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Hallway and Staircase Lighting for Hotels

Welcome back to this week’s hotel lighting guide to Hallway, Staircase, and Elevator Lighting. If you missed last week then don’t worry, we have the important points listed below. This lighting series will cover everything that hotel owners, management, and employees need to know about maximizing hotel lighting. If you want to make sure your guests get the most out of their stay and to get the most out of your bottom line then this hotel series is for you. Be sure to subscribe to this series to get notified when a new post goes live. 

Last week’s main points:

  • There are three focal points to your hotel lobby: the entrance, reception area, and seating areas.
  • Four types of lighting layers exist to help position your hotel lobby in the right light, they are general lighting, perimeter lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting.
  • A handful of bulbs can be used in a hotel lobby, but here are the most common, BR Series, PAR Series, MR Series, T Series, B Series, and A Series.
  • Get the most out of your bulbs by taking note of your bulb’s characteristics, such as its lumens, Kelvin temperature, and CRI rating.
  • Create an environment you want while achieving energy efficiency by taking advantage of modern lighting controls.
  • We’re packing this series full of information and it still only touches the outer aspects that Lumen Masters like us consider while doing a lighting retrofit. So be sure to give this post an extra read-through if something is not making sense. Better yet, visit our website at goodbulb.com or call us at (701) 205-4953 to speak with a Lumen Master directly.

    We’ve accomplished a lot so far with getting your hotel up to speed on lighting best practices, and now you have an understanding of lighting basics as it pertains to the hotel industry. Your exterior lighting not only attracts new guests but promotes your hotel. Your lobby is well-lit, comforting, and navigational by using the four layers of lighting discussed earlier. The next step for a hotel guest is their guestroom, but they will have to travel through your hallways, elevators, and possibly the stairs to get there.

    So let’s dive in and learn about making lighting improvements to these areas, and how to take advantage of your hotel’s best promoter.

    But first,


    Hallway Lighting

    Hallway lighting builds off the positive experience set by the lighting design of your lobby and by the interaction guests have with hotel staff. The hallway, though simple, is an area that deserves just as much attention as the rest of your hotel. Typically, we’re going to maintain the same light levels in the hallways/corridors as we have in the lobby. To achieve this, we recommend lighting these areas with a 3000 Kelvin to 5000 Kelvin LED bulb.

    A special note on this though is that the Kelvin temperature is contingent upon the color of your hallway walls, carpet/floor color, and ceiling color. What look is your hotel wanting to achieve? What are the dimensions of the space? Are their unique features present? These questions are going to help us navigate our lumen, Kelvin, and CRI considerations presented in the previous blog post. If you missed last week’s post, you can read it here: Lobby Lighting for Hotels.

    Though the considerations for lighting in this area are much the same factors for lighting any area in your hotel, we have fun with our luminaires. Most properties will use recessed can lighting, ceiling-mounted fixtures, and/or wall sconces. For recessed can lighting you’ll often reflector BR LEDs or plugin bulbs. The reason for this is that it provides a clear overhead space that’s stylish for any hotel. The second reason for choosing this light shape is the beam angle, BR series has a wide beam angle that is perfect for downlight lighting. The typical width of a hallway is 48-72 inches wide, having recessed lighting that offers a wide beam angle is perfect for this width. When it comes to choosing our light direction, we have a few options.

    The first option is taking advantage of spotlighting to illuminate the path of your hallway. This directional beam can avoid contact with the walls while placing an intentional beam of light on the hallway floor. This lighting option can create a chic atmosphere, almost like your guests are walking down a runway during New York Fashion Week. This effect gets compounded when wall sconce lighting is introduced. Providing the same Kelvin temperature as your ceiling light, this accent lighting is perfect for adding a bit of character to your hallway. When done right, it can make your guests feel welcomed, as if they have a special invitation to be here.

    Taking advantage of a wider beam angle that illuminates the walls and leverages a lighting technique known as “wall washing” can also set a great atmosphere. Wall washing is a lighting technique used to enhance the smoothness of your walls and eliminate shadows. You’ll often see this technique used in art galleries but we can use the same technique here. Using a wider beam angle doesn’t prevent you from using wall sconces either, the atmosphere will just be a little different. In this instance, you may opt to vary the lumens of the wall sconces to provide a visual break between the ceiling light and wall sconces. This can aid in obtaining your guest’s attention towards paintings and room numbers.

