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Showroom Lighting

Showroom lighting can make or break a client’s perception of any showroom, especially one for a tile & stone distributor.

Color Rendition (CRI); how true colors look under various lighting sources (range from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best)
Color Temperature (Typical "temperature" numbers range from 2700K for incandescent to 5000K for natural daylight.)

1. Incandescent (Color Temperatures range from 2700K - 3000K). CRI usually rate very high, 90 - 100. These lean toward the warmer side of the light spectrum, and are also warmer as far as heat output. They can be easily dimmed much more easily and inexpensively vs. other light sources, but take more energy to run & to keep your showroom cool in the summertime. (They can also help heat your showroom in the winter!) If you want to be able to set different moods in your showroom for varying events, varying operating hours, etc., this may be a great choice. Also, spotlighting with incandescent can really help bring attention to specific high revenue/profit products or areas of your showroom.

2. Fluorescent (Color Temperatures range from 2700K to 5000K). CRI's rate from around 50 - near 100. These lamps vary widely from "warm" incandescent-like light to "cool" daylight. The choice will depend on the materials being shown & where they might be installed. Most residential projects will be seen in warmer colored light, where commercial projects will range the gambit from warm to cool. If the tile or stone are going to be located near an outside window, then a daylight source is usually preferred. Fluorescent sources can be dimmed, but not as easily or inexpensively as incandescent ones. They can be controlled by multi-switching levels, so your showroom can have 2 or perhaps even 3 levels of light. This is especially useful in a conference room for presentations to clients. Fluorescent lamps have come a LONG way in the past few years, so talk to a lighting or design consultant before making your final selections for your lighting sources.

3. High-Intensity Discharge (HID) (Color Temperatures range 1800K - 5000K). CRI's rate lower from 20 - near 80. These light sources are very energy efficient, but usually don't have great color rendition, so are not the first choice for showroom lighting. If mixed with other light sources, such as incandescent and/or fluorescent, they can provide a nice level of general lighting, and let the other sources provide better color rendition where needed in the showroom. These cannot be dimmed, nor multi-level switched, but can work well with extra high ceilings. Expensive options include quick restrike lamps, but standard bulbs take a number of minutes to relight a room if turned off.

Energy Efficiency
As previously mentioned regarding incandescent, this light source is the least efficient in turning electricity into light. Fluorescent is typically 4 to 5 times more energy efficient vs. incandescent. HID sources are usually 4 - 6 times more efficient vs. incandescent, depending on the source. There are trade-offs with more efficient sources, such as poor color rendition, high or low color temperature, expensive or lack of dimming options. Usually a mixture of lamp types is your best approach, but each showroom is different, and will require a different solution. Most showrooms will rely on fluorescent lamps for general lighting, and use incandescent lamps for accent lighting, but not always.

Light Levels
How much light and what kind of light source(s) a showroom needs is determined by what functions will be taking place within the space and if this area of the showroom is near natural daylight. If the showroom has a fair amount of natural daylight, light levels will tend to be higher during daytime hours, so the showroom doesn't seem dark compared to the outdoors. Multi-level switching and/or dimming can help bring down light levels at night, if the showroom will be open in the evening. These showrooms also benefit from natural daylighting to enhance the color rendition of the light for customers during the day. Natural daylight is a relatively cool light source, and therefore the lighting inside the showroom should be similar. Typically cooler fluorescent & incandescent lamp sources are chosen for these showrooms. Wall & flooring colors will also effect and be effected by the light source(s) in the space. Mixing warm wall colors and/or flooring with cool light sources, will not bring out the richness of color desired. If you are thinking about changing or upgrading the lighting in your showroom, or creating a new showroom, contact a local lighting consultant to discuss the best options for your new or existing showroom. An under-lit or poorly lit showroom will make color selections an ongoing issue, as customers will see something different from various light sources. A well lit showroom can show your customers the vast array of flooring options available "in the best light".

Information compliments of Tracy Hall, SunTouch.


TileDealer Articles

Profitable Showrooms
By: Patti Fasan
Issue: November/December 2006

"Lighting: When comparing color, the type of lighting is crucial. Use a combination including natural, incandescent, fluorescent and halogen. Use a higher level of light on a key display. When placed strategically, this can serve as a beacon, drawing your clients through the store and past all of your products. Replace any burnt out lights."

To read more click here


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