Lighting that draws in guests to stay, relax, and return

May 16, 2023
Good design can turn a hotel visit from ephemeral to unforgettable.

In hospitality settings, lighting can transform a guest’s experience. Designers can paint light throughout the space using an array of product types on hand, including chandeliers, pendants, wall sconces, table and floor lamps, wall art, screens, cove lights, and sculptural lights.

Lighting can help achieve design objectives while imparting a competitive edge to a venue. In multipurpose spaces, lobbies, or open plan areas, controls can quickly turn an intimate retreat into a vibrant hub for work or socializing.

Technologies and app-based platforms for personalizing guest stays are gaining in popularity among hotel brands, according to London-based lighting designer Paul Nulty. Guests can preset their lighting preferences before entering their room, and the apps will recall their preferences for future stays in other hotels by the same owner. Other hospitality design trends include:

  • Catering to the millennials. This tech-savvy generation relishes personalized interactions. If they love what they see, they will snap a photo or video for posting on social media. In particular, the lighting in dining areas should flatter the user and the space, and highlight the tabletop.
  • Sustainability. Hospitality professionals are promoting their sustainability practices in the materials they use, from nonhazardous cleaning brands to the locally grown produce served in their restaurants, and to the LED fixtures that reduce energy use.
  • Bold statement lighting. A lighting centerpiece can contribute to the signature impression of a space, like a bar or reception area.

Click below to learn in detail the lighting design of three recent hospitality projects:

This feature appeared in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Architectural SSL.

For more architectural lighting projects, products and news from LightSPEC (formerly Architectural SSL), subscribe to our newsletters and follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, X and Facebook.

About the Author

Vilma Barr

Vilma Barr is a contributing editor to U.S. and international professional journals and trade periodicals published in the U.S. and internationally in the fields of lighting and the built environment. She has served as author, co-author, and editor of design and business books.


Brandon Barré Photography
Living Room lounge and bar, W Toronto

Lighting adds to the energy and flair of W Toronto

May 16, 2023
The recent renovation led by Sid Lee Architecture, with lighting by the Ombrages Group, reflects the multicultural city's heritage.
Markus Gröteke ©Bocci / courtesy of Grüntuch Ernst Architekten
Staircase with Bocci light installation, Omer Arbel, at the Wilmina

Wondrous Wilmina: Once a prison, now a boutique hotel

May 16, 2023
Glowing lightscapes dapple within the Berlin hotel, an adaptive reuse by Grüntuch Ernst Architekten.
Eric Laignel / courtesy of Stonehill Taylor
Lobby, the Algonquin Hotel

Luminaires add a modern touch to the historic Algonquin Hotel

May 16, 2023
Stonehill Taylor with several lighting consultants oversaw the renovation of New York’s oldest, continuously operating hotel.