Bright Ideas, Smart Choices

You’ve got your membership activities right, your menu offering is great, your staff are exceptional and your venue’s interior design is both on-trend and functional. But if you have not planned how well you light your venue, everything else can fall flat. Here we share some considerations for you to get your lighting just right, using recommendations and examples from lighting technology specialist, Dyson.

In recent years, the lighting industry has moved on from gas, glass and filament type lamps to more efficient and sustainable LED lighting. And with advancements in technology and the tools now available, the quality and functions of light have also changed.

Picking out the right lighting for your venue is imperative. Good lighting is so much more than brightening or dimming a room; research has shown that light can impact the way people interact with objects in the environment. It affects the atmosphere of the venue, helps manage the flow of people around the spaces and, ultimately, influences your customers’ experience within your establishment.

There are several factors to consider such as installation and energy costs, the type of lighting in each room, the design of the lights and so on. So let’s look at some of these key considerations and learn what to avoid when lighting your venue.


Lighting differs from room to room in a venue and is dependent upon the functionality of the space. For example, the entrance foyer should be lit warmly and invitingly so customers feel comfortable, as though they have ‘arrived’. Low colour temperatures, such as a 3000-degree LED recessed light fitting, will achieve this goal by washing the wall with the right amount of light, without being too glaring.

The reception area and other functional or working areas – where people (staff or customers) are writing, using computers or reading – require adequate overhead lighting that is brighter in contrast to the foyer and adheres to the governing Australian standard. The added purpose of this type of lighting in the reception is to direct the eye of incoming customers, which is also useful for your security personnel.

When it comes to spaces associated with gaming, the rule of thumb is to ensure all aisles and walkways are acceptably lit for safety, while lights over the gaming machines should be at lower levels. It is recommended to have narrow beam down-lights over the pathways to the exits, toilets and bars, with softer, wide beam down-lights over the machines, so as to not detract from the allure of the machines, which are self-lit. A selective use of colour for the lights over the machines can also be used to isolate them dramatically from the aisles.


In a 2012 study by Cornell University titled Fast Food Restaurant Lighting and Music Can Reduce Calorie Intake and Increase Satisfaction, researchers found that people who dine in comfortable environments – places that employ mellow music and soft lighting – feel “more satisfied with the quality of the food that they eat. Because of this, they become more inclined to stay longer and are more likely to revisit that environment.”

Restaurant lighting can be entirely subjective, though. Patron responses may depend on the ‘feel and flavour’ of the restaurant itself. But, in such a high traffic space as a bistro or restaurant, adequate lighting is a must.

Australian building standards set out guides that help lighting designers and venue managers achieve safety and compliance. In the bistro service areas, there needs to be clean, shadow-free lighting, as many patrons congregate here. Over at the seating and dining area, diffused down-lights can be used. The diffusion of recessed light helps to ‘soften’ the atmosphere, and remove strong, contrasting shadows.

A thing to note is, during the day, a typical club may play host to business people during lunch hour, and adequate levels of neutral light may be the order of the day. At night, however, families and pleasure-seekers will be filling the seats, and a second bank of warm white, diffused LED down-lights can be brought into play.

Another tip from Dyson is, if you have an outdoor area with features of any kind, you can ‘bring the outside in’ at night by lighting them. Walls and other structures can be made to stand out by introducing up-lights mounted into the ground, which graze the vertical surfaces and, with plants and trees, flood the underside of the canopy.


There are many guides available, such as the NSW government’s energy light-saving guide ( to help venue managers with lighting efficiency. The rough rule of thumb is to use LED wherever possible. LED lights have outputs that rival and exceed the traditional fluorescent tube lights, once considered the most efficient form of lighting. However, without adequate cooling, the efficacy of LED lights may drop over time, which can result in inefficient lighting.

Look out for LED lights such as Dyson Cu-Beam™ lighting range that have heat pipe technology to help transfer heat away from the light source. Six vacuum-sealed tubes each contain a drop of water that turns into vapour with heat energy when the light is switched on and then dissipated evenly through a series of aluminium fins. This effective cooling system has been engineered to enable Dyson Cu- Beam™ suspended lights to use high-power LEDs, instead of combining the light output of multiple less powerful LEDs.

The other consideration to take note of is to install smart lighting systems that operate with sensors. By using a control system, you can dim or turn off lights deemed unnecessary at the time, optimising the use of lighting and saving you money at the same time. These are worthy investments.


The lighting industry has transformed over the years with technology companies, such as Dyson, introducing and developing technology that delivers powerful, long-lasting illumination that can adapt to different tasks throughout the day.

For those outside the lighting design industry, there is a baffling array of products from which to choose. Where possible, engage a lighting professional who can help you determine how many fixtures you’ll need and what they look like. Plan your lighting design concurrently with the layout of your venue so you don’t end up over or under-lighting the space but, instead, maximise the value of each and every lamp and fixture you choose to create an atmosphere in which your patrons will feel comfortable, welcome and safe.

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