The 5 Rules of Retail Lighting

cmi lighting rules of retail lighting

Follow these rules of retail lighting to create an inviting space for your customers.

When designing your commercial location, selecting the best lighting is essential. The lighting in your retail establishment should provide visibility and highlight your items while providing a pleasant experience for the customer. There are five rules of retail lighting we like to follow at CMI Lighting. If you are ready to upgrade your commercial lighting solutions, contact the commercial electricians at CMI Lighting to discover how to improve your retail space. 

Choose a Consistent Color Temperature

Color temperature is a key component of a well-designed lighting layout. Color temperature refers to how warm (yellow) or cool (white to blue-white) the light appears to the eyes. Why is color temperature so important for retail lighting? Temperature plays a role in how customers perceive your space. For instance, a warmer temperature creates a cozy, intimate atmosphere and may be best for some clothing stores. Cool temperature lighting inspires alertness and is often used in tech stores. 

Finding the right temperature for your store depends on many factors, like the location and design of your store. However, the lighting must be consistent throughout the space, whether you choose warm or cold. 

Layer Your Light Sources

The illumination of your retail space should come from several different light sources to be effective and visually appealing. You don’t want to illuminate the entire space through a few overhead light fixtures. That solution is outdated for retail and leaves your space looking washed out. The final result is much easier on the eyes when you layer lighting by using several fixtures with multiple lead spread directions. 

Utilize Windows – But Don’t Rely On Them

The windows in your retail location help you create a natural light source that helps you save on lighting expenses during the day. However, while you want to utilize this natural light source as much as possible, you shouldn’t rely on it too much. If your location is open at night or there is an overcast day, the light source will not be enough without the help of artificial lights to compensate for any clouds. When planning your lighting layout, make sure you don’t rely on your windows to provide you with essential lighting. 

Choose the Right Color Rendering Index

The color rendering index (CRI) is the ability of a light fixture to differentiate colors to the naked eye. The CRI is important in many locations, but especially in retail locations with many colors for consumers to consider. A higher CRI rating will provide greater differentiation between colors, so opt for a CRI of at least 80+ for most retail lighting.  

Always Put Safety First

Many retail spaces will choose to light key areas, such as places where merchandise is highlighted or registers are located, but then leave other areas dim. One of the most important rules of retail lighting is to ensure that you always create a safe environment for customers. Precarious places, like stairs, walkways, and entrances, must always be appropriately lit so customers can navigate your store safely. 


With over 35 years in the industry, CMI has an array of equipment to handle the logistics of any in-house job. We also frequently provide solutions to property managers and upcoming developments. CMI Companies provides services in the Mid-Atlantic Region and proudly serves clients in Northern Virginia, Maryland, Richmond, Southern Virginia, Manassas, Prince William County, Fairfax County, Rockville, and Prince George’s County. Also, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 14th, 2022 at 12:32 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.