How to Get the Best Lighting for Your Rentals

How to Get the Best Lighting for Your Rentals

Here is a useful guide to understanding the best, most economical way to use lighting for your rentals from Keepe, the maintenance company.

First let’s look at the different types of light bulbs out there:

  • Incandescent ~ The most commonly used bulb because it is also the least expensive. Tends to have a warm hue. Can last up to 1,000 hours, but is not always the most energy efficient.
  • Halogen ~ Similar to incandescent, these bulbs give off a cooler color, trying to imitate natural light. They are a little more energy-efficient, but also more expensive. You must remember not to use bare hands when changing a halogen bulb because the smallest residue of oil from a human hand can rub off on the bulb and create an atmosphere where the bulb warms too quickly when the lamp is turned on. This can cause the bulb to explode, so be careful!
  • Fluorescent ~ A flat cold light, typically used to light up large areas like classrooms, offices, basements or attics.
  • Compact Fluorescent ~ These consume a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last ten times as long. Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (or CFLs) tend to have warmer tones.
  • LED ~ This stands for “Light-Emitting Diode,” and although it is the most energy-efficient and longest-lasting bulb on the market, LEDs only give off directional light and don’t light an entire room. To fix this issue, there are some LEDs that come in clustered groups, but these tend to be the most expensive model available.

How to Get the Best Lighting for Your Rentals

Before getting into the nitty gritty of lighting for your rentals, you should understand some common terms used

  • Ambient Light ~ general light
  • Task Lights ~ useful lights (example, food prep)
  • Accent Lights ~ used to highlight artwork or other details in your home
  • Kelvin ~ determines the color of a bulb; a higher number means a cooler color, a lower number means a warmer color
  • Lumens ~ measures brightness
  • Wattage ~ measures energy consumption

Lighting For Your Rentals Guide by Room

 Living room (1,500 – 3,000 total lumens)

Living rooms will take all three levels of lighting mentioned earlier. For ambient lighting, the best option is to have a central ceiling light combined with corner ceiling lights for maximum illumination. Task lighting can be accomplished by using lamps with LED bulbs near seating areas that are used for reading and other close work. Accent lighting can be spotlights used to highlight any artwork or special decorations in the room. Dimmers can also be added to the room for versatility.

How to Get the Best Lighting for Your Rentals
The best option for living rooms is to have a central ceiling light combined with corner ceiling lights for maximum illumination.

Kitchen (5,000 – 10,000 total lumens)

Kitchens are always a challenge when it comes to lighting because they need ambient and multiple task lights at the same time. A dimly lit kitchen can feel small and gloomy,  while a brightly lit one feels open and welcoming. Try to allow sunlight to enter the room if you can. Think about replacing the curtains with sheers, or maybe remove them altogether. Pendant lights can be used as a source of lighting and a beautiful focal point for the room, especially if there is an island. Lights above, below and even inside the cupboards can help with task lighting and food-prep visibility. Additionally, placing the sink underneath a window is always a good strategy to use natural light to your advantage.

Bathroom (4,000 – 8,000 total lumens)

Task lighting is crucial for any bathroom and can be accomplished by using vanity lighting around the mirror, illuminating faces for grooming. The best way to do this is to add lights on either side of the mirror. A common mistake is to put lights on the ceiling above the mirror; this will cause unwanted shadows on the face. In addition to the vanity lighting, a central fixed ceiling light can be used as a substitute for natural light. When it comes to choosing bulbs, a crisp white is best for making the room seem more open and natural. Try to add a light above the tub or shower in the room because these areas tend to be very dim. If possible, install dimmers to allow for eye adjustment when using the bathroom in the middle of the night or early morning.

the best option is to have a central ceiling light combined with corner ceiling lights for maximum illumination
Using vanity lighting around the mirror in one way to make bathrooms look great.

Bedroom (2,000 – 4,000 total lumens)

For ambient light, choose a central light fixture for the middle of the ceiling. Central lighting can also help as a substitute for natural light. Small table lamps placed on nightstands near the bed can be used for task lighting or for a dim light for relaxation. Closet lighting is also essential to be able to see all your belongings and help with organization.

 Dining room (3,000 – 6,000 total lumens)

Lights above the dining room chairs can cast unwanted shadows on people’s faces. Instead, opt for lights that showcase the table. A chandelier is frequently used in this case, and creates a great focal point for the room. Wall sconces can also be used in the dining room to provide visibility and add an aesthetic element. Typically, warm lighting is recommended to provide a cozy and relaxed feeling.

Hallways & Stairs (1,200 – 4,000 total lumens)

Typically, these areas only require ambient lighting, with the exception of the occasional artwork or any other special architecture. These areas can be illuminated with a simple ceiling fixture or wall sconce. For accent lighting, use bulbs with narrow beams or directional shades.

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About Keepe:

Keepe is an on-demand maintenance solution for property managers and independent landlords. We make hundreds of independent contractors and handymen available for maintenance projects at rental properties. Keepe is available in the Greater Seattle area, Greater Phoenix area, San Francisco Bay area, and Portland area, and we are continuing to expand. Learn more at