To Sell Your Home, Get The Lighting Right
Melody Hashemi

Melody Hashemi

Aug 1, 2018

DIY | FSBO | Market Value | Marketing | Remodel | Selling | Staging

The way light fills a room can make it feel bigger or smaller, more vibrant or dull, depending which bulbs you use and where you place them. You can use light to highlight an attractive feature or amenity and even add a bit of art to the room. Light gives a home warmth and makes prospective buyers feel welcomed into the space. But you must use the right lights in the right spots to get the feel you’re looking for.

Natural light makes a room feel fresher and look bigger, and buyers these days want lots of it in every room of the house. So before you replace or add any lighting, open all of your blinds and curtains on a sunny day to see what you’re working with. Since most people will come to view your house in the middle of the day, you want to rely on natural sunlight as much as possible.

Outdoor Lighting

The exterior of your home is the first thing prospective buyers will see and it will take them a tenth of a second to make a first impression. So you want your home to look the best it possibly can. Even though most people will tour your home during the day, lights on the exterior of your house can make it look much more inviting.

You can light the edge of the driveway and walkway to the front door with low voltage string lights or solar outdoor lights, and adding contemporary sconces on either side of the front door will give the exterior of your home the updated look buyers want.

Kitchen Lighting

LED lights give that bright look to functional areas of the kitchen (like over the stove and sink), whereas puck lights (small, round, battery-powered lights) are great for lighting cabinets and underneath shelves. If you have a space between the top of the cabinetry and the ceiling, light it with fluorescent lights to make the room feel taller and brighter.

Overhead lighting is the most common in kitchens so you can mix that up by putting a small lamp in the dark triangle at the sink (if there is one) or on a desk or work area in the room. This will add a little warmth and dimension to the traditionally bright overhead lights in the room.

Living Room Lighting

Natural light is just as important in the living room as it is in the kitchen, but as the light is mostly functional where you’re chopping with sharp knives, the light in this space gives you an opportunity to set a mood. You can use indirect, ambient lighting on shelving and on the top of armoires and built-in units so that there aren’t any dark margins where the furniture ends. Extending the light to the ceiling will make the room feel taller and thus bigger in general.

You can also use an up-light behind a plant in the corner so that area of the room doesn’t get lost, and direct accent lighting on a piece of art or attractive feature like a fireplace.

Bathroom Lighting

Bathroom lighting is like kitchen lighting in that it is mostly task driven (you don’t want you or your partner cutting yourselves while shaving), but there is an artful way to go about it. In addition to an overhead light, you want to add wall sconces over a vanity or alongside the mirror. You also want to light the shower’s interior so the entire room is illuminated.

If you add recessed lighting, you want to angle it so that the light it produces bounces off walls and the ceiling. This will give the room a more natural glow and reduce overall glare and the intensity of the shadows the lights cast.

Bedroom Lighting

In the bedrooms you want to add floor lamps in dark corners and table lamps beside the bed.  Wall sconces beside the bed are also a nice touch. As with the living room, you want the lighting in the bedroom to be more about ambiance than overall brightness, so choose bulbs that give off a more yellow light as opposed to a bright white.

Fixtures and Bulbs

A quick and inexpensive update for your home is to replace all your lighting fixtures with contemporary styles. But make sure they match the décor and look of your home. If your home has a modern feel, then go for clean lines and sleek-looking fixtures. If your home is more classic, then look for ornate fixtures. Just make sure they all produce between 200 and 300 watts each.

Environmentally conscious buyers will find LED lighting attractive because it’s sustainable and uses less electricity. That being said, make sure at least one bulb in every room is a halogen bulb. Even though these use more electricity, they give off a natural looking bright light that buyers are looking for.

Updating the lighting in your home can make it look fresher, bigger and all-around more desirable. And the more desirable your home is, the more offers you’ll get. Just make sure to use the appropriate lighting for the room (which doesn’t leave any weird shadows that could distort the perceived shape of the space).