Three tips to enhance the look and feel of your venue:
1. Follow the theme of that season- We have always encouraged a yearly theme that runs throughout your venue. Your décor should reflect that theme so that it ties everything together. When we highlighted the election, not only was our maze, election themed, but the patriotic feel was evident everywhere with our flags, banners, events, names, etc. Kind of like Disney in that its themes are seen all the way out to the parking lot! We tried to tie it all together as much as possible but avoided the “tacky trap”. By that I mean those decorations that take away from the farm feel. That brings me to the next tip.
2. Follow the feel of the venue- For the most part, we are rural, and we are farm based. People come to the country and come to your farm because they want to experience all that a farm “feels like”. Typically, that means rustic décor. There are a lot of items that will fit the farm feel of your venue and some can be found in the old buildings you already own. Here are some examples of good and bad items that meet the criteria:
Rustic Farm Implements- Anything farm related, old rustic. Of course, these must be displayed safely and out of reach of the public. Sometimes these are best behind fences or on walls where kids cannot climb on them!
Natural décor like hay or corn. We all know how this works, but big round bales make great barriers where you may be tempted to use a fence. Small bales and pumpkins and gourds are all great décor. Of course, these are usually plentiful and natural to your venue.
Old doors, windows, buildings etc. We want our venue to be professional, but also venue appropriate. Signage, photo ops, benches, buildings etc. should look like they belong. Its ok to use modern materials if they don’t distract from the look and feel. We built several out buildings and followed a board and batten theme. Looked like they belonged! If you have ever visited a modern western town, they do all they can to make it authentic.
Anything that distracts from the look and feel. You’ll have to use your judgment on this, but anytime you can use natural materials, the better. I cannot say never use plastic, but make sure that if you do, it doesn’t look out of place. That’s hard to describe, but I’ll say its like watching an old movie with something that doesn’t fit in the rest of the era it’s trying to portray. It would be like decorating your farm venue with pink flamingos and gazing balls! Not knocking either of those decorations, but in the wrong context they are completely wrong! Remember that you are creating and selling an experience like none other. We are trying to get people back to their roots and allow them to be a part of something they can’t get at home. Keep in mind that there is such a thing as bad rustic too! Sometimes there is a fine line between rustic and redneck! Make sure you do everything professionally. Don’t skimp. The venues that do all things well are usually the ones who are around for years to come. That being said, consider tip number 3 as you prepare for this year.
3. Follow the limits of your budget- I know, that makes it hard, but your décor also needs to be part of your budget. The good thing is, sometimes farm décor can be simple and cheap. If necessary, do it slowly. Add things as you are able. Increase your signage as you can afford it. Make a list of things that would look good and use the off season to go to garage sales, auctions and estate sales. There are things that we have used as part of our venue that most people would not give a second glance. Take a walk around your venue when its quiet and see what kind of look and feel it has. We all have room for improvement, even if it’s done slowly!