In this paper, a gesture-based control system for smart lighting management is introduced. The system consists of multiple depth camera sensors that track the users’ positions, movements and gestures in real-time and forward the data to the main computer where the lighting control commands are generated. The implementation was built into the ‘ResponseRoom’ R&D environment, where two different lighting controls in a real-time installation were validated with the ability to dim and control colour by hand gestures. In order to study end user preference and to discover needs and guidelines for future development of the system, a user survey on gesture-based lighting control in a meeting room application was carried out. In the survey, no predetermined gesture vocabulary or real lighting control implementation were used. Instead, the respondents could freely develop their own gesture commands. Altogether 197 gained responses are analysed. The results reveal that generally intuitive control gestures are difficult to generate as there is a rather strong variability in personal preferences. The most popular gestures in the user survey were used by 25–30% of the respondents, 19% of all user responses in the test were multimodal combinations of different gestures, verbal expressions and sounds.