It’s easy to think about commercial spaces as being inherently different to homes in how you decorate them. After all, they serve different purposes, and there’s a lot more subtlety at work when you’re trying to get your customers to feel a certain way. However, thinking of them as being entirely distinct from one another can neglect the similarities that they do have, and there’s often a lot that you can learn from home decor when it comes to designing your commercial space.
Lighting is arguably the most important factor of all. If you’re restricted by your resources in what you can accomplish here, the right lighting can make even sparse and simple design truly come alive in exactly the way that you want.
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Color, Mood, and Association
The first thing that you might think of here is how you can use different colors to elicit a different mood or tone. This is absolutely true; different colors can help sway emotions and certain options might help to push the atmosphere that you’re after—do you want an upbeat and fast moving space or somewhere that your clientele can relax and unwind? The lighting isn’t the only factor at play here, the music (if any) that you choose for your space will be able to complement this mood, but making this harmony as fitting as possible can increase the effectiveness of all aspects.
On top of this, you’ll likely want to use colors that best reflect your brand, as you won’t want the interior of your space to be too disconnected from the rest of your marketing. You’re trying to develop an association, and all these factors come together. Yes, the color should reflect your brand, but the mood that the color and interior is trying to create has to also be in line with what your brand is known to be. There’s a lot to think about, and that’s before you even think about how to tune these factors correctly. Say you choose a color such as blue or pink, you have to be selective in its use. Do you want the whole room bathed in one color? That might be distracting or unpleasant depending on the type of business that you’re running, and it might be that smaller bursts or lamps can help to convey the right mood with a little more subtlety.
Other Than Lights?
It’s important to consider how the topic of lighting can be explored further without actually focusing on the lights themselves. Fans are a good example of an addition that can create some interesting lighting effects due to how the blades momentarily disrupt light. In intense and extreme cases, this could be something that causes a bit of a strobe effect that will likely be unwelcome outside of a nightclub, but you can fine-tune this to create a much more pleasant result. In fact, a wall mount shop fan not only has the benefit of adding a layer of versatility in your lighting, but it can also create a more pleasant and comfortable environment through temperature regulation, making it a multi-purpose addition.
Other than fans, though, you might think about the colors of the walls as well. Darker colors tend to absorb the lighting, while lighter ones will reflect light. Therefore, thinking about how bright you want the space to actually be will mean yet again, considering more than the lights themselves.
Customer Space vs. Employee Space
Of course, the commercial space as a whole is likely divided between where customers and guests spend their time and where your employees do. There might be some crossover, such as in letting agents or how hospitality waiting staff need to navigate both spaces. On the whole, though, you’re designing these two divided areas with two different intentions. One needs to reflect and create the mood that your brand is interested in and the other needs to foster a productive working environment. Again, the type of industry will affect this, but there’s a line to straddle between practicality and comfort in the employee space.
Fluorescent lights, for instance, are cheap and can provide a room with a great deal of clarity and exposure, making it easier to see everything and work, especially in cluttered and chaotic environments like kitchens. However, if employees are spending long hours in these environments, it might be that this lighting could begin to take a toll on their health through headaches, eye strain, and mental health, meaning that it could be worth investigating the alternatives for the sake of your staff’s health long term.
So, what if you don’t have much to work with and you’re relying on the lighting to pick up the slack? Just as how the color of wallpaper and furniture can take the effects of the lighting further, you might also think about putting up mirrors that will reflect the light and make the space you’re using look much larger than it actually is. The benefit of this is to create a sense of comfort. If your commercial space is a restaurant, for example, allowing your customers to sit in a space that feels larger than it actually is could prevent feelings of claustrophobia and can even lend them a greater sense of privacy than they might have if they feel as though the restaurant is nearly at capacity.
Effective lighting can also lend your commercial space a great deal of personality, which can in turn be used as a form of marketing. Hollister is a brand that’s well known enough, but something that gets people talking is the dark lighting used in the stores. At first, this might sound almost like a criticism of the way that this brand has designed the interiors, but even when people intend it that way, it still has them talking to other people about the brand. That’s not to say that you should design your space solely with the intention of getting people talking, but it’s important to understand what effective lighting means and what it can ultimately do for your brand awareness.