Retail Lighting Basics: How to Enhance your Store

Mar 31, 14 Retail Lighting Basics: How to Enhance your Store

Have you ever wondered how much lighting affects a customer’s shopping experience? Well, studies have shown that it has a pretty big impact – more than you might even realize. Because it would be unthinkable to have a store full of products with no light to showcase them, lighting is one of the most important elements to consider when designing the layout of a store.

No two stores are the same and each have different lighting needs, but there are still basic principles and guidelines that should be kept in mind when creating a lighting scheme that will attract customers and keep them coming back for more. Below are a few tips for making the most of your retail space using light.

Color Correctness

Have you ever been inside a store and felt the need to bring a shirt, scarf, or whatever it may be, closer to a window in order to better see its true color? This is because natural daylight has a perfect color rendering index, or what we like to call 100 CRI. We’ve given an explanation of CRI in a previous post, but long story short: the higher the CRI, the more vibrant and true colors will appear to the human eye. When choosing lighting for a retail space, it’s a good idea to install lighting that has a very high CRI around 85 or more. Incandescent and halogen bulbs have a perfect CRI of 100, while LED and fluorescent lights are available in 80+ CRI.

Contrast and Focal Points

retailighting3According to the same aforementioned study, creating contrasts using light and dark areas should be a bigger area of focus the actual brightness of the store. By creating contrasts with lighting, depth is created and customers are better able to perceive the products. Focusing on contrast also gives you the opportunity to create different levels of attention between different products. Using track lighting or spot lights is an effective way to create contrasts and designate focal points. As display windows are usually the customer’s first impression of store, contrasts and focal points are especially important in this area. According to the Museum Store Association, a good rule of thumb is to make these pin-pointed, spot-lit areas three times brighter than the surrounding ambient light.

Create Ambiance

Knowing what kind of atmosphere you want to create in your store is crucial and lighting can help you achieve it. According to a two-part study conducted by Zumtobel, along with the Royal Institute of Technology and Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, the color temperature of light is able to influence the way customers feel about a space. It was found that cool white color temperatures (3500K to 5000K) create a sense of spaciousness, while warm white color temperatures (2700K to 3000K) convey a sense of familiarity and smallness. The color temperature of light you choose is all dependent on the type of atmosphere you want to create.

retaillighting3Well-Lit Shelving

If you’re going to display items inside shelves and cabinets, the interior of your displays should be well-lit. Speaking from personal experience, there are few things more frustrating than digging through a pile of folded shirts on a shelf to find the right size only to realize you can barely see the tag anyways. Using LED tape light hidden within extrusions is a great way to light smaller shelves discretely. The Zumtobel study found that a combination of wide-area backlighting and accent lighting makes the presented items appear to be more attractive and merchandise identification much easier.  

UV Rays and Heat

Something else to take into consideration when you are choosing the type of lighting to use and where to use it is what effect it could potentially have on your products. Using lamps that emit high heat could potentially damage and discolor fabrics and other materials if they are exposed to Ultraviolet (UV) rays  and heat for an extended period of time. LED lighting does not emit UV rays or a noticeable amount of heat, making it a smart option in areas where lights are shone on products constantly.

 

Are there any questions about retail lighting that you would like us to answer? Feel free to leave us a comment below, or give us a shout on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!

read more

A Guide to Energy-Efficient Office Lighting

Mar 03, 14 A Guide to Energy-Efficient Office Lighting

As you can imagine, office buildings consume a pretty substantial amount of energy. According to Southern California Edison, the average commercial office building uses about 30 percent of that consumed energy on lighting. Because lighting does make up such a large portion of energy spent in commercial buildings, the energy efficiency of office lighting is an important factor that should be taken into consideration.  By making a few lighting updates, ranging from major to minor, your office could decrease its electricity consumption.

Update Overhead Lighting

officelightingIf your office still uses incandescent or old fluorescent lighting in large overhead fixtures, it could be time for a much needed update. While fluorescent bulbs do consume less energy than incandescents, they still can’t match the energy savings of LEDs. LED lighting uses about 75 to 80 percent less energy than incandescent light sources and last much longer, too. To replace large fluorescent troffers, you can use LED light panels, which will work just as well and use only a fraction of the energy.

If you have T12 fluorescent lighting, upgrading to T8 fluorescent tubes will make a huge difference in energy savings and light quality. However, if you want to make an even bigger difference in energy savings, switch to 18-watt T8 LED bulbs to replace your 32-watt T8 fluorescents. Over the life of a T8 LED, you can expect to save $77 and make up the entire cost of the lamp in approximately 28 months. They also produce virtually no heat. The less heat being produced in the building, the less you’ll be blasting the air conditioning to try and balance the temperature.  They are also available in color temperatures ranging from warm white to stark white to accommodate your particular preference.

Efficient Accent Lighting

officelighting3Whether it’s track lighting to accentuate your company logo or wall sconces that give your conference room stylish flair, most offices use some form of accent lighting. LED technology has advanced to the point where you can find an LED replacement in a variety of bulb shapes, color temperatures, and lumen outputs to replace incandescents or fluorescents in just about any existing light fixtures. If your wall sconces use incandescent E12s, switch them out for LED candelabra bulbs. The same goes for MR16 track lights or your recessed downlights – the possibilities are endless!

