Let There Be Light: 5 Rules for Better Lighting

You’d be amazed at the difference lights can make. The right lighting can make a space feel inviting and warm. The wrong lighting can make it feel dingy and drab, or even downright foreboding!

How your inventory is lit can be a major factor in how it sells. Customers avoid poorly lit areas and don’t often take a second look at dimly lit inventory. Lighting amplifies the surrounding characteristics of the environment, both good and bad. 

Here are 5 rules for lighting your location:


1. Look around. 

What colors are in your store? Do you want them to stand out or blend in? 

For example, if you want people to notice differences in color, (like a clothing store) you want to help call attention to it. That means you should accentuate that color with bright, white lighting.


On the other hand, if you want a cozy atmosphere where people should feel more relaxed and less distracted (like a cafe), go with softer warmer tones. 


The main goal here is for your lighting to achieve something. In the first example, the lighting is there to highlight the merchandise. The fixtures actually blend into the ceiling. You’re not meant to notice the lights themselves.

In the second example, the lights are a part of the atmosphere as a whole, they’re more eye-catching than functional. But if you look closely, you’ll see there are a few other fixtures embedded into the ceiling to provide some more functional lighting.

So remember, bright white means contrast and difference. Soft and warm means comfort and consistency.


2. Use shadows sparingly. 

If you do have a more intimate, low-light business, like a dinner restaurant or an escape room, make sure not to overdo the dim. What you want to avoid is a person making “eye contact” with a light bulb, but still have lighting where it’s needed, like on table tops and stairways.


This lets you keep that more intimate feel without compromising customer safety or visibility of your merchandise. Not every light should come from overhead, especially in this kind of a setting. 


3. Maintenance is a must.

Lights naturally call attention to themselves. A light that’s damaged or burned out is also a signal to your customers. The classic example is neon lighting outside with a letter or two burned out. It speaks to a lack of attention to detail and lowers expectations.


Don’t neglect your lights. It’s one of the first things a customer notices. A flickering bulb, a dead moth, a layer of dust, a greasy fingerprint, all of these can set a bad tone and make an otherwise beautiful lighting setup look downright shoddy. 

Address any issues sooner rather than later. Letting a dead bulb stay dead for a while will make that dead bulb look and feel normal. You won’t even notice it anymore, but your customers will. Make sure to check fixtures regularly. 


4. Good lighting doesn’t have to be expensive. 


A ladder plus some string lights, edison bulbs, or even some bargain-basement christmas lights can help turn your space into a welcoming warm place. The right lamp in the right corner can add just the lift needed in a dark corner of the store.


5. Don’t forget the exterior

You want inventory visible and well-lit from as many places as possible, both inside and outside your store. Use your windows, especially after the sun goes down. Your space should shine in the night and leave no doubt you’re open for business.


Don’t hesitate to visit sites like Pinterest for inspiration. A unique setup will set you apart from other businesses. 



Lights are how you direct your customer’s attention. Good lighting will catch the eye and signal to your customer, “hey look at this!” 


Bad lighting will say to your customers, “nothing special here.”


Shining a light on your inventory is always a good idea. Here at Shopventory, we specialize in putting a spotlight on the inventory data you need to make the best stocking decisions for your store so your inventory is not only well lit, but well managed. 

Shopventory offers plans for as low as 79¢ per day. Right now, you can sign up for a 30-day full-featured free trial of Shopventory with no credit card required. We also back Shopventory with a 30-day money back guarantee. That means a total of 60 days risk-free!

Start a trial today to start getting brighter inventory insights!

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