Shops vie for customers' attention with unique storefront displays meant to grab the attention of passersby and keep it there. They've developed a hefty bag of tricks to do just that. We've asked three local stores with standout window scenes to let us in on their secrets.

Shops vie for customers' attention with unique storefront displays meant to grab the attention of passersby and keep it there. They've developed a hefty bag of tricks to do just that.

We've asked three local stores with standout window scenes to let us in on their secrets. Give your room the retail window treatment and translate their design strategies into a gossip-worthy home design.

Vintage: Flower Child

It all started with some broken Waterford crystal.

Joe Valenti was working at a department store and had created the average window display showcasing the fancy goblets and bowls when he realized he'd left his staple gun in the corner of the space. As he went to retrieve it, he accidentally rear-ended the display and the crystal shattered on the ground.

"The way the light hit it when it was broken, I was like, 'Oh my god, that's really pretty,'" Valenti recalled.

He swept the broken shards into a sort of sculpture and hung a hot pink hammer above it. Fired he was not.

"My boss said it was the most expensive mistake I could have made," he said, "but it worked."

In fact, the mistake helped inspire a career full of innovative window displays. Valenti's clever constructions at his store Flower Child are almost something of legend.

Valenti walks through the cavernous shop and makes a mental inventory of the merchandise and the displays before he settles on a design.

He said he always tries to say something artistically new with his displays, but the biggest priority "is to teach the customer how to use the product." Like how to style that floral print muu muu or how to make that '70s-era roller skate work as a bookend.

Sometimes he takes the ideas home: The giant can opener in the current Campbell's tomato soup window display normally sits on his kitchen cabinets beside antique tins.

Try it at home : Employ the rule of threes.

The theory behind this rule is that three of something - or any odd number for that matter - strikes a balance in design. It gives the eye some middle ground on which to rest, whether it's a row of three soup cans or three art pieces hung above a couch.

Try it at home : Create visual triangles.

"Triangles make the eye dance," Valenti said. "Take their head up, then make them look left, look right." This lets viewers experience the whole design. The idea can be as literal as stacking items in a pyramid. Or it can be applied more broadly: Space objects in a way that viewers' eyes travel in the shape of a triangle. Don't be afraid to get all scalene - no equal sides, no equal angles - on the room, either.