    We should note that depending on the newness of your lighting system, you may have integrated bulbs. These are most common among new hotels as they are still a newer technology. If you have these installed for your recessed lighting or your wall sconces then you’ll replace the fixtures or the driver, as they are integrated. Though for most hotels, your fixture and bulbs will be separate. As noted, you’ll commonly use a BR20, BR30, or BR40 for your ceilings. For your wall sconces, you’ll commonly see a PL Plug-In (2p pin / 4 pin) installed.


    Staircase lighting

    Staircase lighting follows the same principles as hallway lighting in terms of ceiling light, though you’ll more commonly see focused lighting on the stairs. Staircase lighting has more in common with pathway lighting than it does with hallway lighting. Just as with pathway lights, we want to illuminate the direction of traffic. Remember, these lights need to be appropriately spaced so that each step receives the proper amount of light, while not flooding any particular area. You’ll also want to make sure that your stair lighting doesn’t protrude into the path of the stairs, causing a tripping hazard. Instead, your stair lighting should be flush along the mounting surface.  We recommend 5000 Kelvin in your stairwells because it’s a bright and whiter light.  It helps eliminate that creepy feeling one gets when walking down or up the back sections of a hotel.  


    A note on safety

    Sometimes general lighting systems fail, when they do you’ll need exit and emergency lighting to keep your guests and hotel staff safe. These lights should signal the direction of the nearest exit and facilitate efficient movement. If an exit is not required then these lights should provide a sense of security and comfort until the main lighting systems are back online. 

    State and local regulations require that you have both exit lighting and emergency lighting present within your hotel. Please check with your local, state, and federal regulations to make sure your hotel is following regulations. 

    In the case of hotels, all exit routes such as hallways, stairwells, and corridors should have emergency backup lights. Often, internal rooms such as guestrooms, bathrooms, and large closets require emergency lighting as well.

    To order your exit and emergency lights, or light bulb replacements visit our exit lights section on goodbulb.com.


    “A safe, navigational, and energy-conserving light level is around 5-foot candles or 53.8 lumens”
    ~ Lumen Master Brian ~


    Elevator Lighting

    Whew, this information can be a lot to take in, especially if you’re coming across this information for the first time so thanks for sticking in there with us. This is all to better your hotel, the guest experience, and make your hotel more profitable. This is where we can get to the fun part of utilizing your best promotor, your elevators. Now you may think the elevator doesn’t do much, it goes up and it goes down. You’d be right, that’s what elevators are meant to do, to get people to where they need to be. Yet, you’re smarter than most hotel managers and know that the elevator is where every guest spends a portion of their stay. 

    This becomes marketing 101 when you have a guest wondering what to do as they wait to arrive on their selected floor. Use this opportunity to play promotions or funky music on the elevator speakers, highlight your restaurant and bar experience or remind guests of your breakfast options. Though a bit harder to pull off, hanging an advertising board, video display or wall art is a great option to further promote your property. These options can improve your hotel’s revenue but they can also improve your guest’s experience by promoting events they could be interested in. A study done by entrepreneur magazine found that the average elevator ride is 118 seconds or 1 minute 58 seconds. This is a significant amount of time to have direct access to your hotel guests, take advantage of it wisely and watch your bottom line benefit. 

    Because you’ll be utilizing your elevator as a 24/7 hotel promotor, you’ll want to make sure that this area is well lit. To accomplish this we will go with a brighter bulb to make this relatively small space feel larger and more welcoming. Common bulbs used in elevator lighting are little PARs because they give us the bright light we’re looking to achieve and maintain our desired Kelvin temperature. Bringing these two aspects together allows us to treat our guests well, maintain a welcoming atmosphere, and promote all of your hotel-related activities. 


    Wrap Up

    This wraps up our hallway, staircase, and elevator lighting guide for hotels. We covered a lot of ground in this chapter so let’s do a quick recap of the main points: 

  • Hallway lighting should work to maintain the atmosphere set from the previous customer touchpoints, the exterior, and the lobby.
  • Hallways utilize either BR or PAR series light bulbs for downlight and wall sconces for uplight.
  • A hotel manager’s job is to ensure a great guest experience and to do that requires keeping their safety in mind.
  • An average elevator ride is 118 seconds, use this time to promote your hotel restaurant & bar, shops, and events.
  • There’s a good amount of information that we covered in this section so be sure to take notes, review particular areas, and know that you can visit goodbulb.com or call us at (701) 205-4953 to work with a Lumen Master. We at GoodBulb have years of industry experience in helping hotel management shape their visual perceptions and save on energy costs.

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