How to Achieve a Luxurious Feel in Retail Spaces Through Lighting Design

Shop Fitting Services / January 2, 2024

Achieving the ultimate luxurious feel in retail spaces is a challenge repeatedly taken up by the team here at 360 Shopfitters, and we have learned some precious tips and tricks over the years. Many subtle elements combine to create the perfect luxurious ambience, none more important than the lighting design. In this article, we will share the gems we have unearthed during our custom design and shop fitting journey so you can better understand the simple principles involved and how to incorporate them into your design scheme. 

Why focus on lighting?

There are several excellent reasons to pay particular attention to the quality of your retail lighting, not the least of which is that it has been proven to encourage sales. Many who take on the challenge of refitting their retail space underestimate its powerful effect. It is fine to have bright, piercing lights when shopping to buy groceries or other items that could be deemed necessary rather than desirable. 

When aiming to entice people into our retail spaces, it is crucial to make the lighting design warm and welcoming. Nobody wants to browse high-end dresses or luxury wristwatches under the glare of an unflattering, headache-inducing fluorescent nightmare. Creating the right ambient light and carefully highlighting specific items and areas with additional directional lights is crucial to drawing people into a space and encouraging them to spend money. So, why focus on lighting? 

  • Few design elements are more effective at enticing potential customers into your space. 
  • Merchandise can be displayed and lit to your exact requirements, whether the aim is to accurately represent colours or design features or give a more atmospheric, moody feel.
  • Attention can be focused on crucial display areas where customers will be drawn naturally and instinctively through the space. 
  • It is possible to create dramatic, exciting effects and areas of focus by juxtaposing light and dark areas. 

Bringing your vision to life

It’s impossible to bring your vision to life if it doesn’t exist conceptually, and that is the place to begin. Ask yourself some fundamental questions, including:

  • What general ambience am I hoping to create?
  • Do my products require brighter lights for increased scrutiny, reading information labels, etc?
  • Is the selling point of my products based more on the feel people have for them or specific details? For example, people’s spontaneous love for particular clothing items is often more about the vibe created. They require brighter lighting when trying on garments, but the initial attraction is partly due to the ambience created in the display areas. 
  • Will the ‘temperature’ of my lighting affect the appearance of the products?
  • Which key displays and areas do I need to highlight?
  • How will I do that? 
  • Are my existing light fixtures fit for purpose?
  • What budget do I have to create the whole lighting experience?

The four basic types of retail lighting

Instead of broadly illuminating a given area, a well-planned, effective lighting scheme will utilise various types of lighting, balancing them to enhance the overall effect. The four main types in retail settings are:

  • Ambient – Doing the bulk of the illumination in any retail space, ambient lighting is the overall lighting of the store that must deliver enough light to allow customers to see where they are going and avoid accidents. It takes various forms, from ceiling or suspended downlights that shine directly downwards into the space to uprights that reflect light off the ceiling and disperse it more evenly. Ambient lighting is the unavoidable element of any scheme but does little to highlight individual areas. It needs the assistance of other forms of lighting to create a pleasant ambience and focused delivery.
  • Display – As the name suggests, more intense and directional lighting highlights specific displays and objects. In modern shopfitting projects, LED lighting is frequently employed, offering excellent illumination at a low cost and with minimal energy consumption.
  • Accent – More intense than other forms of retail lighting, accent lights are the bright ones that penetrate the overall ambient lighting and can be placed strategically to guide shoppers through any space, drawing attention from one display area to the next.
  • Decorative – Although primarily cosmetic, lighting elements such as chandeliers, novelty light shades, pendants, and other bespoke lights provide additional ambient lighting and can draw the eye to new areas.

These lighting types are carefully balanced to attain maximum versatility and practicality. More subtle ambient lighting with well-appointed additional lights can create a feeling of understated luxury that will enhance any marketing display or product line.  

Colour temperature

When discussing colour ‘temperature,’ we refer to the light’s warmth or coolness. Warmer light makes people feel relaxed and soothed, whereas cooler light can be stark and less enticing. Each has its place in the retail world, but lighting on the cooler end of the spectrum must be expertly handled so as not to feel official, harsh, and hospital-like. If you happen to be browsing new laptops and need to compare and contrast the features, it is of little use to have warm, dark spaces and be unable to read any of the information. However, bathing an entire space in harsh fluorescent light is seldom the answer, and some balance can always be found using the four lighting types mentioned above.

Contact us

If you are ready to take the next step and engage our professional shopfitters’ services, please contact us at 360 Shopfitters today. We will gladly answer any questions, address any comments, and put the wheels in motion for your bespoke custom lighting design as and when required.