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. In order to avoid awkwardly dark areas or overly bright, glaring areas, it should be well-balanced. The goal of ambient lighting is to produce a natural 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 lights, ceiling-mounted, recessed lights are generally most effective in rental units. They produce a 360-degree radius of light, which can easily illuminate any shape of room without other types of light fixtures. This type of fixture is visually appealing and very unlikely to be damaged as well. While recessed lights are effective for any room, they are made even more effective by opting for a lighter paint color or opting for dimmers. Dimmers require little or no additional cost to install and allows tenants to adjust the “mood” of the room easily. Just make sure you use a qualified electrician and dimmer switches that are easy for the tenants to use.


Task Lighting

Task light refers to light sources that purposefully illuminate a space. For example: nightstand lamps, bathroom vanity lights, nightlights, or under-the-cabinet lights in the kitchen. Of these types of light fixtures, under-the-cabinet kitchen lights and bathroom vanity lights are the most important for rental properties. Most tenants really appreciate having available task lighting. 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 light, 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.

Most rental properties do not need accent lights, with the exception of furnished luxury units. It can be easy to waste time and money installing accent lights in a property that can become outdated in a short span of time.

However, in many luxury rental properties, such as those found in 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. Additionally, choose lights that are 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 option you choose, always keep in mind the needs and comfort of the tenant and it will become a lucrative investment in your property.

Diana Simon is a psychologist, author, and mother of two living in Burbank, CA – that place that’s always on fire. She enjoys reading and writing about real estate investments and improvements, painting portraits, and dressing in cosplay. Yes, you read that correctly.