More and more frequently furniture (especially kitchens, wardrobes, headbed frames) includes embedded lighting, be it downlights, strips, panels… Undercabinets or drawers or mirrors are more pleasant when they shine.
CSIL interviewed a sample of Italian furniture retailers with surprising results: more than one half of retailers think that in a few years some 20%-30% of furniture (speaking of those tipologies for which lighting is proper, like cabinets, shelves, decorative panels) will include at least a lighting element. Today linear lighting is gaining space under spot or downlights, but LED panels are also introduced for the furniture market, whereas for OLED surfaces itˈs just matter of time (and innovation). At imm Cologne 2017, German manufacturers (Hülsta, Interlübke) presented many items (librairies, wardrobes) including embedded lighting. Use of embedded lighting is more discreet among Italian manufacturers (Molteni, B&B Italia).
For home furniture, the use of lighting elements is still limited to the upper and mid-upper end of the market, but for kitchen furniture itˈs already common also in the midlower end. For example, most of Dada or Allmilmö kitchens include lighting, but also 15%-20% of kitchens sold by mass-market manufacturers like Nobilia or Howdens Joinery have light inside. Embedded lighting can be supplied by specialists (L&S, Forma e Funzione…) or by suppliers of other furniture components (Hettich, Häfele….). Possibly, the company can grow having inside both the know-how of furniture and lighting (GERA Leuchten is a good example). Embedded lighting (again according to Italian furniture retailers) is useful for functional reasons (90%), emotional, ambient reasons (26%), better colors (31%), better luminous signage (13%).
Premise of the use of lighting inside a furniture piece should be: compact dimensions of the light sources, mechanical protection, electrical and heat (quite feasible things after the LED revolution). On/off and dimming of light sources controlled is frequently requested, remote control from smartphones is perhaps a gadget, but it will be on demand. With a Color Rendering Index of 85 (better if 90….) all the shirts in our wardrobe will have a new life. Of course, lighting for furniture needs to be ˈsimpleˈ: easy to work for the furniture manufacturer, easy to install, consumer friendly. The additional cost for the end consumer is quite limited. Embedded lighting in the future will also influence the choice of furniture colours: (potentially) more light when furniture has a dark finishing.