Guide to commercial lighting for different venues

If you are responsible for the lighting in any type of commercial building, there are so many things you need to consider if you want to get it right. These considerations include:

  • Correctly illuminating the space
  • Getting the light fixture to suit the space
  • The type of venue (lighting a restaurant is very different from lighting an office space)
  • The impact of the lighting on the people who occupy the space
  • The budget you have to work with
  • Any opportunities to make more energy-efficient choices
  • How you will maintain the lighting in the years to come

With so much thought required to make your decision, it’s understandable that you may not know where to start. Our team has put together this guide to commercial lights, to help you make an informed decision about the lighting in your workplace.

Commercial lights for different venues

One of the many things that you need to consider before deciding how you’re going to approach lighting, is the purpose of the room and the atmosphere you’re trying to create. You’ll need to create a different environment in an office space, for example, than you would in a restaurant, gym or retail space.

How to light an office space

When lighting an office, you will need to create a productive atmosphere conducive to cohesive work and collaboration– so let this inform your lighting choices. Our points to consider are:

  • Keep the environment as light as possible. Exposure to light is thought to improve productivity, so increase the number of lamps and the amount of natural light available in the office.
  • Add individual table lights at desks, so employees can choose whether they need more light or not, and the direction in which they want their light to point.
  • Increase the number of daylight lamps and bulbs, especially in the colder months when it’s darker outside and people are less exposed to natural light.
  • Consider putting lights on timers or smart management systems, to ensure you have control over energy usage and can turn lights off remotely if they’re left on for too long.

How to light a restaurant

Restaurant lighting needs to help guests feel welcome and relaxed, as well as encouraging them to have an appetite and indulge themselves a little! Lighting can contribute in the following ways:

  • Layer your lighting. Use a base layer of lighting to create an ambiance, and use additional accent lighting for decoration, or to illuminate key areas.
  • Lighting can highlight individual tables, contributing to the overall appearance of the room. An individual light on (or over) a table can also make the dining experience more intimate.
  • Consider adapting lighting for different meals, with lighting getting less bright throughout the day. Diners associate breakfast, for example, with daybreak and bright light, so increase the lighting. Opt for less illumination when serving lunch, and even less for dinner.
  • Don’t make the room too bright. Softer shades are more relaxing, so make sure your choice of light bulb colour temperature reflects this. Read more about colour temperature in our guide to light bulb types

How to light a shop

When lighting a shop, you’ll need to think about displaying products in the best light, whilst also creating a welcoming environment that encourages visitors to browse and purchase.

  • Use bright lights at the store front to highlight window displays, make products Create ambiance by choosing an overall, mid-level light that allows customers to see the items they’re browsing.
  • For clothing, often the decision to purchase is made in the changing room, so make sure the lighting in there is flattering. If possible, make changing room lighting adjustable so customers can see how clothes can look in different lights.
  • Use lighting to illuminate and draw attention to key products. Spotlights are a great choice for this.

How to light a gym

The lighting in a gym needs to be bright and clear, so people can use the equipment safely, and visitors need to feel welcome – and motivated to work out. Try out the following with gym lighting:

  • Envisage where the equipment will be positioned, and build the lighting system around the different zones of the gym.
  • Maximise the potential of lighting with mirrors, which will help to distribute light throughout the space.
  • With tall equipment and apparatus around a gym, you will need to keep lighting out of the way to make the most out of the space. Recessed or panel lighting is a good choice for this, as it fits into the ceiling.
  • Pay attention to the ceiling lights. Gym-users working on benches will spend some of their time looking at the ceiling so make sure they have a low glare.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how lighting can affect mood, you can read our blog post on the impact of lighting on mood here.

We hope this post has enlightened you on how to light a commercial space. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our team, who are best positioned to advise you on the best products for your needs.