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Relight your (accommodation property’s) fire

Did you know that something as simple as clever use of lighting can invigorate, illuminate, reflect, and refresh your property?

Good lighting can create a mood, alter an atmosphere, offer safety and direction. If used correctly, lighting can bring life and energy to even the most mundane environment.

The brilliance of using lighting techniques in accommodation design is that you can create the environment you want, manipulate the space to reflect however you want it to be used (change it at the click of a switch) and influence those who enter that space. Light and colour influence mood and this allows designers to use lighting schemes for whatever function or purpose they need to fulfil a client’s brief.

Once considered a basic function, lighting was usually only changed to save on power bills. Now, it not only illuminates but complements artwork, creates atmosphere, adds colour, provides a finishing touch to individual design features and influences guest reception. Consulting a lighting expert to update your accommodation lighting has the age-old benefit of cutting your power bills, reducing your carbon footprint while also helping you to engage with guests in a fun, creative new way.

What types of lighting?

Mood lighting has a cheesy reputation associated with putting guests ‘in the mood’ in a romantic way. However, a school in Surrey, England, got serious about lighting and implemented a mood lighting scheme that adhered to recent psychological guidelines. The colour of classroom lighting was controlled and changed over the length of the school day. The chosen lighting scheme offered four different light settings. To stimulate early morning alertness, an intense blue tone was used; then, in the afternoon, a calming reddish tone was used to further stimulate focus. During exam periods, a bright white light was used to promote focus and energy. Remarkably, this lighting solution helped modify the behaviour of the students and improve their in-class performances.

What does the school example mean to those in the accommodation industry? It is evidence to show that cleverly constructed lighting can influence guest behaviour. It suggests that lighting has the power to influence a guest’s experience at your property – a revelation in this industry! It gives you some power.

Task lighting is used in areas for work or safety: consider stairwells or food service areas or work areas for computer-use and reading. This can be achieved with fixtures that focus direct bright light around the desired area.

Ambient lighting is the softer, more comfortable level of light for areas where guests relax. Accent lighting is used to decorate the room, creating drama or mood and will draw a guest’s attention to an area like artwork.

Overhead lighting is considered the main lighting in a room: when on, it should illuminate the whole area clearly and consistently.

Colour is a crucial element of any good interior design. The right choice of colour palette will create the ideal atmosphere. Colour palettes can be used to compliment architecture, break up huge spaces, or integrate location.

How do you create perfect lighting?

You might say that it’s an artform. Calling in an industry expert will make a huge difference to your project as you’ll benefit from both technical and creative advice. Every accommodation property is unique; within each space there is so much possibility. Consider the most average/typical hotel: a spacious foyer, conference area, dining area, busy kitchen, narrow hallways, computer desks or stations, guestrooms and outdoor carparks/public zones. An expert will assess each unique space and consider its use. They will ask, ‘what is the prime reason for lighting that area?’ and it’s something worth thinking about. Is it to ensure safety? Make a statement? Create an atmosphere? Change the mood? Evoke drama? Give guests a warm welcome? Most likely, the answer will be a combination of all the above.

When tackling the problem (or opportunity!) of multi-use areas, adding layers of light is a good solution. With a keen eye for detail, lighting expertise and a lot of imagination; a ‘wow’ impact can be created.

Lighting tips…

· Completely transform a space by using colour-change strip lighting. You can take a room from breakfast to business and then onto romantic dinner or night-time drinks with colour strip lighting.

· Combine different types of lighting: overhead, ambient, mood and task. Install layers at different heights so that when each layer is switched on or off, together or combined, it achieves particular atmospheres and moods.

· Use LED lights to create a contemporary ‘wow factor’ and consider floor

uplighters because they look amazing and can also be used as a guiding light for guests.

Why add lighting on top of lighting?

Because different types of lights create different effects and can achieve an out of this world lighting experience when placed artfully together. Embedded lighting (light features in the room) creates mood, whereas task lighting can highlight important areas (shelves or desks). Downlights are necessary for the basic lighting of your room but add task and/or embedded lights and your room suddenly comes to life – filled with character.

What about the outside?

External areas should not be overlooked as effective lighting can make a property really stand out in a crowd, even attract more visitors in the evening. Of course, car parks must also be illuminated to ensure the safety of your guests.

To choose the right external wall lights, first decide on the primary effect that you need (for safety or to accentuate) and this will affect your choice of light, the size of the beam, and its direction i.e. external downlights are both dramatic and effective.

Steve Clareburt, managing director of Lighting Pacific NZ, offered his expert opinion on how best to revamp the lighting in your accommodation.

He said: “Creating layers of light is the most important concept to creating a high-quality room. Consider a warm colour temperature light source with high CRI index (highlight colours in fabric, etc.).

“In conference and banquet areas, again layers of light and dimming, every conference/banquet will have different requirements.

“For outdoor areas, it is important that lighting guides people around your property on pathways, stairs, entrance ways and safety around pools.”

As for future trends, he added: “Fixtures are becoming smaller with more output, LED is driving this, so miniaturisation and High CRI (colour rendering) are big future trends.”



Mandy Clarke, Industry Reporter

Mandy Clarke, is an industry reporter for

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