When it comes to condo corridor lighting design, a successful project relies on collaboration between key stakeholders: interior designers, the Condo Board, Management, and residents. Let’s delve into the essentials of lighting design and the roles each party plays in creating functional and appealing spaces.

The Interior Designer’s Role

Central to the process is the interior designer, tasked with crafting an effective lighting plan. Factors such as traffic levels and desired atmosphere guide the design. Meeting recommended illuminance levels (10 lux minimum at any point, with an average of 20 lux) ensures both safety and visual appeal.

With the introduction of LED technology, designers gain more control over ambiance through color temperature and Color Rendering Index (CRI). A high CRI ensures accurate color reproduction, enhancing the corridor’s aesthetics and functionality.


The Condo Board’s Oversight

The Condo Board plays a critical role in ensuring compliance with safety and regulatory standards. Collaborating with designers, the Board reviews plans to guarantee that the corridor lighting meets all necessary requirements. This oversight helps the Board members to communicate with residents and give input to the contractors. The Board also should check the credentials of the electrician(s) and ask about any fees or permits related to disposal or needed upgrades to the panels. It’s always good to know what is going on behind the walls!


Building Management are your eyes and ears

Never dismiss the manager’s point of view – they not only deal with the superintendent when it comes to repairs and replacement, they watch the bills, notice changes over time, and they hear from ALL the residents, not just the ones who are friendly with the Board members. Managers, while they vary in how strongly they feel about aesthetics, are your best source of data to make a sound decision about yourbuilding, not anyone else’s.


Engaging Condo Residents

Residents’ input helps in shaping the final lighting design, of course, insofar as what they desire. Designers extract the opinions of residents through the Board of Directors and the managers to understand their preferences and ensure that the corridor lighting aligns with their needs and lifestyle. Everyone has their own opinion, so getting a sampling of the thoughts and opinions on the existing lighting before the project is a good idea. We have found that some residents find the new lighting too bright while others might find it not bright enough, and others find it just right. So keep in mind that there is an adjustment period too. Lighting should ultimately bring out the new design and materials and feel “right” in the space.


LED Lighting and Its Impact

Now, which type of light to choose? The advent of LED lighting has transformed interior design practices. Unlike traditional lighting measured in watts, LEDs are quantified in lumens, providing a more accurate measure of brightness. LED technology also allows for customizable color temperatures (from warm to cool), offering flexibility in creating the desired ambiance.

Moreover, LEDs are highly energy-efficient, reducing operational costs and environmental impact—an important consideration for sustainable living. With most buildings having done a retrofit by this point, refurbishing now means ensuring the savings continue, even if more light is added, this proportionate increase in cost compared to light should be taken into consideration.


Navigating Darkness: How Bright is Bright Enough?

Industry standards recommend specific levels to ensure safe navigation in corridors. Maintaining a minimum of 10 lux at any point and an average of 20 lux promotes safety without compromising aesthetics. Color temperature influences perceived brightness, but it does not directly affect illuminance levels.


Understanding Color Rendering Index (CRI)

CRI measures a light source’s ability to accurately render colors compared to natural light. A higher CRI results in vivid and true-to-life colors, enhancing the corridor’s visual appeal. The ideal CRI varies based on the corridor’s function and desired atmosphere. It’s a matter of philosophy for some designers – are you striving for “true” colour or the best colour that brings out the materials’ inherent beauty? CRI will feel better on the eyes, even if colour temperature is not matched to “daylight” (which is really dependent on time of day if you think about it!). No doubt it can get pretty complicated but that’s what designers are for.

Choosing Lighting Fixtures

Flush Mount Ceiling Fixture

Wall Sconces


The laundry list of lighting we see in corridors can include:

  • Over the suite entry sconce, or downlight
  • Flush Mount ceiling fixture
  • Wall Sconces
  • Pot Lights (recessed downlights)
  • Safety exit lights and/or fire escape flood lights
  • LED strip accent lighting
  • Feature lighting at key points (such as the elevator lobby)

In Lobbies, amenities or stairwells we might see:

  • Fluorescent or flat ceiling or wall lights
  • down lighting of various kinds
  • Task lighting for example in a party room kitchen or security area
  • Grand feature chandelier
  • Wall sconces
  • Semi flush mounts or pendant lights
  • LED strip accent lights for architectural features
  • Flood lights

Selecting the right lighting fixtures is crucial in achieving the desired lighting effect. LED strips offer versatility, providing continuous and even illumination along ceilings or walls, and allow for some pretty funky possibilities design-wise. BUT they have their (not insignificant) drawbacks. LED bulbs are practical and easy to replace, but limit the shape and size of the fixture.

In summary, successful condo corridor lighting design is a collaborative effort involving designers, the Condo Board, Management, and residents. By leveraging LED technology and considering illuminance levels, CRI, and color temperature, stakeholders can create well-lit, functional, and visually pleasing spaces that enhance the overall living experience. Together, let’s illuminate corridors with purpose and precision!