5 Home Lighting Tips from Starbucks Designers

During long winter nights, lighting can create warmth and drama.

Lighting can also enhance surfaces and textures, or spotlight a focal point or piece of art. Sometimes the light fixture can become an objet d’art itself.

Min Cho, director of design for Starbucks U.S. Western Pacific Region and Jill Enomoto, director of design for Starbucks U.S. Eastern Region, share their advice for creating a cozy and inviting space with light.

“When we think of design holistically, we look at how each component contributes to an overall design idea. Lighting can be a great design element to enhance an environment,” Enomoto said.

Light can also evoke emotions and feelings of comfort. “We sometimes use residential style lighting, such as floor lamps in our store designs,” Enomoto said. “It’s a visual cue that can make you feel like you are sitting in a living room.”

Here are five tips from Cho and Enomoto for lighting in your home.

1. Take advantage of natural light

“During the day, try to take advantage of as much natural daylight as possible,” Cho said. “We try to utilize large windows, mirrors or skylights to bring natural light throughout a space.”

2. Layer light throughout a space

To create a layered light effect in a space, think about utilizing different categories of light sources in a space; overall general lighting, focal lighting, and task lighting. Having the different types of light sources gives the user the ability to cater to different tasks and activities, and time of day. Designers also incorporate a mix of different types of light, from ambient sunlight, to functional lighting, and decorative pieces.

According to Cho, choosing what not to light is as important as what you do light. “Inside the store, we light up the bar area brighter to pull the eyes into the space while allowing the warmth of the café to remain prominent in the foreground.”

3. Use light fixtures as art to create visual appeal and drama

Sometimes, light fixtures can make a dramatic statement. For inspiration, Enomoto points to the Canal Street Starbucks store in New Orleans, which features chandeliers made out of old wrought iron gates, and another piece made from vintage horn instruments.

4. Bring down the lights after dusk

“At the end of the day, we want to evolve from day to night,” Cho said. “At locations that serve customers in the evenings, we add dimmers to make the space feel more intimate and use specific light fixtures to assist in the story telling.”

5. Look for energy-efficient lighting, such as LED bulbs

“We are utilizing energy-efficient lighting throughout our whole portfolio of stores,” Enomoto said. “Starbucks switched out incandescent and halogen light bulbs in our stores for new LED bulbs and it’s helped us decrease our energy consumption.” LED technology is constantly improving, and warmer light temperatures are readily available which can be a great substitute for incandescent light.

About Starbucks Design

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification: As a pioneer in bringing LEED to retail, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, we have a commitment to building all of our company-owned stores to LEED certification by 2015. We now have 575 LEED certified stores in 18 countries and are continuing to work towards this goal.

Local Relevancy: Starbucks stores are gathering places for the community. By creating spaces that reflect this culture and anticipate the needs of the neighborhood, we are designing for the longevity of our communities and our business. From community tables that foster conversation to using materials that highlight the characteristics of the area or ensuring that the biking community has ease of access, we are re-defining where we meet our customers on the journey of their day.

Innovation: The evolution of our store design means the commitment to re-imagining the intersection of business and the human experience. As we look towards the next generation of Starbucks customers, we continue to push ourselves to bring provocative and elegant design to our stores around the world. Through the integration of unexpected and sustainable materials like shipping containers and reclaimed fencing or the introduction of unique design-driven experiences like Starbucks coffee workshops and 'slow’ coffee theatre, we are constantly looking for ways to push the boundaries of design.

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2024 Starbucks summer highlights