A lot of us are working on Spring cleaning and remodeling projects, as we get our homes and businesses ready for more friends, family and foot traffic.
Improving the lighting is as important to the look of the areas where we live, work and shop as anything, and a lot of people come to us at Adventure Lighting seeking advice on the proper way to light these areas. While we don’t pretend to be professional light designers, we’ve certainly seen our share of lights and lit space, enough to be able to offer these simple tips for you.
1. Dare To Be Different
I tell home owners and business owners all the time - experiment with your lighting! Let your imagination run wild! And it doesn’t matter whether your talking about lighting in a residential living space, or retail shopping area – let your hair down.
Why? Think about how much lighting we’ve seen throughout our lives – literally hundreds of thousands of lit bulbs in uncountable situations, most of it set up in very common, standard ways. And there’s nothing wrong with that – sometimes, as the saying goes, a cigar is just a cigar, and a light is just a light…regardless of how much it pains me to say that.
But even though our eyes are drawn to light, it takes a lot to really grab and hold our attention – since our eyes think they’ve seen it all. Well we’ll show them a thing or two! Be bold, innovative, playful - use lights and fixtures that are interesting and unusual (I’m sure we have a few among the 100,000 we stock in our Adventure Lighting warehouse) to illuminate areas in ways you’ve never seen before. Mix traditional with unique, be willing to experiment – the visual space you light up is like a canvas, so be the painter and have fun!
2. Use multi-bulb dramatic lighting to show off
Whether you want to show off a new painting, plant or retail display, try fixtures that use several lights. In residential environments, this is most common in bathrooms and kitchens but don’t feel limited to these areas. In retail settings, try isolating the multi-light fixtures in corners, to showcase particular merchandise – this can also create some very interesting shadow effects, depending on how you position the display.
Of course, depending on the retail setting, you may have to make due with traditional flourescents and fixtures. But even so, don’t be afraid to experiment by adding other smaller, more intimate light fixtures – when properly positioned, this combination can create dynamically lit areas that that will grab the attention of your customers.
3. Pay attention to lighting color
More than anything else, the color of the lights you use will dictate how the light is reflected in the room, be it residential or retail. Using off-white colors – from tan to blue or red – will give the room a warmer, more inviting tint. Yet this needs to be balanced, particularly in a retail setting, by what people are looking at in the room and how they need to see it. Obviously, if your customers need to read a lot of small print on labels, then white, bright colors becomes a necessity.
But you also don’t have to light the entire retail space like a grocery store, either – unless it is a grocery store! The lack of light can be more interesting to a shopper’s eyes than the usual highly illuminated space they’re used to seeing in stores. So again, be willing to play with the color of the lights, to create a more soothing, relaxed retail experience.
4. Add LED lights to add dollars at the cash register
Retail studies over the years show that when planned out, properly illuminated retail environments can dramatically increase store traffic and sales. In particular, the use of LED lighting – for floor displays, window displays and to indicate different departments and product categories – can have a powerful impact at the cash register.
People who shop your store obviously don’t know your store like you do. Lighting is the perfect way to “illuminate” them, at least as much as signage can and sometimes when your employees can’t. These lights can focus on particular merchandise or even help guide shoppers in the way they walk through your store – and how you want them to experience it.
The right lights – whether for a residential or retail setting – are critical to creating the perfect environment for you, your family, your guests or your customers. Finding the right lighting look means knowing what works best, and being willing to play with it. In the end, lighting really is like paint and your room, a canvas – so have fun, and paint!
Jack Huff, along with his son Brian and wife Sue, owns and manages Adventure Lighting in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information, go to www.adventurelighting.com