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10+ Tips for Better Outdoor Lighting on Commercial Buildings

Outdoor lighting on commercial buildings can drastically influence the property’s safety and visual appeal. There are three main purposes for exterior lighting: to enhance security, increase safety and visibility, and create the right impression and atmosphere. With a professional design and high-quality fixtures, exterior lights can make commercial buildings more polished and more welcoming for visitors. Good exterior lighting is also what makes a building seem “finished” from the outside, by creating a uniform appearance and eliminating shadowy spots. 

There’s more to good outdoor lighting than that single fixture hanging over the entryway. Sure, you’ve added a few security lights too. That’s a great start. But we’d like to show you what else you can do–and how you can improve–the outdoor lighting on your commercial buildings.

1.   Use High-Quality Fixtures

When it comes to outdoor lighting on commercial buildings, there are many options. But they’re not all created equal. Some fixtures just aren’t made to last. Not only will they look worn out and cheap after a season or two, they might stop working altogether. It’s smarter to put a little more money into high-quality, contractor-grade lighting fixtures. Most of these include a significant warranty, so the risk is low. Plus, you’ll stand to gain these benefits (along with a much better first impression for site visitors):

●      Lower energy bills – LED lighting fixtures use less energy than other incandescent or fluorescent lights. They run cheaper, run cooler, and last longer. 

●      Lower maintenance – Typically, the better the lighting fixtures, the lower the maintenance cost. High-quality fixtures last longer and look better than those made of cheaper materials. 

●      Improved light quality – Get a better quality of light is better with the adjustment features and customization options of high-quality fixtures. 

2.   Walk the Property 

You probably need more fixtures than you think you do. Walk the property around the commercial building. Imagine you’re a guest who is visiting for the first time. Is it easy to see where to park, where the sidewalk is, and where the main doors are located? Notice dark corners and shadowy spots. Notice where two different fixtures are putting out light that doesn’t match–either in brightness or temperature. Those are the details that make or break it with outdoor lighting. 

3.   Think about First Impressions 

As mentioned above, when it comes to outdoor lighting on commercial buildings, you need to consider how things feel for first-time visitors. What does the building convey after dusk? It might be the very height of modern good taste, but can you see that after the sun goes down? These nighttime first impressions are controlled by the exterior lighting.  Missing lights, dim or flickering lights, broken fixtures, or poorly lit walkways make visitors feel both unsafe and unwelcomed. That’s probably not the mood you want to create. 

4.   Create a Uniform Appeal

Whether the first impression you want to create is homey or upscale, uniformity is key. To get uniformity in outdoor lighting on commercial buildings, you need to use enough fixtures and space them properly. This is where your professional lighting team steps in (hey, that’s us!) to design and install the right lights in the right places. We adjust the spread and intensity of each light fixture for a uniform appearance that’s both professional and welcoming. 

5.   Complement the Building

Even if security and stark professionalism are your main priorities, you need to consider the decor. Choose high-quality fixtures that match or complement the commercial building. Mismatched fixtures won’t look as good. 

This isn’t a complicated task. Choose a finish that works with the building’s color. And choose fixtures which have the same design sensibility, too. If the building is utilitarian, keep it simple. If it’s classical, choose more traditional fixtures. If it’s sleek and modern… well, you get the idea. There are many types of fixtures available, and we can help you pick the ones that complement the style and color of your building. 

6.   LED Lights Are Best

We mentioned this already, but just in case you missed it: LED lights are much more efficient than traditional fluorescent lights or incandescent bulbs. They don’t have a filament, making them more durable. LED lighting also prevents heat build-up. They’re mercury-free. They’re cost-effective. There’s really no reason you wouldn’t go with LED bulbs.

7.     Use Adjustable Lighting 

From office spaces to event venues, commercial buildings are better with outdoor lighting that’s adjustable. Adjustable lighting allows you to create different atmospheres. Dim the lights and up the music for the holiday part. Turn lights up at full blast brightness for cleaning up, after. Adjustable lights are also important if you’re highlighting landscape features, which tend to change over time.  

8.   Create Visual Interest 

Outdoor lighting on commercial buildings not only enhances security, but also adds to the visual interest and aesthetic appeal of the entire property. Safety first, yes–and visual interest second. Some commercial buildings are kind of bland: big squares of concrete or brick that need help from landscaping and lighting to look their best. Other buildings have great architectural features, and outdoor lighting can highlight those features.

Be smart and invest in good-quality outdoor lighting on commercial buildings, whether it’s an office, event venue, restaurant, or store. We’re here to help; schedule a consultation today.

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