The lighting in your retail shop or small business can have a huge impact on the customer experience. The right lighting creates an inviting atmosphere, draws attention to products and displays, and makes the space feel more spacious and attractive.

As a shop owner, understanding lighting and using it strategically is an essential part of creating an environment that delights customers and boosts sales.

Focus The Light

Track lighting and spotlights are ideal for focusing attention on particular products or displays. By highlighting merchandise or signage, you can create visual interest and guide customers to important areas. Track lights also provide flexibility to adjust and reorient lighting as you change up product placements.

Think About Light Levels

The right brightness makes a big difference. Overly bright lighting can feel stark and inhospitable, while too dim of lighting can make customers feel like they can’t see merchandise clearly.

Generally, lighting for retail spaces should be bright enough for easy viewing but not glaring. Light levels between 300-500 lux are ideal (except for your shop windows, which can be significantly brighter). Using dimmers also allows you to adjust light levels for day vs. night.

Create Lighting Zones

Dividing your retail space into different lighting zones creates visual intrigue. For example, brightly lit perimeter display areas contrasting with subdued general lighting in the centre aisles help differentiate zones.

You can also create a focal point by using directional lighting to accent a prized display or a ‘new products’ table. Lighting zones guide customers through the space while offering varied viewing experiences.

Take Advantage Of Natural Light

When available, leverage daylighting through windows, skylights, or light wells. Natural light provides excellent colour rendering, appeals to customers, and reduces energy costs.

Using adjustable window coverings allows you to control glare while still benefiting from natural light. Positioning displays and merchandise to take advantage of sunlight throughout the day results in an inviting, well-lit space.

You can even use internal glazed doors to let more light filter through the store. You can choose the best internal glazed doors with the help of the Online Door Store’s extensive selection. Combining types of lighting at varying heights adds character.

Layer The Light

Layering ambient, task, and accent lighting creates visual depth and dimension. Ambient lighting, like recessed ceiling lights provides overall illumination. Task lighting, such as desk lamps, highlights work areas. Accent lighting like wall sconces or floodlights adds dramatic effects.

Match The Lighting To Merchandise

Consider the lighting needs of specific products. For example, jewellery displays require bright, crisp light to sparkle, while artwork may look best under soft, diffuse lighting. Make sure the lighting shows off each item optimally.

Enhance Architecture  

Use lighting to highlight the architectural details that make your retail space unique. Uplighting pillars or walls washes surfaces with light and creates an atmosphere. Silhouetting archways or highlighting mouldings helps define the character of the space. 

Use Colour

Coloured lighting filters lend exciting visual effects. Red or amber hues feel warm and intimate, while blue or green can be cool and refreshing. Festive lighting like string lights or fairy lights add a playful, festive feel. Thematic colours reinforce your brand identity.


The most impactful retail lighting combines functionality with style. With the right lighting design, you can truly transform a space, draw customers in, and boost your bottom line. Get creative with lighting and watch your shop shine!

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