How to Light, Lighting Controls, Retail

How to Light: Five things not to do when lighting changing rooms in shops

Doesn't she look great? Imagine how angry she's going to be when she gets home and realises that under normal lights, she actually looks terrible (Photo:

For many shoppers, changing rooms are a place of real excitement. This is where it all happens: where new outfits take shape and new looks are born. With a little help from some fashion bloggers, here are five tips on how lighting can give these places the respect they deserve. 


1. Don’t make your customers look bad

This rule’s pretty obvious: if your customers hate the way they look in your fitting rooms, you’re not going to sell many clothes. Writing on women’s lifestyle site xoJane, AK Whitney says of a fitting room in Macy’s in an LA shopping mall: ‘The lighting was abysmal, with overhead fluorescents that make even the foxiest among us look like the Crypt Keeper.’ She doesn’t mean in a good way.


2. But don’t make them look to nice either

Fashion blogger The Budget Fashionista complains about the changing rooms at Forever 21 using a soft amber light to ‘even out skin tones’ and make you look hot. It’s known as ‘the Oprah Light’ – apparently a similar one is used in the Oprah studio to make guests look prettier than they are. You’d think that was a good thing, but not if you get home and find you’re actually as ugly as ever.


3. And whatever you do, don’t show people how they really are

The only thing that angers shoppers more than bad light in the changing room is light that is just too clear and honest, and reveals their imperfections. AK Whitney of xoJane says: ‘When I took off my shoes to try on the first pair of jeans, I noticed cellulite on my toe. My toe.


4. Don’t let your presence detectors be mistaken for peeping toms

Changing rooms are a great place to use lighting controls to get your energy use down. But if you install sensors, make sure you let customers know. One shopper at a Walmart in New Mexico caused quite a stir on Facebook when she posted a video of a blinking red light in the fitting room – was it a secret camera spying on her? No, just a presence detector. Check out the video below.




5. Don’t forget: fitting rooms are now photo booths

The camera phone has transformed the shopping experience with the rise of the fitting room selfie. Shoppers routinely photograph themselves in outfits they’re trying out, to consider and compare later and share with friends. That means your fitting room is now a photo studio, and that means they need great lighting. If you’re not familiar with the concept of the fitting room selfie, we advise against googling the term at the office – some of the results are distinctly NSFW…


  • Lux will be holding a Connected Lighting in Retail Conference at the Cavendish Centre in central London on Wednesday 27 September 2017 . The event will consider how connected lighting can be utilised to interact with shoppers and what new technologies are best suited to this task. The conference will also advise you on the best ways to become a player in this exciting emerging market. You find out more and register to attend by clicking here.