This study aimed to investigate user reactions to lighting controls and to develop guidance on achieving people-friendly user interfaces. An experimental study was conducted in the Building Research Establishment (BRE) lighting laboratory. A total of 24 participants were brought in and asked to control the lighting in a room in various ways. Their success and any causes of confusion or failure were noted; a questionnaire was completed for each participant. In general, participants preferred simple and familiar control types, although they did appreciate being able to change the lighting colour. Controls needed to respond quickly and give visual feedback to the user. Users preferred slide dimmers which allowed them to set their preferred level. Pre-set levels or scenes' were less popular. Lighting controls needed to be recognisable to avoid unnecessary detail and duplication.