For some ideas on innovative accent lighting, check out our previous blog on where to use LED tape light. It’s a perfect solution for lighting coves, shelving, and other places that will give your office space a modern and unique look.

officelighting4Control the Lights

Because many people stay within the vicinity of their desk or a designated department to do their jobs, there are some areas of the building that don’t require constant lighting, such as restrooms, break rooms, or supply closets. Installing motion sensors in these less occupied areas is a convenient way to monitor the amount of light being used.  If you’re lucky enough to have your own personal office, you could also install a dimmer switch to customize the light levels at any given time while curbing electricity use and extending the life of your office’s lighting.

exitsign1000bulbsLow-Wattage Signs

Safety lighting, such as emergency and exit signs, are imperative to the lighting design of any commercial building. These signs are using energy 24/7, so why not find exit signs that use as little as possible? LED exit signs can last up to 25 years and come in an array of designs that will complement the design of your office space. An even more energy-efficient efficient option is photoluminescent exit signs. These signs don’t require any electricity use and recharge when exposed to external light sources.

 

What are some other ways offices could be more energy efficient? Leave us a comment letting us know, or send us a message on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn!

read more

Where Should You Use LED Tape Light?

Feb 24, 14 Where Should You Use LED Tape Light?

Do you ever find yourself looking for ways to give your space a modern lighting makeover? We’ve got the perfect solution: LED tape light. Due to its thin profile, LED tape light is a discrete lighting option for unexpected and hard-to-reach areas that could never be lit otherwise. Adding to its versatility, tape light comes in a variety of colors, is dimmable, and can be trimmed to fit any space. So, where are some good places to install it? Below are some areas where LED tape light will add a modern element to your overall lighting scheme.

Stairway Lighting

tapelighting6

If you have stairs in your home, you know how jarring it can be to turn on a bright stairway light in the middle of the night just so you don’t trip and fall. Instead of flipping the switch to turn on that downstairs foyer or hallway light, use LED tape light for more subtle illumination that won’t completely take you out of your drowsy, just-woke-up state. Place warm white tape light underneath the upper edges of each stair (pictured to the right) or on the underside of the railing for hidden down lighting. To give the tape light a clean look, you can use LED tape light extrusions to conceal the tape light itself.

Hard-To-Reach Spaces

tapelight7There are certain places in your home that are dark and hard to reach, such as above and under kitchen cabinets and in ceiling coves. LED tape light can turn these seemingly useless spaces into the perfect place for sleek accent lighting. Installed above your cabinets, tape light will provide stylish up lighting and give new life to boring wall space. High-output LED tape light installed in a ceiling cove can pull double-duty as both overhead and accent lighting in your living room.

Display Cabinets and Shelving

tapelighting5LED tape light is also a great option for lighting enclosed areas such as display cabinets, shelving units, and closets. The picture to the left shows a perfect example of how tape light can transform a few shelves on your wall into an eye-catching feature among your home’s décor. Because LED tape light uses very little energy and has very low heat output, you won’t have to worry about it being hazardous inside a closed display cabinet or in a small closet shelf. Plus, your tape light can be hardwired to a wall switch using an LED driver, so that it works independently from your overhead lighting.

Backlighting

tapelighting3One of the more fun options for LED tape light is using it to outline an object with light or provide backlighting. We’ve mentioned in previous blog posts how tape light is great for backlighting televisions because your eyes are less likely to strain in the dark. Well, the same could be said about other electronic devices like your computer. Even though regular tape light would work, USB LED tape light is a much more convenient option. Just like standard tape light, this USB tape comes in many different lengths and colors, including RGB color-changing. All you have to do is plug in the cable into your computer’s USB port. Backlighting isn’t just for electronic devices either – it can be used behind mirrors as well to give them a unique halo effect.

Furniture Accents

tapelighting2For those of you who really want to make a contemporary statement with LED tape light, you can use it to create glowing silhouettes around or under unexpected pieces of furniture such as a bathroom vanity (pictured to the right), the underside of a bar or kitchen counter top, a pool table, or even underneath your bed frame. Installing tape light underneath furniture creates a warm glow that provides modern, low-profile accent lighting. Much like stairway lighting, LED tape light used as furniture accents gives you a way to achieve low lighting during the night with an added element of safety.

What are some creative ways that you’ve used LED tape light? Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, or Pinterest.

read more

How to Liven Up Any Room with Lighting

Feb 12, 14 How to Liven Up Any Room with Lighting

One of the easiest, yet one of the most overlooked, ways to enhance key areas of your home is with lighting. With a little tweaking and a few additions, you can liven up your space, making rooms seem bigger, making ceilings seem higher than they actually are, etc. Below are a few simple tips we’ve collected to transform the mundane into the extraordinary.

