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#14 – Hospitality Lighting Design For Beginner

Hospitality Lighting Design For Beginner


Lighting can transform space and alter how people interact with it. It can enhance textures, highlight interiors, and change the hotel’s atmosphere, ultimately affecting the customer’s perception and emotional state while inside an establishment. Interior and lighting designs are interrelated disciplines that must be merged to create a holistic and immersive customer experience. To achieve this, there are specific objectives that hotel lighting design beginners must keep in mind.

Hospitality Lighting Design Objectives 

There’s a wide array of lighting fixtures, styles, and techniques to use in designing a hotel. But all these are applied to achieve the following goals:

  • Comply with prescribed energy standards.
  • Provide the right amount of lighting on certain areas in the establishment.
  • Enhance spaces so that they consistently reflect the desired brand identity.
  • Use a cost-effective lighting system without sacrificing the hotel’s aesthetic value.
  • Build a sustainable operation toward a greener environment.
  • Make the bulbs in the lighting fixtures easy to replace.
  • Eliminate hazards for both employees and guests.

Regardless of the style selected, lighting consultants will always keep these objectives in mind. These concepts will help consultants like Baseline Lighting Design Studio remember both the functional and aesthetic purposes of hospitality lighting design solutions.

Applying Hospitality Lighting Deisgn

What makes hospitality lighting design tricky is how each space has its own lighting needs. Here are the different hotel areas and the lighting design guide that will help beginners determine the type of lighting fixture to install.

  • Exterior and façade

The building’s architecture and signages will be the first things that will catch customer attention. The use of hospitality lighting design in this area should be striking but not imposing. The establishment should be  effectively visible from a distance but not overbearingly illuminated when within its proximity.

Fig. 1. Outside Resort Villa Hotel (Source: Baseline)
Fig. 1. Outside Resort Villa Hotel

Using ground lights and wall-mounted up-lighters are great choices for highlighting the façade. However, the brightness shouldn’t be too strong to avoid glare and light spilling into the rooms.

Trees, fountains, stairs, pillars, and other ornamental features can be lightly decorated with accent lighting to create a dramatic effect that will emphasize the architecture and the surrounding landscape.

  • Lobby 

The lobby is the gateway to the rest of the hotel. It must stand out and be impressive enough to set high customer expectations. The hospitality lighting design in this area must provide safety, reinforce brand identity, and compliment architecture. It’s the first opportunity of the hotel to exhibit its distinct qualities with the help of atmospheric lighting.

Fig. 2. Hotel lobby with a warm ambiance
(Source: Baseline)

Warm, classy, and navigational – getting the right lighting balance will make this area functional for registration purposes and comfortable for guests to temporarily stay while their room is prepared.

The reception desk is where the staff is introduced to clients. This is where most business transactions will take place, so it’s only sensical to have this area well-lit. This will promote transparency and make employees more approachable for customers.

Consider using smart and controllable light sources for the hotel lighting design. This can improve cost-efficiency since lighting can be automatically adjusted according to the time of the day. From bright lights in the morning, the intensity can be toned down as evening approaches to create a warm atmosphere for guests.

Some of the common choices for light fixtures in lobbies are downlights, recessed lighting, track lights, and pendant lights. Bigger lobbies have customized chandeliers and use a mix of ground lights.

  • Hallways and corridors 

After guests finish their business in the lobby, they’re now ready to get to their rooms. Corridors connect these two distinct elements, as well as other functional areas in the hotel. These passageways should maintain brand consistency while providing a seamless transition from one place to another.

Fig. 3. A wide hallway with dome lighting
Fig. 2. Hotel lobby with a warm ambiance

Hospitality lighting design on corridors must provide ample lighting for safety and navigability. Putting too much lighting on these areas is impractical, though, since people rarely stay along corridors.

Energy-efficient lights moderately spaced from each other should be enough to provide illumination for safer passage. Corridors must also have a well-lit emergency and exit signs so that people know where to go in troubling scenarios.

Domes, downlights, and sconces are often used in hallways to create an inviting atmosphere without being too bright.

  • Guest rooms 

Guest rooms must provide total privacy, comfort, and safety the moment customers enter them. Hotel rooms act as an extension or a secondary home to guests, so they must provide that homey and warm ambiance.

Fig. 4. A chic hotel room
Fig. 5. Hong Kong Cricket Club

Guests shouldn’t have a hard time watching TV, reading, writing, or sleeping under the room lights. Installed lights and switches must provide better control over which light source to use. No two guests have the same preference, so the room lighting must be flexible enough to accommodate client needs.

Various parts of the room need certain types of light to accomplish distinct tasks. This means lights on the closet, hallway, bathroom, desk table, side table, and mirror may differ in color and brightness. The overall ambient lighting of the room must also provide a warm and comfortable feeling that’s neither too bright nor too dim.

  • Ballrooms and activity halls 

Hotels with conference halls should offer hotel lighting design that’s versatile and flexible. Light fixtures should be able to serve a wide range of events and purposes.

The ambient lighting should make the space navigable and comfortable. Lights should also be adjustable or dimmable so as not to interfere with the visibility of audio/visual presentations.

Ceiling mount luminaires, downlights, panels, recessed lighting, slim bars, and spotlights are the fixtures often used in these areas.

  • Restaurants lounges

Lighting is highly important in restaurants. The aim is to invite guests to use the hotel facilities instead of going elsewhere for food and drinks. Additionally, it ensures the safety of guests while eating and also provides excellent illumination for capturing picture-perfect food shots.

Fig. 5. Hong Kong Cricket Club (Source: Baseline)
Fig. 5. Hong Kong Cricket Club (Source: Baseline)

Zoning is an effective lighting technique for subtly differentiating the passageways, food counters, cashiers, restrooms, and dining tables. The contrasting brightness levels can help direct customers to specific areas of the restaurant while emphasizing the atmosphere that needs to be established.

The kind of hospitality lighting design needed for bars, restaurants, and lounges vary according to the brand image promoted. Consider mixing accent and ambient lighting that perfectly blend with the architecture to set the right mood needed.

  • Gym and pool

Fitness areas must be well-lit to ensure guests won’t have trouble operating and using gym equipment. The safety of everyone must be of utmost importance, so using more task lights than accent lights would be advisable.

  • Casinos and entertainment halls

Casinos are energy vacuums. Aside from powering the gaming machines, casinos require a multitude of light sources to illuminate every table in the area. There’s also the ambient lighting necessary for presenting a luxurious and thrilling environment.

  • Emergency exits

Emergency exit doors and passages must be adequately lit and should stay continuously functional. They must be regularly maintained to ensure every light fixture is working as intended.

Signages must always be visible and tested to meet safety standards. Light fixtures need not be fancy in these areas since functionality and durability are of topmost priority.

Hospitality lighting design is complex because it has to deal with customer satisfaction, business brand image, architecture and aesthetics, standards compliance, and energy consumption simultaneously. All these should be accomplished with the lighting fixtures barely noticeable since they should naturally integrate into the architecture and décor.


Get a Hospitality Lighting Design Consultant 

Planning, executing, and maintaining hospitality lighting design is a challenging endeavor. It’s best to hire a professional lighting consultant like Baseline Lighting Design Studio to accomplish these tasks. We’ve worked with numerous hotels and hospitality establishments worldwide, and they’re experiencing the advantage of having an expertly designed lighting solution.

If you want to capture the attention of potential customers even before they enter the establishment, just drop us a message and we’ll handle your business’ hotel lighting design for you.

Send us a message if you’re curious to know how our expertise can help make your hotel business more popular and successful.


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