Lighting Options by Space or Area

Lobbies, Hallways & Public Areas


Many people move through a building’s public areas: entranceways, lobbies, hallways and stairways. First impressions of office buildings are often made in the entrance lobby. The lighting in public areas needs to complement the architecture, provide a sense of safety and should be balanced as compared with lighting in adjacent areas.

Design Tips

  • Lighting in entrance lobbies should provide a safe outdoor-to-indoor transition, i.e. the ability of one’s eyes to adapt from outdoor to indoor lighting conditions.
  • Highly reflective lobby walls can be wall washed with light to provide illumination for the lobby and occupants.
  • For glass enclosed lobbies, the interior walls need to be at higher luminance in the day (to be seen from outside) and lower at night. Consider controlled dimming systems.
  • Public areas often stay lit for extended periods of time or round-the-clock. Consider the most energy efficient light sources.
  • Many of the internal public areas receive little or no natural daylight. Indirect light, reflected off of walls and ceilings will provide these areas with sufficient general illuminations and provide safe and easy passage for employees and visitors.
  • Secondary or fire egress stairwells get very little traffic on a daily basis and are good candidates for energy control systems that lower light levels when vacant.
  • Hallway illuminance should be about one fifth of that in adjacent areas.
  • Higher illuminance is recommended in elevator lobbies, especially over the elevator threshold.