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Enhancing the Guest Experience with Carefully Considered Outdoor Lighting

Mara Rypacek Miller, MD of Industville, appreciates that with careful thought and planning, outdoor lighting can have a huge impact on guest enjoyment in a hotel, restaurant or bar. Here, she discusses the principles of outdoor lighting to help hospitality businesses stand out amongst their competitors and deliver an unforgettable, immersive guest experience.

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of any commercial space, both internally and externally. Handcrafted light fixtures give a warm, inviting ambiance as well as plenty of illumination for customers, while choosing quality materials like iron, brass and glass will add texture and visual interest to the overall look of the space. Consider using dimmer switch technology to adjust light levels based on the time of day and the atmosphere you are trying to create. Pictured above: Brooklyn Dome Wall Lights in Pewter 8 inch.  Photographer: Chris Wharton

Enhancing the customer experience through great exterior design is an important factor in running a successful business. Good design should be both aesthetically pleasing and practical, ensuring it has a positive impact on customers’ satisfaction levels. There are several key elements to consider when designing outdoor lighting for a commercial space that will help to enhance customer experience.Pictured above: Left – Bulkhead Outdoor Oval Light 6 Inch in Black. Image @upstyleyourhome.  Right – Brooklyn Outdoor Dome Wall Light 8 Inch Pewter & Copper shade with Copper wall holder. Image @nicbissekerphotography and @veryvictorianmerebrook

Consider Layered Lighting
Layered lighting refers to the art of combining multiple types of lighting to create an extra memorable atmosphere.  Just like an interior designer layers a room, consider layering your outdoor space with light and shadows to create depth and interest, captivating guests.  Embrace a range of light sources from low-level fixtures to illuminate walkways, trees and gardens, to ambient lighting to create a comfortable level of practical illumination.  Add in accent lighting to draw attention to decorative features such as architectural details, garden statues and art, which will create stylish focal points.  The key is to provide just enough lighting without overpowering the natural environment.

Pictured above: Left & Right – Bulkhead Outdoor Oval Light 6 Inch in Black.  Image:

Aim to Create a Seamless Look from Inside to Out
Exteriors are now viewed as an extension of interiors and to create a seamless look from inside the building to out, it’s important to make sure the outdoor lighting fixtures are just as stylish and polished as their indoor counterparts.

Pictured above: Old Factory Pendant 12 Inch Copper. Image: Simon Maddison

Think about material and colour; for example, if your interiors exhibit industrial accents, adding rustic sconces and wall fixtures outside will create a unified feel throughout the space.  The indoor lighting should also reflect the personality of the brand and so ensuring the outdoor lighting complements this, will also ensure a cohesive feel. Pictured above clockwise from top left: Bulkhead Outdoor Oval Light 6 inch in Gunmetal,  Swan Neck Outdoor Wall Light in Pewter with Globe Glass, Brooklyn Outdoor Giant Step Pendant 18 Inch with Brass shade and Brass pendant holder, Brooklyn Outdoor Dome Wall Light 8 Inch with Brass shade and Pewter wall holder

Use Lighting to Zone Seating Areas
When creating outdoor lighting for hospitality venues, it’s important to think about both design and function. Consider how different parts of your outside space should be lit differently, such as a well-lit patio that attracts guests for drinks, more formal dining areas which look great with statement pendants, or cosy, more intimate corners requiring softer atmospheric lighting.  With the right setup, you can create zones for these different seating areas, with each one benefitting from the correct levels of illumination to create the perfect atmosphere. Experiment with different lighting temperatures to suit your theme, for example, warmer tones emit a cosier feel while cooler tones appear more contemporary.Pictured above: Brooklyn Outdoor & Bathroom Dome Pendant 13 Inch with Pewter & Brass shade with Brass Pendant Holder.  Photographer: Joanna Kossak.  Designer: Chris Harrington

Providing comfortable seating is so important in creating an enjoyable customer experience in any type of business setting. Investing in good-quality furnishings that are designed with comfort in mind can make customers more inclined to stay longer and revisit more often. Pictured above: Left & Right – Brooklyn Outdoor Globe Pendant Light in Pewter. Image credit: 

Take Care to Illuminate the Walkways
Lighting up pathways leading to and from the building will not only create a sense of safety for your guests, but also provide a feeling of grandeur by guiding them through well-lit pathways. Guests appreciate being able to walk comfortably in the evening without worries of hidden obstacles in front of them.Pictured above: Brooklyn Outdoor Wall Light in Brass. Image credit: The Bottle and Glass, Harby.

Add to the Brand Value 

Installing outdoor lighting is also a great way to enhance curb appeal, ambiance, and aesthetics of commercial properties.  It helps distinguish a business, so it gains an edge over similar companies in the neighbourhood.  Outdoor lighting accentuates the most prominent features in the dark and helps catch eyes from far away on a busy street.  It also contributes to promoting a business even on closing days.
Consider Sustainable and Energy-Saving Outdoor Lighting Options
When designing lighting for outdoor spaces, consider the sustainability of any choices. Customers are increasingly looking for more sustainable options and the hospitality industry can benefit by aligning with the viewpoints of their customers. There are several energy-saving lighting solutions that can be explored when planning for outdoor areas;
  • Utilise LED lighting.  This is an efficient way to reduce electricity bills and maintenance costs, as it uses 75% less energy than traditional lighting sources.
  • Choose quality fixtures. Opt for designs that are made to last and stand the test of time, ensuring they do not need replacing for many years.
  • Install occupancy-based sensors. These detect movement and adjust lighting accordingly.
Taking advantage of these eco-friendly options can lead to significant cost savings in the long run.
Overall, thoughtful design that prioritises comfort, cosiness, and functionality will go a long way towards increasing customer satisfaction levels in your exterior business environment. By incorporating handcrafted lighting fixtures, quality materials like wood and stone, dimmer switch technology, vibrant colours, artwork that reinforces brand values, and comfortable furniture into your design concept, you can craft an atmosphere that will set your establishment apart from the competition, while providing guests with an enjoyable alfresco experience they’ll want to repeat over and over again.