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Light Up Your Building For Success

Lighting is fundamental to showcasing any space. It might seem simple, but lighting plays a significant role in how customers experience your business. The good news? There’s a lot of small changes you can make that will create a more inviting and successful space!

Let’s break it down:

1. Invite from the Outside In:

Even before the customer enters, lighting sets the tone. A well-lit exterior creates a safe and inviting atmosphere for your customers to come in and interact with the inside of your space. And we all know when a space doesn’t feel right, it’s instinctual. Lighting sets a mood, be sure to make yours intentional. 

Step outside and look around. Then, ask yourself these questions: Do the street lights light up the entire block? Does it light up the area where your customers park all the way to your front door? If not, do your building lights create puddles of light along the sidewalk? Is your front door lit up? How well lit are your signs? Do customers know who you are and what you sell at any time of day? What about your side facade and alley entrance? If you answered no to any of these questions, consider where you may need more fixtures to create the inviting storefront your customers will be drawn to. 

Lighting layers to consider:

  • Street lights

  • Building pathway lights 

  • Entrance lights 

  • Sign lights

2. Your 24/7 Salesperson:

For businesses that have windows, consider them a 24/7 billboard. Even when closed-  captivating lighting can sell products, tell your story and entice customers back. This applies to all businesses, not just retail. A soft glow from lights to show off your reception space is enough to create curiosity by allowing customers to see in. The business windows are the live entertainment for potential customers walking by on their way to dinner, date night or an evening out with friends. Allow them the opportunity to window shop!  

Actionable items to consider: 

  • Clean your windows, take down the posters, open the blinds

  • Refresh your display window and light it up! 

  • No display window? Leave a few interior lights on to create a soft glow from within

  • Consider timers to schedule lights on from bakery open to bar close

3. Focus on What Matters:

Lighting can be used to create drama and draw attention to specific products. It's basic human nature: we're drawn to light! Consider the layers of lighting you have available in your current space. 

Some key things to ask yourself when considering your space might be: Which fixtures you can turn off and on independently from others, meaning they are on a separate circuit. Note which fixtures are dimmable. Know that if you’d like to incorporate dimmers to plug in fixtures, this is a kit you can pick up. Pay attention to whether the light is reaching its intended target. Are your displays and task areas well lit during all open hours? If not, you may need to increase the lumens, the output of the bulbs, or adjust the aim of the fixture.

Next take note of whether the tone of light is the same throughout, fixtures, rooms and zones of space. This is one of those small changes that makes a large impact. Be consistent. Use warm white or soft white light bulbs throughout your store for a more inviting atmosphere. Most customer forward businesses benefit most from a 2700K or 3000K color temperature. More task oriented and office spaces may want a brighter 3500K. Only highly detailed work and clinical spaces needed brighter temperatures.

Whatever tone you use, be consistent and use the same temperature in all of your fixtures. Don’t forget that light during the day is just as important! The sun creates a mirror effect on windows and casts shadows into the interior. The sun may require you to turn up the lumens during day time hours and dim them to a softer glow in darker hours. 

Tips to consider:

  • Use warmer color temperatures, think 2700K, and be consistent throughout all fixtures

  • Increase lumens per bulb if the light is not reaching its target

  • Add dimmers and timers strategically

  • Separate electrical circuits when updating lighting

  • Adjust your lighting when you rearrange furniture and displays or update finishes


Want to learn more about lighting? We’ll be diving into the layers, functions and more technical concepts at the Minnesota Main Streets Conference this Friday April 5, 2024 ( The conference is April 3-5th in Owatonna, MN. If you’re available to attend the conference, reach out. We’d love to work one on one with you on your storefront!



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