Why old shutters are great for a rented retail booth

Old shutters for rented retail booth can be a great solution to challenges such as how to display products without a wall.

Firstly, and the reason why I’m giving old shutter doors a makeover in this post, is to avoid making holes in retail space walls.

Holes can be a pain to fix and in some cases, you can’t make holes in a rented space.

I have constantly changing products, with all different size fixtures and fittings. Needing one or two holes for each piece.

Each time I need to make a hole in the wall, if I don’t have another piece with the same fixtures to replace it, the holes are visible.

A good solution to this is mixing a little bit of the wall paint with some wood filler to hide them.

However, it’s not ideal.

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Why use old shutters for rented retail booth

Another advantage of having shutters is when you don’t have walls. It gives you a divider between your area and others.

Shutters are great for displaying products on. Each slat is somewhere you can hang a hook. It’s such a flexible space, like having walls but without restrictions.

Old shutters

Another nice thing about shutters is that they add texture and visual interest to an area.

And finally, my favourite pastime. You can paint them. It’s a temporary accent wall. One you can repaint as your style evolves or with the seasons.

So they’re useful for products, flexible to break up a space and can be a canvas in their own right.


My retail space is at Homemade at The Barn in Cambridgeshire, England. I’ve been there since March 2021 and my space has changed a lot over that time.

And will continue to, no doubt!

But here’s how it looked when I moved in!

When I moved into my current booth, I painted the large wall navy blue. I used a paint from Valspar called Night’s Blue Arch, which was easy to use and covered reasonably well.

I liked my wall but every time something sold, I had a hole to hide or cover.

Rented retail space without shutters

Thankfully, I was offered shutters to avoid making holes in my wall. They were grey and a bit distressed, great for a rustic barn.

But it niggled at me that they didn’t suit my blue wall.

Old shutters for rented retail booth before painting

So, even better, I was allowed to paint them. I planned to start with the same blue paint, to make them look cohesive.

Fortunately I bought enough paint so that I would have leftovers for touch-ups. And I still had plenty left.

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How to paint old shutter doors

So, I took the old shutters home to paint.

Painting the old shutters with Valspar paint

And this is when I realised that I have been spoiled by furniture paint. Because it took so many coats to get good coverage.

In fact, I actually gave up!

When I painted the wall, it took three coats.

The door on the right is after one coat. The door on the left is after two. It had glimmers of the dark blue but was a long way from solid coverage.

First and second coat of Valspar paint

I stopped on coat four on these shutters. And they weren’t a match yet.

It still wasn’t as dark as the wall. However, I knew that I was going to add more paint, so decided that it was enough.

This piece needed the most coats of paint I’ve ever done, phew!

Painting old shutters with clay paint

I’ve just discovered clay-based paint which is great for blending and layering. So, it was time to get creative.

I had this selection of paint colours to choose from. I imagined a space-galaxy kind of look. As I was starting with a dark blue base, that would tie together well.

Clay paint colours
London Blue, Prairie Dawn, Blue Moon, Galaxy, Cerulean Blue, Bougainvillea and Daffodil

This pretty thing was the first project I used with these new paints.

There wasn’t a strategy for my painting. I literally used one brush and a mister bottle and played around with adding different colours and blending them together.

Adding clay paint

I didn’t think I would use much Daffodil yellow but it added a nice highlight.

My favourite colour was Bougainvillea, the red colour. Thank goodness for spellcheck, as I haven’t written that name correctly yet.

I decided to finish painting one door before starting on the other so I could compare them.

Isn’t it a dreamy melting pot of colour? Like an ocean.

Before and after of the clay paint

How to seal clay paint

While the shutters are a low-traffic area and only for displaying products. They still need sealing because the paint is clay-based and therefore can smudge if it gets wet.

On my last clay-paint project, I used spray wax. But hand-spraying all the slats didn’t appeal to me.

I used Howdy-Do Hemp Seed Oil instead. It really is one of the easiest top coats you’ll ever use.

This is how hemp seed oil looks over black paint.

I poured some hemp seed oil onto an old t-shirt and wiped it across each slat. This made the bright colours pop even more. It looks so vivid and pretty.

Sealing shutters with hemp seed oil

The next day I checked to see if there was any left on the surface. If you can see any it’s because the wood can’t absorb any more and needs wiping off.

It gives lower protection than some sealers but is perfect for these old shutters.

I can’t decide if they are galaxies or oceans but I love them either way.

Using old shutters for rented retail booth

A great low-effort solution for displaying products in my retail space. I highly recommend them as an option if you struggle with your rented space.

You might enjoy seeing some progress photos of my time at The Barn. It is such a beautiful location to be in.

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Old shutters rented retail booth
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Lyn Lamb
Lyn Lamb
1 month ago

Fab idea Rachel, they look the biz! I love to read your blog with my morning coffee, it’s so interesting & I always pick up great tips which I take back to my friends upcycling shop here in Edinburgh.
A big thank you for taking the time to write, it’s always appreciated ❤

Donna
29 days ago

Great idea to use shutters in your retail space! They add visual interest and are so functional! I love the paint treatment you used! You have a wonderful space! Good luck with your booth!

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