the project starts, you can ensure that you have the right professionals on board and give them the time they need to create a successful design that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

At this stage, your consultants will provide an estimate on how long it will take to design & document your Salon or Spa, based upon the brief & final sketch plan. When we develop the timeline, we make assumptions that the feedback and approval process will be prompt, with minimal delays.

  • Allow 4 – 6 weeks, depending on the team members needed, and the number of options and reiterations during the sketch plan stage.
  • Sketchplan Package – 6 business days, allows for 1 sketch plan. It is more than likely you’ll want more sketch plan options.

Get started planning your dream Salon with our 8-page Salon & Spa Questionnaire

How Long does it take to design a Salon or Spa

The time it takes to design a hair salon can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the salon, the complexity of the design, and the level of detail required in the design.

On average, the design process for a Salon or Spa can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. During this time, we will work closely with you to understand your vision and requirements for the space, create a detailed layout and floor plan, select materials and finishes, and choose furniture and equipment.

The design of your project is split into separate distinct stages:

Concept Design

It’s important to note that the design process can be iterative, with multiple rounds of feedback and revisions as you provide feedback and we refine your vision for the space. This can add additional time to the overall design process. During Concept design, we not only consider the overall look and feel of the space & the finishes you want, but also identify things like how many walls are staying, or if plumbing needs to be moved. There is active coordination/consultation with engineers, contractors & your building surveyor at this stage.

As designers, we need time to develop a concept that is unique for you, not a cookie-cutter solution. When clients demand an unreasonable timeframe, we have no choice but to repeat details we’ve done before for other clients, which leads to a solution which can be mundane & dare we say it – boring!

I’ve talked about Concept Design HERE.

Detailed Design Development and Documentation

Documentation includes architectural plans and drawings for construction and building permit applications; a significant amount of time and detail goes into creating this package, which also includes ongoing coordination with your engineers, contractors & building surveyor.

During this stage, any “long-lead time” items will be identified, so that they can be flagged to the builder. These could be a unique pendant light for that WOW factor for example.

I’ve talked about Detailed Design development and Documentation HERE.

Standard Timeline for Concept Design and Detailed Design & Documentation
  • Design for a Makeover Package only – 15 business days
  • Concept Design, Detailed Design & Documentation time for a Full Service Interior Design – Up to 12 weeks – estimate available upon request based upon your unique project scope. Absolu Salon was designed in this timeframe.
  • You may also be required to submit 3D renders & colour boards of your design (especially of your tenancy is in a shopping centre), which will take additional time and resources to develop.

Approvals & Tender Stage

Approvals needed for a Commerical project can include planning & building permits, signage permits, building owner approval etc. The timeframes vary for each body, and depending upon the area or type of building your tenancy is located in; these need to be confirmed at the commencement of your project. Your Project Manager or Builder will be able to assist you with this process. During this stage, revisions (or additional detail) to the documentation may also be required.

This is also the time for getting construction quotes from your preferred builder/s.


Allow approximately 1-2 months

How long does it take to build a Salon or Spa

The time it takes to build a hair salon can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the salon, the complexity of the design, the materials used, and any regulatory requirements or permits needed in your local area.

On average, it can take anywhere from a 6 – 8 weeks to several months to build a Salon or Spa. The construction process typically involves several stages, including procurement of materials, site setup, demolition (if necessary), construction of walls, electrical and plumbing installation, flooring, and finishing touches such as painting and decor.

Ultimately, the length of the construction period cannot be ascertained until you appoint a builder to create a realistic program for your design.

If you are working with an experienced contractor who has previously built hair salons, they may be able to provide you with a more accurate estimate of the timeline for your specific project. It’s also important to factor in any unexpected delays that may occur, such as weather or supply chain issues.

I’ve talked about Construction HERE

The Absolu Salon was built in 2 1/2 months

Photo supplied by Absolu

Grand Opening

Of course, you’ll want to organise a grand opening of your Salon or Spa; start arranging this during construction. Always allow for a ‘soft opening’ first, so you can get up and running and working in your new space; chances are that there will be contractors coming in & out to finish minor things or correct defects & touch-ups.

To build up excitement for your clientele, use the visuals that your Interior Designer produces to advertise on Instagram and post photo updates of construction progress.

Photo supplied by Absolu

By following these tips, you can create an effective interior design brief that will help your designer create a space that meets your needs and reflects your personal style.

If you are planning a refurbishment, please explore our flexible Design Package Options designed to serve you for more information.

You’ve go no idea how grateful I am to have had you alongside my family. And the Salon’s everything I’ve dreamed of. You made it come alive! The opening was so amazing – very overwhelmed”

Absolu Hair Salon – Kara Mac Issac

(please pin the below graphic to your pinterest board for reference)

(please pin the below graphic to your pinterest board for reference)

Image: Marissa Grootes via Unsplash

(please pin the below graphic to your pinterest board for reference)

Image: Marten Bjork via Unsplash

(please pin the below graphic to your pinterest board for reference

So, why Hire an Interior Designer?

Unfortunately many people get confused or intimidated by the idea of hiring a professional Interior Designer for their project, and might be concerned about the process of working with a designer & the costs of doing so.

A lot of people I meet feel that they can hire a builder and do the design themselves, selecting materials and fixtures in dribs and drabs, often at the last minute (leading to less choice) with poor planning & lack of an overall vision. This will lead increased costs due to changes, additions and variations that the builder will not have allowed for.

You will save money & time. Your designer will plan functional and appealing spaces, provide drawings, visualisations & material / furnishing selections in a strategic manner so you can get competitive quotes, and you know what the design will look like & cost right from the start.

You require a Qualified Interior Designer & Registered Building Practitioner for any commercial project or residential project that requires a building permit; a proper interior designer is a highly trained & experienced registered professional, not just someone with ‘a good eye for colour’ and a knack for picking furniture.

Let’s make something beautiful together, book an appointment to explore your dream project.

Image: Omar Rodriguez @ormphotography