Trends in Hospitality Lighting Design

Hotel Zephyr Relax and Unwind

In recent years, there has been a shift in how hotels have been designed. The hospitality industry is now catering to accommodate the needs of every customer – from those who choose to rest and relax in their rooms and to guests who use the hotel as a place to socialize, do business and play.

Here are the key lighting trends hotels are implementing to define their individuality and differentiate themselves from their competition.

1. LED Lighting

Lobby and Reception at Sir Francis Drake in Union Square

LED backlit bar and chandelier bulbs add functional lighting to San Francisco’s iconic Sir Francis Drake while creating opulence and regalness  in the retro-chic lobby.

LED lighting is evolving rapidly within the hospitality space with infinite possibilities, reliability and energy efficiency. “LED lighting is six to seven times more efficient than conventional lighting and can last up to 25 times longer,” according to the US Department of Energy website.

While the upfront costs for LED lighting are initially higher, hotels and restaurants continue to adopt light-emitting diodes over CFL, incandescent, halogen and fluorescent because the overall energy costs associated with LED lighting are significantly lower when calculated over an entire lifespan of use.

Dirty Habit San Francisco // Entrance Lounge

LEDs create an edgy and sultry ambience at hotel bar/restaurant Dirty Habit, downtown San Francisco

2. Control Systems

Smarter lighting control systems allow hoteliers to regulate the use of light. Hotel managers and restaurant owners are becoming increasingly aware of the cost savings and reduced energy consumption benefits of lighting control innovation, and these control systems allow for smarter data input, on-off signal from switches or sensors and dynamic lighting. The automation of lights to turn on and off in a space based on time scheduling or occupancy/vacancy sensors is a huge energy saver.

recently Recently renovated Hotel Vintage Portland

Boutique Hotel Vintage located in donwtown Portland. LEDs ooze luxe appeal while highlighting and amplifying energy, drawing inspiration from Oregon Trail forefathers.

Dynamic and Scene based lighting allow managers to set the mood and enhance the experience of their guests, creating environments which are comfortable and being energy efficient while they do it. Today, lighting has moved beyond turning a switch on and off and control systems allow for flexibility within the hospitality sector.

Get playful at W Hotel West Hollywood

Creative application of 7 color LED track lighting makes for a dramatic statement at the W Los Angeles West Hollywood


3. Lighting as Design

Hotel and restaurant operators seek to differentiate themselves from their competitors and what better way to stand out by using lighting aesthetically as well as serving functionally.

Hotel Zetta SF S+R

Hotel Zetta located in the heart of SoMa

The options are endless – from ambient indirect lighting, wall washing vertical surfaces and cutting edge technology, we’re finding hotels and restaurants are seeking custom light fixtures, up-cycled chandeliers and custom neon signs.


LightingDesigns_HotelZettaSF-DistinctChandelierInteriors at Hotel Zetta by Dawson Design Associates. Upcycled chandelier made from eye glasses.

LightingDesigns_HotelZettaSF-DistinctChandelierInteriors at Hotel Zetta by Dawson Design Associates. Upcycled chandelier made from eye glasses.


Unique San Francisco Hotel

Unique decorative lighting and downlights allow the lobby to be lit at Hotel Zephyr San Francisco, invoking a sea-chic whimsicalness, perfect for business and play