Shopping. It can be fun, rewarding and uplifting. Studies show buying new clothes can actually boost one’s confidence. But many times, the try-before-you-buy situation can be stressful and anything but satisfying because of dreadful dressing rooms. So many are small, hot, dirty, and lack hooks, seating and privacy. And don’t get us started on the lighting! How can a space where 67 percent of purchase decisions happen have lighting so unflattering? Let that sink in…

We think it’s time for dressing rooms to step up their game. Here are seven ways to make sure customers buy – not cry – when they leave the fitting room:

1. Roomy Dressing Rooms Are Good Dressing Rooms

Roomy Dressing Room

Remember those oversized coats from the 80’s? The ones big enough to warm up to four people at once? Yea, fitting rooms need to be that big. Pay no attention to the semantics of “fitting rooms” — they should be large. Roomy enough to twirl around in all the fantastic clothes your customers will buy. Anthropologie actually designs their dressing rooms to fit two people comfortably, because they know their customers usually shop in pairs!

2. Let There Be Light

Lighted Dressing Room

Ok, this should have been #1. It is THAT important. Shoot, it should be numbers one through seven. The goal is to make sure lighting doesn’t make dimples appear where you didn’t know you had them! If we do know where all of our imperfections live, we definitely don’t want to be reminded of them when we’re trying to buy something that makes us look fabulous. Customers deserve to look svelte. Yes, svelte. Proper lighting can make that happen.

Install back-lit mirrors instead of overhead fluorescents. Adjustable lighting on the mirrors is also a quality touch that shoppers will talk about. In a good way.

3. Hook ‘Em

Dressing Room Hooks

Potential buyers don’t want to walk into a fitting room and resort to putting their bag and clothes on the dirty floor. Hooks or hangrails are an easy, inexpensive key component to dressing rooms. And if you have curtains instead of doors, make sure they can be hooked to provide ample privacy. You can even have fun in a dressing room – check out these hooks from TJ Maxx!

4. Chill Out

Hot Sticking to Chair

We’re talking temps, here. Although, relaxation is important too. (See number 5.) If your dressing rooms are as smoldering as the Sahara, your customers will feel hot, and not in a good way. Trust us. Cool it a bit. (Then install great lighting.)

5. Relaxation Station

Spacious Relaxing Dressing Room

If space allows, try setting up a relaxing area for shoppers’ guests. If everyone is comfortable, buyers will be more apt to stick around and, well, buy things. Some stores even offer TVs and play areas for children. (Others have incredible lighting that make us look like models. Those are the places where we like to shop.)

6. Offer a Seat

Dressing Room Seating

A bench, stool, chair, settee, chaise…something! Seating is as important as hooks. Both are necessary and having one but not the other is like listening to Abbott without Costello.

7. Make It Pretty (and Clean)

Smart decor is far from extraneous. Customers notice nice touches — from flowers to artwork — that spruce up the fitting area and make them feel more at home. The more comfortable they are, the more likely they will stick around. The longer they stick around, the greater likelihood they will buy.

If space allows, it is important to have enough fitting rooms to avoid dreaded lines, which are a major turnoff. Small boutiques can get by with a couple fitting rooms but larger department stores should offer more rooms to meet the demand of more shoppers at a time.

Where are the best dressing rooms you’ve found?