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8 tips for furniture showroom lighting design

Lighting is a crucial factor in interior design. Lighting affects a room’s mood, appearance and function, and it can make or break the look and feel of a space. When it comes to furniture showrooms, where manufacturers and retailers have to cover even the smallest details to stay competitive, the right lighting becomes especially vital.

“Lighting is such a big concern for our furniture showroom designers that it’s the last thing they address,” said Max Dyer, vice president of marketing for Kincaid Furniture, part of La-Z-Boy Incorporated’s family of companies. Kincaid is one of more than 2,000 exhibitors at High Point Market. The furnishings industry trade show is the world’s largest, bringing 75,000 people to High Point, North Carolina in April and October.

“From furniture showrooms to private homes, the colors and textures that took a wealth of energy and resources to develop can either look exactly the way we want or totally miss the mark, all because of the lighting,” Dyer said. “Lighting sets the tone for any product, and that tone has to match the product’s intentions.”

Lighting design is an art, and all lighting should complement the unique space as well as the products and styles in that space. But these basic lighting tips can help any furniture company put their best foot forward at High Point Market and all year long.

  • Design environments that are meant to be soothing, such as bedrooms or living rooms, so they are amply lit without overpowering people.
  • Make sure your light sources are efficient and long lasting. Many furniture showrooms have hundreds of light bulbs, and you don’t want any to burn out between customer visits. “Market represents such a small window in our calendar,” Dyer said. “We need the lighting to be perfect, or we may lose our only chance to make a great first impression.”
  • Use different lighting fixtures, colors and temperatures to create the look you want. For example, you may want to wash an accent wall or highlight a piece of artwork in a room setting, or you may want to use creative lighting techniques to pick up a certain pattern or texture in upholstered or solid wood furniture.
  • Keep in mind that most customers envision a finished room rather than viewing a single product in a vacuum, and lighting styles and price points should blend with the furniture. For example, LED track lighting will create a completely different look and feel than a table lamp or chandelier.
  • Add layers of lighting to create a richer, more homelike environment.
  • Think about your style, e.g., contemporary, traditional or farmhouse, and select complementary lighting fixtures.
  • Remember that market and retail are completely different worlds. A lighting design that works in a High Point Market showroom is unlikely to transfer to the retail floor, and vice versa.
  • Consider lighting controls to enhance the customer experience. For example, Jordan’s Furniture, a leading furniture retailer in New England, has special, motion-sensitive lighting above the mattresses in its bedding department. When a customer lies down on the bed, the lights on that product automatically dim to create a more relaxing experience.

“I really can’t overstate the importance of lighting in our business,” Dyer said. “Bad lighting can ruin a year’s worth of product development, so we really have to get it right.”