Creating a Holiday Window Without the NYC Fifth Avenue Budget

Barneys, Bergdorf’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks, and other 5th Avenue favorites are renowned for their over-the-top, uber-expensive, and undoubtedly enticing holiday window displays, which are installed before the Thanksgiving weekend (and the televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade). As a retailer, you can learn a lot from the excess and grandeur of these displays, designed to bring in holiday shoppers and encourage spending throughout this lucrative retail season.

Of course, you hardly have the same budget as these multi-million-dollar enterprises. How can you possibly compete or compare? The truth is, you don’t have to. There are plenty of ways to take ideas from NYC windows and make them your own through budget-friendly alternatives. You might not deck out your window displays with thousands of crystals or live models, but creating an eye-catching winter wonderland to rival 5th Avenue splendor isn’t as unobtainable as you might think. Here are a few budget hacks that will have your holiday window displays channeling NYC in no time.

Get Busy with the Lights

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and one of the best ways to add some wow factor is with the use of lighting in your window displays. Naturally, Christmas lights are apropos, so don’t hesitate to use them to frame your window, deck out faux trees in your display, or drip from the ceiling to light your holiday scene.

You can go for traditional, multi-colored bulbs or get chic with all white lights. You should also feel free to mix and match. These days you can get really specific with string lighting to create a truly unique and gasp-inducing display.

Batting and Flocking

You may not be able to frost your display with actual snow, but you can capture the look with a blend of batting and flocking. Batting is cotton or polyester fibers used as filling in textile crafts ranging from quilts and pillows to plush animals. You can buy it in sheets or bagged in loose bunches and spread it around to create the illusion of fluffy snow in your display.

You can also go nuts with flocking, a spray adhesive product that is most often used to mimic snow-covered trees or frosted window panes. Use it on trees, ornaments, windows, and pretty much any other surface to create unique displays. For a cheap but delightful backdrop, try using cutout paper snowflakes as stencils and spraying glittery flocking onto a dark blue canvas.

Expandable Polystyrene

If you weren’t a theater major in college, chances are you’ve never discovered the wonderful world of expandable polystyrene (EPS), which is a lightweight foam product similar to Styrofoam. Often used on stage sets to create backgrounds and buildings, it can be cut, sanded, sculpted with heat, glued together, and painted to create anything from buildings to statues. Best of all, you can order it in custom sizes.

Whether you want to create a giant yeti or the facade of a Gothic cathedral, you can do it with EPS at relatively little expense. For example, ordering a block of EPS measuring 3x3x5 feet online could cost you under $150. There will be paint and other supplies to consider, but if you’re crafty, you could make incredible, one-of-a-kind props at cut-rate prices, and reuse them year after year.

If you are a customer, who would love to have holiday windows that impress, shop our website, Specialty Store Services, for all your retail store needs.  If you have a question that you would like answered immediately, you can Live Chat, or phone us at 800-999-0771.