See all those empty windows downtown? Here are 4 creative ways to fill them

If you want your downtown to look lively and like a good place to be, you need to fill in some of those empty windows. Yes, I mean the windows in those empty buildings, but I’m also talking about the nearly-blank windows you see in your service businesses and utilities. Just because they don’t have a retail display doesn’t mean they have to leave their windows empty. 

We’ve talked before about putting a display from another business or using banner-sized photos to fill the windows. (Want to see pics?) But let’s get a little more creative. 

1. Make a mini-museum. Work with the local museum to make a temporary display in the windows. This works even for tiny outdoors display cases, which you sometimes see on old jewelry store buildings. 

2. Hang kids’ artwork. This is a good one for approaching those hard-to-convince building owners. They may so no to advertising another business, but can they say no to the kids? 

3. Promote an event. You have posters and signs for your big festival or event, and those windows are just waiting there…. Yes, you have to talk the building owner into it. (Unless they live really far away, then maybe some ninjas will come down at night and hang posters on the outside. Just sayin’.)

4. Have a deep display window? Start a SmOffice. That’s a Small Office. Think about it: an office can be just a small work desk. Some buildings have those spacious retail display areas just inside the windows. I’m sure there is an independent professional in your town who would be happy to have a downtown presence, and they’d get a lot of attention whenever they worked in the windows. I first heard this idea when someone told me about the Smoffice in Durham, NC.

Whether a building is used for storage, is sitting empty, or is entirely collapsed except for the windows, you don’t have to just stare at that blank stretch of glass. What creative things have you seen done to fill empty windows? 

Keep shaping the future of your town,