Wood vs. Metal Retail Display Fixtures

By Steve Di Orio
Posted in Store Management
On December 27, 2013

A store's fixtures communicate something subtly to the customer, if even the customer isn't paying attention. Retail store fixtures can affect a customer's decision to stay in a store as much as the product, the overhead music, and the attitude of the salesperson can. The decision to use wood over metal, or vice-versa, can be a difficult one to make. There are several pros and cons to each.


Wood tends to have an earthy, warm appearance that is inviting to the customer. It can have an unvarnished appearance, or be reclaimed. Either one of these can give it a rustic appearance, as in a Southwestern style of décor.


It also has a splendid vintage feel, while still maintaining an air of sophistication, especially when coupled with soft lighting. If the store's inventory has colors that pop, wood fixtures will complement the colors without getting in the way.


The drawbacks of wood fixtures are mainly due to their lack of durability. They tend to be heavy and cumbersome. They are prone to warping in humid environments. They also require a bit more cleaning and dusting than other types of materials.


Metal, on the other hand, has a distinct appeal in certain kinds of stores. Metal fixtures imply sharpness, brightness, and futurism. Cutting edge sporting goods, active wear, and trendy styles are all nicely accented by metal.


Metal fixtures have a durability that allows them to survive repeated handling. There also lighter, which makes them ideal if the store requires the fixtures to be rotated or moved frequently.


As for cons, metal can be rigid and cold. Moreover, it can be a visual turn-off if it is in aesthetic competition with products.


A good rule of thumb: The style and tone of a store should dictate which material is right for its fixtures.


Shop all our gondola shelving units today to find the right choices for your store. 

Steve Di Orio

Steve Di Orio


Steve has been with Handy Store Fixtures for over 15 years. After becoming the Marketing Manager in 2006, he was named Director of Marketing. Steven earned his MBA from Montclair State University with a specialization in Digital Marketing in 2019. When not at work, he loves to travel, play golf, exercise, and talk all things search engine marketing and retail display tips.