How to Select and Design Retail Lighting in 5 Steps

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Do you have a retail establishment? Are interested in attracting more customers to your products? One of the best ways to achieve this is through upgrading your retail lighting. Having effective retail lighting will highlight specific products on display, making them more visible to passing shoppers. You can establish a retail lighting plan of your own by including different lighting types and fixtures, and choosing the right light bulbs. To learn more about maximizing on the best practices for lighting your store, keep reading this blog post.

  1. Learn the Basic Types of Retail Lighting

Prior to setting up the retail lighting design that you want, you need to first understand the purpose behind each type of lighting. Here are the four different kinds of lighting that are seen in stores:

  1. Accent lighting

Accent lighting is known to dramatically highlight areas or items in your store, and is great for grabbing the attention of potential customers. It can be installed in any place inside the store, whether that be shelves, windows, or walls. It is also used for backlighting by placing it behind shelves, or in the front to act as a spotlight and help brighten corners.

  1. Task lighting

Task lighting is a kind of lighting that brightens a spot, making it easier to complete certain tasks. Its prime objective is to illuminate an area more than any other lighting is capable of doing. That way, it will be more convenient for people to do what they need to do. Examples of areas that use task lighting include service desks, checkout counters, dressing rooms, office spaces, stockrooms, and warehouses. 

  1. Ambient lighting

Ambient lighting is the main source of lighting that is used inside stores. It lights up every corner, while providing enough light to make sure that customers are able to see their surroundings. At the same time, it also sets the tone of the place with its soft, bright lights.

  1. Decorative lighting

Decorative lighting entails eye-catching fixtures that offer an aesthetic value to your store. In most cases, they are flexible, since they can be used as an ambient, accent, or task lighting.

  1. Identify How Much Area You Need 

After sketching out your retail lighting layout, determine the total floor area that needs to be illuminated. First, compute the dimensions of the space. Next, multiply the dimensions with 2.5 lumens, which is the maximum recommended brightness for a space. Your sum is the total amount of lumens that will be needed to provide sufficient light for your space. If you would like to take things one step further, you can place the light fixtures no more than 6 feet apart from each other. In addition, the amount of distance between the fixtures will also depend on your desired effect and on the type of lighting used.

  1. Determine the Kind of Light Source You Need

Before deciding on a light fixture, learn more about the kind of light source that you will need for your store. The color and brightness of the light source plays a significant role in setting the ambience that you are looking for. 

Warm vs. Cool

The warmness and coolness of the light source are measured by color temperature or Kelvin (K). This value is visible in any box of light lamps or bulbs. The higher the value of K, the whiter the color of the light will be. If you would like to have a softer and warmer tone, you should choose a light source that has a low Kelvin value. On the other hand, if you have your mind set on a crisper tone that imitates natural lighting, aim for a higher Kelvin value.


The brightness level of a light source is measured in lumens. The higher the value, the brighter the light will be. This value can also be used as a retail lighting guideline when figuring out how bright you want your store to be.

Light bulbs, lamps, and strips come in different forms, but they can all be organized into four categories that are commonly found in the market:

Incandescent lights

These lights are not only affordable, but also emit a warm color in every direction, making them a good option for ambient lighting. However, they are not energy-efficient and do not have long lifespans. As a result of this, they are being pulled out of shelves, and some countries are even banning them, as an effort to move towards greener energy consumption.

Halogen lights

Halogen lights take incandescent lights up a level. They offer a wide range of color temperature and are the best for both accent and task lighting. Even so, in comparison to other bulb types, they are also less energy-efficient and have a shorter lifespan.

LED lights

LED lights are very versatile, since they are used for different kinds of lighting, including task, accent, or ambient lighting. They also come in a range of different shapes, sizes, and designs, which is the reason why they are a go-to for many businesses. In regards to lifespan and energy-efficiency, they are better than other retail lighting solutions. They are also available in a wide range of brightness, temperature, and color, but tend to be the most expensive lighting option.

Fluorescent lights (CFLs)

CFLs are very popular for ambient lighting in the world of retail lighting solutions. They can be found in tube and bulb options and have an entire range of color temperatures. In terms of cost, lifespan, and energy-efficiency, they are situated between halogen lights and LED bulbs.

After deciding on the kind of light source your store needs, it will be easier to select the right fixture. Just make sure that your retail lighting design caters to your store’s theme and branding.

  1. Estimate the Cost and Budget

After choosing the fixture of your choice, the amount that is required for your space, and the area you want to place them in your store, start estimating the total costs of your retail lighting design. Whether or not you will need to replace or remove the retail lighting design of your store will depend entirely on your budget. There is also a possibility that you will have to search for alternative and more affordable light fixtures that are easier to service. Tally the cost of wiring, retrofitting, and installation of the lights as well.

  1. Execute the Plan

The final step is for you to put the plan for your retail lighting design into action. You might need to make a few tweaks here and there to see the perfect effect. Do not hesitate to make any changes to your design. Over time, trends will come and go. For that reason, you should keep yourself updated about the latest styles to attract as many customers as possible.

Designing a  lighting scheme for your retail store definitely requires many factors. By using the process and tips covered above, you will be prepared to develop a retail lighting plan that will make your space stand out and make the most of your customers’ experience and your brand.

If you are interested in turning your retail lighting plan into a DIY project, you should definitely jump at the opportunity to challenge yourself! Or you can always request help from a professional retail lighting solutions provider. 

Author’s Bio

Afsara Tasnim is a content writer for BreezeMaxWeb, who helps businesses grow their online presence through creating engaging copy. During her spare time, she enjoys taking photographs of nature and exploring the outdoors.