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#5 – Hospitality Lighting Design dos and don’ts

Hospitality Lighting Design Dos And Don’ts


Designing the lighting for hotels and restaurants can be very demanding. You have to consider aesthetics, functionality, costs, and even energy regulations. The things to think about can be overwhelming that it’s not unusual to make a few mistakes in designing the lighting for your hospitality business.

Here’s a guideline on how you can improve your hospitality lighting design, along with the dos and don’ts you must remember.


  1. Use the time of the day as a guide

The operating hours of your restaurant can be used as a guide in setting up the lighting design of the establishment. Matching the intensity of the lights with the time of the day is one of the basic tricks in the book.

Fig. 1. Restaurant during daytime


In a restaurant setting, it’s best to keep the lights bright in the morning. You can supplement natural light with artificial lighting to promote a lively mood; the bright lights also help customers in reading the newspaper.

As lunch approaches, set the brightness to a moderate level. The sun is already high up there at noon, so you don’t want to blind customers with too much light when they enter your hotel or restaurant.

During dinner, use low-intensity lighting to create a warm, private, and intimate atmosphere. People wouldn’t want to dine in a place where people outside can see the food they’re having for supper.


  1. Highlight specific areas with different lighting

Whether it’s a restaurant or a hotel, different sections of the establishment must have certain types of lighting. Using a monotonous lighting design tells customers that there’s nothing noteworthy that attracts their attention. Unless you’re running a hardware shop, a warehouse, or a convenience store, having one set of lighting throughout the place is unappealing.

Restaurants can be tricky to illuminate.

Dining areas should have enough lighting to make it easy for customers to read the menu. Too much brightness, though, can blind them and defeat the purpose of creating a private space for them.

Putting a spotlight over each table or installing sconces on the adjacent walls are the most common solutions used. But if the tables are moveable, a more versatile lighting component like table lamps can be a good alternative.

Reception areas must be lit a bit brighter to enhance the welcoming atmosphere of your establishment. This also makes it easier for your staff and customers to communicate face-to-face without hiding anything.

Ballroom and bar areas will require different sets of lighting designed for providing entertainment.

Outdoor lighting is as important indoor lighting. The exterior of your establishment is the first thing that customers will see. It can spell the difference between enticing a potential client to try your offers and shooing them away because of the unattractive vibe you’re giving.

Remember that first impression lasts, and this is applicable in the business setting too.


  1. Include lighting in your budget or construction plan

Lighting should be part of the construction budget. Skimping on the lighting design will drag down the beauty of your space and furniture, no matter how expensive or exquisite they may be.

Collaborate with your architect and lighting designer when constructing or renovating your commercial space. This will ensure you’re all on the same page in the intended style and branding you want to establish with customers.

Allocate also a certain budget for maintenance since bulbs will eventually burn out. Failing to replace several faulty lighting fixtures can leave a bad impression on customers. It can be interpreted as negligence and poor quality control.


  1. Use a variety of lighting elements

The kind of lighting you need will depend on how you want to present your brand to customers. Variety can capture customer curiosity, but too much contrast can cause confusion and defeat the goal of making your brand memorable.

Before you think about the design and aesthetic enhancement lighting can bring, it must accomplish its primary function first.

Is it suited to fulfill a specific task? Is it designed to enhance the ambiance of the space? Or is it intended to accentuate certain areas? Stunning hospitality lighting design is worth nothing if it doesn’t work as intended.

When you’re in the hospitality business, investing in aesthetics is a vital aspect. From furniture pieces to draperies, everything has to be perfect. But an underwhelming lighting design that poorly highlights your assets can drag down everything you’ve worked hard for.

Functionality must be the foremost consideration. However, in the hotel and restaurant settings, appearances matter, so there should be a balance between practicality and aesthetics.

Using LED light fixtures is a practical option to save on energy costs. But think about the quality of brightness it gives and decide whether it delivers the effect you want to achieve. Incandescent light fixtures may be the better option, but the tradeoff is higher energy costs.

Fig. 2. Natural light entering the room


Letting in natural light can also help in creating the desired mood for optimal customer experience. Not only can this help save on energy costs but also improve the welcoming and relaxing ambiance of your hotel or restaurant.

Variety is good as long as it conforms with your branding. A professional lighting designer like Baseline Lighting Design Studio can help you decide the best hospitality lighting fixtures suited for your establishment.


  1. Don’t forget your employees

You might be too focused on pleasing customers that you forget about the comfort of your staff.

The cashier area should be well-lit to make sure transactions remain transparent and secure. Put a poor lighting design here and it won’t be a surprise if people miscount the payment or the change.

Fig. 3. Kitchen lighting


The kitchen area has to have the brightest lighting in your establishment. Food preparation is a meticulous task that needs every bit of focus the chefs can give. The list of orders, food quality, and kitchen hazards – everything has to be completely visible to avoid accidents and customer complaints.

Investing in the safety and comfortability of your employees is one of the keys to growing your business. Your staff will be able to perform their best in serving customers when they know that you prioritize their welfare.


  1. Observe energy codes

In planning your hospitality lighting design, it’s critical to follow the energy codes established in your region. Most states use the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in determining the energy-efficiency of an establishment.

The code requirements will dictate the type and strength of lighting fixtures you can use. Exceeding the prescribed consumption can result in a redesign which is costly and time-consuming.

The call for the environmental responsibility of businesses continues to get louder, thus the need for greener lighting solutions for those in the hospitality industry. According to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, about 10% of the energy consumption cost in the commercial industry is dedicated to lighting only.

LED bulbs and other modern lighting systems offer better sustainability and efficiency. Consider upgrading or integrating these components into your hospitality lighting design. They’re both energy-efficient and available in a variety of aesthetically pleasing designs. Many of them also have smart features, allowing you to control their intensity and color for better versatility and convenience.


  1. Hire an expert

Why suffer from the headache of deciding which lighting components to install in your hotel or restaurant when you can just hand over the reins to an expert?

Hiring a lighting designer like Baseline Lighting Design Studio will ensure you get the most out of your lighting resources. We understand the latest trends, technologies, techniques, and products necessary for bringing the best out of your brand through lighting design. We can transform your hotel or restaurant into a sought-after destination for customers.

Having a lighting designer will give you the confidence that your lighting installations fit your branding. You’ll also have more time on your hands to focus on developing better marketing campaigns since you don’t have to worry about the hospitality lighting design to use.



Hospitality lighting design helps create the desired drama or effect that will enhance the appeal of your establishment. Intrigue and interest are the elements lighting taps into to entice customers to give your business a try. Without a proper lighting plan, your business may not be able to fully achieve its potential.

Baseline Lighting Design Studio can help in the simulation, management, installation, operation, and maintenance of the lighting in your hospitality business. Drop us a message if you’re interested in knowing how our hospitality lighting design can help improve sales and customer experience.

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