How Your Outdoor Lighting Will Improve Your Business in 2020

Jun 15, 2020

Curb appeal is just as important for commercial facilities as it is for homes. A stylish and clean facade can attract new customers, and decorative outdoor spaces allow for expanded customer engagement. And after the sun goes down, curb appeal — and safety — are even more important. 

One way to enhance both of these aspects at your operation is outdoor lighting. From building entrance to pathways, patios and beyond, TCP commercial lighting gives you the flexibility to create a unique design that’s safe and energy efficient. 

How to Set Up Outdoor Lighting

Exterior lighting design can change the way people view a business, and make it more welcoming, even after hours when customer traffic dissipates. It may seem like an overwhelming task, but paying attention to these details will pay off in the end. 

Without a doubt, start by making sure your business signage is properly illuminated so the public knows who and where you are. This might include a stacked street sign with multiple businesses from the same plaza listed together, or it could be a monument sign with your manufacturing company logo alone. Either way, make it matter by making it memorable. You’ll likely need building signage too, perhaps backlighting around a logo. 

After brand lighting is taken care of, determine what areas and building or landscape features you want to highlight. Then consider what fixture design style matches your company brand and building aesthetic. Choose the fixtures that best fit the bill and fill the spaces you need. Finally, select the bulbs that give you efficient and expressive illumination. 

If you already have fixtures in place, you might just need to update your bulbs. Energy-efficient LEDs consume 75 percent less energy, potentially lowering your energy bill. Plus, these bulbs last on average 24 years longer than incandescent bulbs. It’s a hassle-free way to bring new life to your exterior. 

To find the best type of lighting for your commercial outdoor space, contact a TCP lighting expert! Let us fine-tune the lighting details so you can focus on your business instead. 

Patio Lights

outdoor restaurant lighting

Commercial patios give you an opportunity to serve more customers, or extend your time with them in a unique way. Patio lights are fun and functional, and add light and life into your space.

String lights are probably the most popular patio light, especially in hospitality venues. These strands of glass bulbs bring elevated ambiance to restaurant and bar patios, beyond your average bistro. Simply attach the strings to poles at the corner of your patio, and zig zag the strand across the space. 

For covered patios, try a damp- or wet-rated chandelier or pendant lights overhead. Using an artistic fixture allows you to carry the interior design elements outside while also providing light. 

Once you cover style in the air, turn to safety on the ground. We recommend illuminating all elevation changes and steps. Use deck posts and work underneath stair treads, angling the fixtures toward the ground for best visibility. For contrast, consider installing landscape fixtures upward in nearby flower beds. This mix of up and down lights will create some definition for your outdoor commercial patio space while also making it feel larger. 

Never discount natural light, even at night. A fireplace or fire pit provides a natural light element as well as a heat source for cooler climates. It’s also a community-building tool that can bring your customers together in a space they might not have otherwise visited. Think about utilizing a fire feature in your outdoor mall, hospital courtyard, rooftop deck or other commercial design project.

Pathway Lighting

outdoor restaurant lighting

Pathway lights provide visibility for your customers’ safety and comfort. As with many other lighting considerations, proportion is also key with pathway lighting. For a small walkway, you might get by with the general up-lighting bouncing off your building. For larger pathways and driveways, turn to bollard lights. These vertical fixtures come in various heights and diffusing patterns, and allow you to incorporate an industrial, almost futuristic style. 

Looking for an alternative to in-ground fixtures? Try subtle wall fixtures with down angles. The combination of wall mount and pathway placement will better highlight the landscape and nearby paths because light will bounce off the wall, not just across the ground. They also can be used at higher elevations, which gives you the versatility to maximize your lighting design. Just remember to proportionally increase the size of the fixture if you raise its placement on the wall.

Solar-Powered Pathway Lights

Solar lights — particularly solar-powered pathway lights — are a smart choice to enhance outdoor spaces. The small, often ground-stake design, is virtually maintenance free and doesn’t require crazy wiring and installation. Though they are sustainable, you should only rely on them for narrow pathways or small flower bed accents because they don’t produce very bright light.

Security Lighting

outdoor restaurant lighting

Outdoor lighting is not only a way to wow your customers, it’s an important tool that can help protect your business. 

Motion-activated light fixtures could deter a potential burglar or vandal because they only turn on when someone moves beneath them. These can be attached to a building, a tree or elsewhere. If you’d rather not wait for motion to kick on the light, use LED flood lights with photocells (also known as “dusk to dawns”). Flood lights distribute a broad light across a large space, and photocells automatically turn on the fixture when it’s dark — meaning they run dusk to dawn. Think high-elevation pole lighting like a parking lot or downtown area.

