Interior Designing

Interior Designing




Light plays an essential role in enhancing individual’s visual understanding of the environment surrounding them and the world in general. This assertion is supported by Descottes and Ramos (2011) who emphasise that ‘materials only exist in the presence of light’ (p.8).  Light in scientific terms refers to energy. However, light has functional and experiential effect in that it reveals colours, textures and other physical elements.  According to Livingston (2014), colour constitutes an integral part of the lighting design. Through these effects, light triggers individual’s memories and emotions.  Therefore, there is a strong link between light and our visual understanding. These aspects have remarkably increased the significance of light in architectural designing. 

According to Descottes and Rasmos (2011), architectural designers are progressively utilising lighting as a medium of heightening their architectural intentions. Schielke and Leudesdorff (2015) assert that lighting has a strong environmental cue that influences the individual’s perception of the atmosphere. Thus, lighting is increasingly being used in different areas. The increased application of lighting in interior designing is informed by the fact that it constitutes one of the vital atmospheric elements that interior designers should take into consideration.  

One such area relates to retail designing. The rationale of incorporating lighting in interior designing in the retailing field is that it influences individual’s feelings, perceptions and emotions. In line with this aspect, this paper evaluates the impact of lighting on consumer behaviour. The paper intends to achieve this goal by responding to the following research question; what is the significance of lighting in interior designing and how does it impact consumer behaviour?




              Contrary to the scientific view, lighting is comprised of diverse elements such as texture, colour, image, volume, space and form. Lighting has both psychological and physiological impact on individuals (Steffy 2002). Schielke and Leudesdorff (2015) argue that ‘lighting is an important component of the technical building infrastructure. However, it is not only an element to allow visibility of the environment but is also a form giver for architecture’ (p. 763). Steffy (2002) emphasises that lighting is largely concerned with people. Thus, in the process of interior designing, it is essential for architectures to consider using light as a way of influencing the behaviour of people who use the particular space under design. Recent development in lighting presents interior designers an opportunity to influence individual’s perception.

One of the elements of lighting that interior designer should take into account entail colour. Traditionally, Livingston (2014) asserts that ‘majority of architectural interior designers rarely, if ever, worked with coloured light’ (p. 109). This aspect arises from the fact that coloured lighting was traditionally not considered ideal for architectural designing. This aspect underlines the existence of a unique opportunity for architectural designers to exploit different aspects of lighting in order to enhance the influence of lighting on individuals’ perceptions and behaviours. Thus, light constitutes a powerful design tools that interior designers should take into consideration in the interior designing process.

To successfully entrench lighting in interior designing, interior designers should take into consideration a number of principles that include; colour and temperature, direction and distribution, density, luminance, illuminance, density and height (Descottes & Ramos 2011).  Understanding these principles increases the interior designers’ capacity to optimally use lighting as an interior designing tool. Illuminance refers to the amount of light emitted by a particular light source that illuminates a particular surface.

Examination on the impact of lighting on consumer behaviour

The store environment constitutes an important  in influencing the consumers’ purchase decision (Quartier, Christiaans & Koenraad 2009). Therefore, it is imperative for retailers to focus on ensuring that the store environment positively influences consumer behaviour. According to Spence et al. (2014), the store environment acts as a stimulus in influencing consumer behaviour. One of the ways through which this outcome can be achieved by developing the servicescape.  The element of lighting is one of the most essential servicescape aspects that should be considered in the quest to influence the consumers’ behaviour (Zentes, Morschett & Schramm-Klein 2016). Basso et al. (2011) asserts that ‘customers are attracted by store interiors thata are more stimulaating and attraactive’ (p.764).

Lighting constitutes one of the most important themes that retailers should consider in developing effective store attributes. Madzharov, Block and Morrin (2015) assert that the store attributes influences the consumers purchase intention. According to Schielke and Leudesdorff (2015), lighting influences the consumers’ perception of the environment. The ultimate effect is that lighting might increase the level of sales revenue amongst retail firms.    Saeed (2015) argues that lighting is increasingly being considered as one of the components of visual merchandising.  The concept of visual merchandising entails a marketing approach that involves diverting customers’ attention towards a particular product or service, or area within a retail store (Saeed 2015). Therefore, it is essential for retailers to consider improving lighting as one of the atmospheric elements in interior designing. According to Basso et al. (2008), lighting influences the consumers’ purchase behaviour in a number of ways. First, lighting is an essential aspect in interior designing in that it influences the amount of time that consumers spend within a particular retail store (Basso et al. 2008).  Findings of a study conducted by Hebert and Summer (2001) shows that consumers tend to spend a longer time in a retail store that is well lit. Lighting increases an individual’s attention to a particular object displayed in the retail store. Hebert and Summer (2001)  asserts that illuminating retail stores increases the consumers’ attention to products hence stimulating store patronage intentions. This finding is supported by Schielke and Leudesdorff (2015), who affirms that consumers tend to examine more products under bright lighting compared to soft lighting. This indicates that lighting is positively correlated to attractiveness, which culminates in improvement in business’ level of competitive advantage.

