5 Rules for Commercial Lighting Solutions in Retail Spaces

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of designing a retail space. Commercial lighting solutions serve many purposes to the store owner, employees, and customers. Since lighting is so critical for any retail business, we are going to be discussing 5 of the most important modern commercial lighting rules. If you haven’t yet explored the world of retail lighting yet, then this blog will be an introduction. If you’re already familiar with retail lighting, you can refresh your memory as to the most important retail lighting rules. Let’s take a look at a few rules and tricks to help you optimize your commercial space.

Keep Your Lighting Temperature the Same Throughout Your Space

Careful selection and uniform temperature is one of the key rules for commercial lighting solutions 

A furniture store will feature warmer lighting.

Before we get into the specific rules of lighting temperature, let’s define what color temperature is exactly. The lighting “temperature” refers to how much the light appears either yellow or blue. Yellow is referred to as “warm” light while blue light is referred to as “cool light.” 

Now that we know what color temperature is, let’s take a look at some of the commercial lighting solutions rules for warm and cool light. The first rule you should consider when planning your retail space is that you should only choose one of the two options in each space. Combining warm and cool light can lead to an unsettling profile for your customers. Whether you want to focus more on warm or cool light will depend on your specific retail store. For example, if you are trying to create a cozier environment you should go for warmer light while cooler light creates feelings of seriousness or urgency. Consider the difference between the lighting at a furniture store versus a car dealership — it is likely the furniture store will trend warmer and the car dealership will trend cooler. 

Pay Attention to the Color Rendering Index

Different from color temperature, the color rendering index is an important element of commercial lighting solutions

Make sure your lighting accentuates your merchandise.

The next thing to consider in terms of lighting is the color rendering index (CRI). The color rendering index refers to the light’s capability to illuminate distinct colors. In the case of a retail store, there may be several different shades of denim that might not seem initially different to the naked eye. In this case, you would want a high CRI for your display so customers and employees can differentiate between the dye colors. It is suggested that you keep an eye out for a CRI of 80 or more if you are offering items with several distinct color choices. 

Avoid Using Just One Light Per Space

When it comes to solutions for commercial lighting, it is best practice to layer lights instead of using just one

Use track lighting to create layers for each display.

One light just isn’t going to cut it for your modern commercial lighting display. In order to present a compelling lighting profile for your customers, you need to layer lighting design to create an attractive display. When only one light source is used for a display, it ends up looking washed out and just isn’t as eye-catching as when multiple sources of light are used. Right now, using multiple lights for a single display is considered an industry standard.

Understand How Natural Light Affects Your Store

Natural light is a great asset for commercial lighting solutions—just make sure it is properly supplemented

Natural light is excellent, but it isn’t always optimal depending on the weather.

Natural light is always welcome in a retail setting. Even if you have excellent natural light, you still need to plan your lighting to work alongside the natural light so as to not cause any disconnect. It is recommended to use as much natural light as you can because it is the most appealing to the eyes. Just remember, natural light varies depending on the day. While it may make your space look perfect on a sunny day, you will need some supplemental lighting for cloudy or rainy days. 

Remember, Safety First!

Though your lighting needs to be appealing, it also needs to be functional

Ensure all employee areas are well lit to avoid safety concerns.

We’ve talked a lot about the aesthetic rules for modern commercial lighting, but we have yet to discuss light from a utilitarian perspective. Your lighting, while attractive, also has to perform in a way that keeps your business running smoothly. For example, if there are improperly lit areas in your space — like a staircase — that is a safety concern. It is also important to keep any employee work areas well lit so they can do their job properly. That means checkout areas, storage rooms, and any other areas where employees will be consistently working.

Now that we’ve taken a closer look at 5 of the most important rules ofcommercial lighting solutions, it’s time to apply them to your space. Lighting is often overlooked when it comes to retail design, but it can alter the look, feel, and workflow for your store significantly.


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