Resimercial Design Warms Up Even the Most Sterile Spaces

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CPMC Hospital in San Francisco is a good example of Resimercial Design
CPMC hospital has just opened up in San Francisco. The furnishings and the lighting give it the feel of a contemporary hotel. Warm colored LEDs, Integrated into the architecture and decorative fixtures, add to the allure.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, resimercial, it refers to the trend that we’re seeing in commercial spaces where they are now being designed to have a more residential appearance. This makes these public environments feel less corporate or sterile and more warm and inviting. We certainly see it in hotels and restaurants, but we are now seeing it in retail spaces and offices and even hospitals. 

Personally, I am happy with this shift. Why does the hospital have to look like a hospital? Why can’t it look like luxury hotel? I recently went to a newly opened hospital in San Francisco, Sutter Medical to get a test done. I was blown away by how beautiful the lobby was. It had comfortable seating areas, beautiful lighting, plants and video art. My anxiety completely vanished. When I went up to the next level there was another gorgeous waiting area using flattering indirect lighting with the added charm of interesting sculptural pendant fixtures. This pleasant change in the lighting atmosphere was accomplished by using all LED fixtures.

Gone were the fluorescents commonly used in hospitals, which could have problems of humming, buzzing or flickering with a greenish color temperature of 3000° to 4000° Kelvin and a low Color Rendering Index of 80-85 (CRI). This low CRI is not high enough to give  flattering warm tones to an environment. 

Using the LEDs now available with a color temperature equal to that of incandescent 2700° Kelvin and a CRI of 90-95 allows a more overall pleasant warm glow to a medical facility or other gathering place. 

This inviting color change in the lighting at my brand new favorite hospital made everybody look good and feel welcome. It was a resimercial revelation.

See other examples of this warming trend here:

Burrito Bar Resimercial Design
This Mexican restaurant, called the Burrito Bar, on Staten Island uses warm colored LED string lights with a high CRI to create a gentle fill light. The soft over all glow is flattering to people because it softens the shadowing on their faces.



Antique Garage Restaurant with Resimercial Desgn
Here, a restaurant, called the Antique Garage, uses a collection of vintage chandeliers to invite patrons into the space and to help give a more human scale to the dining area. LED flame tip bulbs with a color temperature of 2400K (the color of dimmed incandescent) and a CRI of 90 warm up the illumination.


Randall Whitehead headshot

Randall Whitehead is an educator and author on the subject of lighting design. His work has been featured in many magazines, including Architectural Digest, Home & Garden and Esquire. He has appeared as a guest expert on HGTV, Discovery, CNN and Martha Stewart Living Radio.

His Latest book Beautiful Light outlines how to create successful and subtly beautiful LED lighting designs for homes and gardens. It is due out August 2021.

You can see his entertaining 1-minute instructional videos at And you can follow him on Instagram:  @randall.whitehead


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