Wall Washing

Some key players in wall washing are recessed cans and eyeball cans. Typically six inches in diameter, these are used mainly to flood an area with light, such as in department stores and theaters. Even though these are found commercially, they’re great for residential applications as well.  Wall washing serves two purposes: aesthetic appeal and task lighting. Washing a wall gives the impression of an expanding space, making the room feel larger, which is great for those smaller spaces, while also calling attention to all those pictures on the wall or your stone fireplace.

wall washingDoes having sloped ceilings means you’re left out of the fun? Not at all. This just means you’ll need those eyeball cans (these allow you to adjust the angle of the fixture as you see fit) mentioned above and will most likely need either need lamps with a wide flood or a very wide flood beam angle.

While it depends on how much space you’re wanting to light, it’s generally best to opt for bulbs that have either a “flood” (FL), “wide flood” (WFL), or “very wide flood” (VWFL) beam angle such as R/BR bulbs. Bulbs with these beam angles are great for covering wide areas, creating an overlapping of light.

*Note: if you don’t already have recessed fixtures, these can be easily installed. However, it’s probably best if a licensed electrician performs the work for you. This way you can rest assured the work is done correctly and safely.

Accent Lighting

The possibilities are endless with accent lighting and it’s a great way to add depth to any room.  The key to great accent lighting is to ensure there’s light coming from multiple angles: from down lights, to table and floor lamps, to under cabinet lighting on your bookcases in your bedroom or living room. A nice touch is LED tape light on the back of bedroom accent lighting1your TV, which not only calls attention to the TV, but also adds a unique flair.

The picture on the left is a pretty good example of utilizing light from multiple angles. Notice the wall sconces on each side of the bed, which give off light vertically and horizontally, while the recessed light above the bed directs its light downward. The eyeball can above the bookcase neatly displays the picture, books, and the few knick knacks on the shelves.

Ceiling Uplighting

In the battle against poorly-lit rooms, shadows are your enemy, as they make your space look small and drab. Defeat those pesky shadows with a well-placed floor lamp in the corner of your room, providing you not only with task lighting, but directing the light upwards, eliminating dark spots. A great way to make your ceilings seem higher than they actually are is to utilize overcabinet lighting. You can accomplish this in a multitude of ways, with LED rope light or plug-in fixtures.

Which of these tips will you use to liven up your home? Let us know in the comments below, or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!!

read more

Renters’ Lighting Tips: How to Make the Most of Your Space

Jan 15, 14 Renters’ Lighting Tips: How to Make the Most of Your Space

There are some definite advantages to renting an apartment or a townhome. If something breaks, you don’t have to pay to have it fixed, and you don’t have to clean the gutters or mow the lawn. However, one big disadvantage of renting is that you may not be able to change out the lighting fixtures as you see fit, and if you can, there’s always a risk of damaging something, and forfeiting your security deposit. So what can you do if your landlord doesn’t want you doing a little lighting makeover? Below are a few simple lighting tips to make the most out of your rented space.

Energy Efficient Lighting: Let’s start with the basics here. We know that the EISA bulb ban officially banned standard 100-watt incandescent bulbs on January 1, 2012,

FlexTec 5050-60-IP20-27K2403 Warm White LED Tape Light

FlexTec 5050-60-IP20-27K2403 Warm White LED Tape Light

with 75-watt incandescent bulbs following suit on January 1, 2013. The 40 and 60-watt bulbs got the ax this year on January 1 as well. So what does that leave you with? Well, you can either go with CFLs, or their much more efficient alternatives, LEDs. Both will save you stacks of cash compared to incandescent bulbs, but your most efficient option here are the LEDs. While the initial cost of LEDs is considerably higher than incandescents and CFLs, the amount of money you’ll save more than makes up for the initial cost. Plus, you can put the money you save on your energy costs toward your lighting makeover.

Under Cabinet Lighting: The kitchen is one of the most important places to have adequate lighting, not to mention you can add some unique touches with accent lighting.

Since it’s wise to have enough light when you’re using sharp objects to slice and dice, look into under cabinet lighting. If you choose the under cabinet lighting route, you want to make sure your overhead lighting and under cabinet lighting match in color temperature. For example, if your overhead fixture is a cool white (between 4000K and 4100K), then you want to make sure your cabinet lighting matches that color temperature as well. Not only will installing an under cabinet fixture give you more usable light, but it’ll add a touch of refinement as well. If you already have sufficient lighting in your kitchen, check out LED tape light. Amazingly easy to install, LED tape light is an affordable way to add a little flair.

Floor/Table Lamps: Table and floor lamps are simple accessories that have a lot to offer. Not only will they give you more usable light, but they’ll also make your living space a little cozier. Like to curl up with a good book on those rainy days? Try adding a table lamp next to your favorite chair in the living room. Just like table lamps, floor lamps are versatile in that they offer both ambient and task lighting, giving you the freedom to switch between the two as the mood dictates. Looking for something that offers a different feel in terms of ambiance? Try LED candles. Battery operated and made of wax, these candles are much safer than regular candles, but have the same look and feel.

How do you make the most of your rented space? Tell us in the comments below, or give us a shout out on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or Pinterest!

read more