START WITH A PLAN
A considered lighting plan is critical when illuminating any retail space. The layout of a store often changes over time. Displays move and shelving is adjusted. This is why versatile fixtures that are adjustable are preferred by most designers when creating a lighting plan for a retail space.
Recessed lighting and track lights, which can be angled in different directions, work well because the angle of the beam can change direction as desired. Too many light fixtures placed in random spots will cause visual chaos, so designers have to think about what the space needs and install fixtures accordingly.
Each fixture must serve a purpose. Installing fixtures of varying brightness at different levels places more emphasis on certain products. It’s all about creating dimension throughout the store, without making it feel overwhelming.
BALANCE IS KEY
A retail environment calls for a strategic lighting setup that is going to showcase its products in the best light and encourage customers to buy. Most shops stock a multitude of different products which can be overwhelming for the customer to take in all at once.
Lighting that provides contrast between the various products allows the customer to focus on one item at a time and is likely to increase their chances of making a purchase. A well-lit store strikes the perfect balance between ambient and accent lighting and does not use too many contrasting colour temperatures.
AMBIENT LIGHTING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK
Ambient lighting provides a store with its general level of illumination, whilst accent lighting highlights specific items or areas. While creating emphasis with accent lighting adds interest to the space, too much of it has the opposite effect, making it difficult to tell the difference between what is highlighted and what is not.
The aim is to not overdo accent lighting. While it may seem less exciting, ambient lighting is what makes customers feel comfortable in the store, allows them to move about safely, and enables them to examine products in detail.
Different types of retail spaces require different levels of brightness. We measure the brightness of an area in lumens. Essential stores stocking daily necessities need sufficient illumination for customers to see things clearly, 500-800 Lux of ambient lighting per square meter should be fine for this.
High-end retail stores on the other hand should have 300-500 Lux per square meter, as this sets the base illuminance for accent lighting. Mid-level retail environments, where increasing brand awareness is key, do best with a range of 300-500 Lux per square meter.
The UGR (Glare Factor) and RA (Colour Rendering Factor) should also be taken in consideration. Refer to SANS 10114-1, the Artificial Lighting of Interiors standards for the minimum LUX requirements.