Lighting for Landlords

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Lighting for Landlords

Is your building full of dim lighting? It could be hurting your bottom line.

Having well-lit apartments leads to happier, better-paying tenants, and adding just a few low-cost lights can make a big difference in your bottom line. But how to do this? The sheer amount of lighting options and seasonal trends available can be overwhelming.

In most cases, choosing trendy, over-the-top statement pieces, or poorly planned layouts can lead to wasting hundreds of dollars on items that can easily become damaged, faulty, or simply impractical for tenants. This post will overview the most cost-effective, practical, and attractive lighting options for rentals.


Ambient or “General” Lighting

Ambient lighting is the most basic and fundamental aspect of indoor lighting, and it should be well-balanced to avoid awkwardly dark areas or overly bright, glaring areas. The ultimate goal of ambient lighting is to produce a natural and comfortable glow that allows your tenants to enjoy a well-lit space whether or not it is dark outside.

While many different types of light fixtures can create ambient lighting, ceiling-mounted, recessed lights are generally most effective in rental units as they produce a 360-degree radius of light, which easily illuminates any shape of room without other types of light fixtures. This type of fixture is also very unlikely to be damaged and is visually appealing. While recessed lights are effective for any room, they are made even more effective by opting for a lighter paint color (white, cream, light gray), and by opting for using dimmers. Dimmers require little or no additional cost to install and can afford tenants the ability to adjust the “mood” of the room easily, and adjust the lighting easily between day and night. Just make sure you always use a qualified electrician and simple dimmer switches that are easy for the tenants to understand and use.


Task Lighting

Task lighting refers to light sources that purposefully illuminate a space. For example: nightstand lamps, bathroom vanity lights, nightlights, or under-the-cabinet lighting in the kitchen. Of these types of light fixtures, under-the-cabinet kitchen lighting and bathroom vanity lights are the most important for rental properties. Most tenants really appreciate having available task lighting, and pictures of your property with these lighting options will allow you to keep your property occupied and charge a higher rent.

There are multiple options for under-the-cabinet lighting, such as puck lighting, linkable, plug-in, dimmable, linear and concealed; be sure to consult with your electrician which works best in your space.


Accent Lighting

Also known as “highlighting,” the purpose of accent lighting is to draw attention to a specific area in the home, typically for aesthetic purposes. Accent lighting shines a light – pun intended – on a feature that you intend to highlight in your property.

Unless they are furnished, luxury units, most rental properties do not have a need for accent lighting. It can be easy to waste a lot of energy, time and money on choosing and installing accent lighting and other colorful or elaborate statement fixtures in a property that can become outdated in a short span of time.

However, in many luxury rental properties, such as those found in the Hermosa or Manhattan Beach communities, tenants expect some accent lighting. If you do choose to use accent lighting on your rental property, it would be best to focus on the kitchen or bathrooms, and choose lighting that is sturdy, classically attractive, and that works with the aesthetic of the rest of the unit. When picking pieces, ask “would this break if a child threw a Nerf ball at it?” If the answer is “yes,” pick another fixture!

Whatever lighting options you choose, always keep in mind the needs and comfort of the tenant and it will become a lucrative investment in your property.