On the basis of this aspect, the likelihood of effective lighting increasing consumers’ involvement in impulse buying is substantially high. This arises from the fact that the effective lighting ensures that consumers see and pick a wide variety of merchandise displayed on the shelves. Thus, lighting increases the attractiveness of products displayed in store to the target consumers. Basso et al. (2011), argues that ‘products under high light levels are more appealing that products and lower light levels with the same spectral distribution’ (p. 374).  By examining different types of merchandise, effective in-store lighting may trigger purchase intention.  Lighting arouses the consumers’ need towards a particular product. Saeed (2015) is of the view that ‘majority of products that shoppers buy are as a result of arousal and pleasure feeling that are developed through illumination’ (p. 433). Thus, lighting is positively correlated with development of impulse buying, which involves making unplanned purchases (DiLouie 2006).   

Lighting is increasing being used in interior designing within the retail sector as a way of brand communication.  Its effectiveness in brand communication arises from its capacity to enhance the extent to which consumers’ interact with the products being offered and the retail store. Schielke and Leudesdorff (2015) corroborate that lighting is progressively being integrated in interior design as an element through which businesses enhance their overall corporate image and identity.  For example, the nature of lighting integrated in an organisation’s interior design influences the extent to which it either leads to development of a feeling of liveliness, cosiness, detachment or tenseness (Schielke &Leudesdorff 2015).  This means that lighting can lead to development of a strong attachment with the consumers and not merely an element of visibility.


The analysis indicates that interior designing has the capacity to influence individuals’ behaviour. However, it is essential for architectures to ensure that the requisite elements of interior designing are integrated. Lighting is one of the most important elements that interior designers should take into consideration in the interior designing process.  Effective lighting has a strong impact on the retail store ambience.  An analysis on the significance of lighting in the interior designing process shows that lighting is one of the servicescape elements that influence consumer behaviour, which is a critical element in retailers’ quest to achieve competitive advantage. The analysis indicates that lighting is an essential interior designing tool that businesses can exploit in influencing the consumers’ behaviour. For example, effective lighting design increases the amount of time that consumers spend in the retail store. Lighting further has a positive impact on the consumers’ purchase intention because the products displayed are adequately illuminated for the consumers to examine. Lighting further improves the attractiveness of retail store to consumers. The net effect is that lighting contributes to development of store loyalty.  

From the study’s findings, it is evident that lighting constitutes an important element that architectures should consider exploiting in their interior designing process. However, to ensure that integration of lighting in the interior designing process positively impacts consumer behaviour, it is essential for interior designers to ensure that the relevant principles of lighting viz. colour and temperature, direction and distribution, density, luminance, illuminance, density and height are taken into consideration. Consideration of these elements will ensure that lighting is effectively integrated as one of the elements of improving the interior environment.   


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Livingston, J 2014, Designing with light; the art, science and practice of architectural designing, John Wiley, Mason, Ohio.

Madzharov, A, Block, L & Morrin, M 2015, ‘The cool scent of power; effects of ambient on consumer preferences and choice behaviour’, Journal of Marketing, vol. 79, pp. 83-96. 

Quartier, K, Christiaans, H & Koenraad, V 2009, Retail design: lighting as an atmospheric tool, creating experiences which influence consumers’ mood and behaviour in commercial spaces, Sheffield Hallam University Research Archive, Sheffield, UK. 

Saeed, S 2915, ‘Impact of lighting as visual merchandising tool on consumer purchase behaviour’, Pakistan Business Review, vol. 3, pp. 430-444.

Schielke, T & Leudesdorff, L 2015, ‘Impact of lighting design on brand image for fashion retail stores’, Lighting Res. Technol., vol. 47, pp. 672-692.

Steffy, G 2002, Architectural lighting design, John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Zentes, J, Morschett, D & Schramm-Klein, H 2016, The internationalisation of retailing, SpringerLink, London.  


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