Home page, How to Light, Industrial, Retail

How to Light: Three ways to light a furniture store

When we think of retail, we usually think of shops on the High Street. We might also think of online but that’s just shopping. If you are looking for a large item and want to try it out, you will go to one of the large, often out of town, stores.

These are large spaces, often with high ceilings, sometimes with roof lights. Conventional spotlights or under-shelf lighting just won’t do because they don’t have sufficient light output. The challenge is to light a large space, to a decent level of illumination, and still make it attractive.

One of the first things to do is look at the ceiling. If it is fairly pale in colour, you can use luminaires which emit a significant amount of upward light. This will reflect off the ceiling and make the space look open and airy.
Often as not, the ceiling is painted matt black or dark blue in order to hide the services. In this case, you need all the light to be directed downwards.

Walls are rarely visible in these areas because they are covered in shelving. This also means you need good vertical illumination. Always check this before finalising your scheme.

These spaces are often split level so some may be >8m from floor to ceiling whereas some areas might be scarcely 2.4m. Making sure that illumination levels and CCTs are similar is one way, but may not be easy.

The views shown in the renderings measure about 20m x 15m (overall) with an 8m ceiling. The mezzanine area is 20m x 5m.


High bays

High bays

One of the best solutions for this type of retail area is to use a good looking, high performance, high bay type unit.  The Goodlight GX1 has an attractive black or white finished body with perforations for extra cooling. Similarly, the reflector has a white finish which produces a 120° beam. This is a powerful unit emitting over 14,000 lm from a nominal 120W. CRI is >80 and the unit is rated at IP65.

Over the mezzanine area, we have used the 80W GX1 low bay. This is a shallow unit, just 183 mm high. Underneath the mezzanine, where the ceiling height is restricted, there are some Goodlight 600 mm x 600 mm panels.

Tech spec
  • Luminaires:  Predominantly GX1 LED high bay and GX1 low bay
  • Optical control: White, wide angle reflector
  • Arrangement: As shown
  • Average horizontal illuminance: >500  lx
  • Electrical load:  9W/m2
  • Pros: The brightest and best
  • Cons: None





Here, again, we have used the 120W GX1 highbay in the full height area. It is also available as a 150W where you need even greater power. This is a good all-rounder for large retail spaces.

Since we wanted a more homely feel to the area underneath the mezzanine, we have used the Light Disc which is an ultra-thin, < 12mm, LED unit. These give a broad spread of light and are available in 8W, 15W and 26W versions and three CCTs.  They are ideal where there is only limited space above the ceiling.

For a more industrial feel above the mezzanine, we have used LED tubes as straight replacements for T8.

Tech spec

Luminaires: Various

Optical control: Mainly reflector

Arrangement: As shown

Average horizontal illuminance: 440  lx

Electrical load:  10W/m2

Pros:   A softer feel under the mezzanine

Cons: Lower illumination level than other options



This solution provides more contrast in that we have used powerful 3-way gimbals to highlight the merchandise. We have constructed a raft high up in order to spotlight the displays in the aisles. We have again used them under the mezzanine. We have also used some LED downlights.

The only real disadvantage of gimbals is that you need to make sure they are aimed correctly. This used to be a real problem with T/H units since they were often relamped. The longer life of LEDs has mainly solved this problem.

Elsewhere, there is the GX1 high bay, my favourite solution for this type of area. To provide extra light, we have used the 150W version which emits almost 19,000 lm.

There are ten GX1 low bay units above the mezzanine.

Tech spec
  • Luminaires:  Four different types used
  • Optical control:
  • Mainly reflector Arrangement: As shown Average horizontal illuminance:400 – 500  lx
  • Electrical load:  9W/m2 Pros: Most varied and flexible Cons:  Make sure the aiming is correct