Black Friday is right around the corner and retailers are hoping to attract the crowds.As a "lighting person" I am often floored by the amount of money is spent on retail store design with poor understanding of how incredibly important lighting is for creating the right atmosphere. Then again, there are wonderful examples of lighting done just right. Lighting definitely creates the overall ambiance of a space. Often it is not even what you are looking at when you enter a store (unless you are like me), but nevertheless it subconsciously it sets the tone for how you feel about the merchandise.
High quality lighting is able to bring out all the nuances and true colors in the products whether they are pieces of clothing, furniture or produce. At the same time, architectural elements and textures like wood, concrete, tile can get the attention they deserve. Good lighting definitely helps add character to the space. Generally we are talking about choosing lamps (light bulbs) with the highest possible CRI (score on the Color Rendering Index) to get the job done. But unfortunately not all LEDs with a high CRI render colors the same way.
The CRI scale is based on set of eight pastel colors to measure how well a light source render colors. More saturated colors aren’t taken into consideration. This is the reason a blue-based LED can get a high CRI score while actually not being able to render a deep red very accurately.
This, combined with the very high cost of retrofitting an entire showroom with LEDs makes it iffy to commit to a complete make-over.
Halogen lamps, while running a lot warmer and being a lot less energy efficient, have excellent color rendering and deliver a punch that is hard to beat, but there is hope: the energy saving LEDs are evolving so incredibly fast and the prices are going down so rapidly that this blog post will probably (hopefully) be obsolete in a few years.
Another great advantage LEDs have over other light sources is the control it allows over directional lighting. It is so much easier to achieve a focused, crisp beam of light that is delivered in the right place. This makes the areas that need to be highlighted "pop", while the areas you don't necessarily want to see will fade into the background. Spill of light outside the beam is wasteful as well as unpleasant, since it causes glare.