Car dealerships, landscapers/nurseries, and other businesses with valuable items outside 24-7 likely have additional security concerns. Vibrant, layered security lighting helps make it difficult for intruders to hide from security cameras. So even if they do steal something on your property, a well-planned lighting design allows for clear video evidence to help police capture them.  

If your commercial operation includes garages, utilize above-bay fixtures for after-hours vehicle return or key drop. Or, if your facility requires an entry code for third-shift employees, give them a bright entry light near the door. These and other security lighting details will help protect people, property and vehicles. 

Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

From a far distance, you may not notice outdoor light fixtures. But at an arm’s length while strolling along the sidewalk, these become more important design elements that could make a huge statement about the products and/or services sold on the inside of the building. After all, they still have to look good in the daytime when not lit up.

Spread light in a stylish way across an entire facade using several wall sconces, or light up an entryway with just one or two sconces. Vertical sconces may shower light both up and down, making your facility — and brand presence — look bigger. Want more functionality with less flair? Areas with less customer traffic that don’t require as big of a to-do, but still deserve certain visibility — like an employee exit in the rear of the building — could benefit from simpler, flush-mounted wall fixtures to diffuse more light across wider square footage.

Perhaps your facility just commissioned a memorial garden or statue honoring a founder, donor, or other key member of the organization, and you want to make this a focal point of the landscape. Instead of a wall-mounted piece, use grounded spotlight fixtures for dedicated, intense beams to illuminate your display. 

Regardless of the fixture, choose bulbs that can stand up to a wet environment. These lights don’t necessarily need to be heavy duty, just designed to withstand rain and outdoor moisture. TCP offers a variety of wet location light bulbs, including a white bulb and a clear bulb. Coordinating your bulb warmth with your design style and the tone of your outdoor hardscape materials also makes the space look upscale and unified. So if you’re staging a hotel patio for a wedding reception, choose warmer color temperature bulbs for a more romantic feel.

Glass Lanterns

Transitional fixtures like glass lanterns are a simple way to dress up an outdoor space. Add pillar candles to make a durable yet decorative addition to an outdoor fireplace mantle, dress them up with other decor elements like flowers for a caterer’s outdoor event display. Cluster several lanterns at various heights, or use individually as centerpieces, buffet or bar accents and more. These fixtures are available in varying dimensions, so it’s easy to create an interesting display by mixing and matching shapes and sizes.

If your hospitality venue offers a wedding ceremony space, glass lanterns are a rustic way to define a space without making it permanent. Hang them from a tree for a soft, dimensional backdrop. Or, try scattering several at different heights along a cement wall or walkway for a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Pair any of these with candles or fairy lights for a customizable glow.

String Lights

Bistro-style string lights have been popular in outdoor party spaces for decades. And they aren’t going away any time soon. String lights work in any season and come in almost any shape and size. They’re even available in both LED and solar options now, so you save money on the energy bill and avoid having to swap bulbs.

Here are several ways to use string lights in your commercial outdoor space:

  • Create the popular bistro-style canopy: Attach the strand to your roof, then drape it across a designated space and connect to a tall pole or fence post. Bring the strand back toward the building and back out again, crisscrossing your area.
  • Clip string lights around the outside of an umbrella for a makeshift chandelier of sorts.
  • Loop a few strands of smaller bulbs in close proximity around tree trunks for an organic take on floor lamps.
  • Line the top perimeter of a gazebo or pergola.
  • Hang strands vertically out of a large tree to create a light curtain.
  • Shrink those strands! Dress up table centerpieces.
  • Battery operated fairy lights are also ideal table centerpieces, with just a hint of light for a small group.

Floor Lamps

Turn your commercial deck or patio into an outdoor living space with cozy, versatile floor lighting. These kinds of details make customers feel comfortable at your business, and ultimately that’s what brings them back again and again.

Consider outdoor floor lamps to bring some height to dining spaces where everyone is seated. Post lights bring an old-world charm to your space, and could be used as a central design element on a patio, or as a portable fixture nearby your outdoor stage. If your business exists in a cooler climate, why not double up your lighting and heating elements for extra outdoor ambiance? Propane heater floor fixtures emit lots of heat for cool evenings, and that fiery glow provides a natural light source.

Don’t miss out on the flexibility and function that floor lamps bring to outdoor spaces.

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