5 Lighting Mistakes That Might Be Hurting Your Home Sale

published Oct 20, 2021
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You know the feeling of walking into a store or office, and the harsh fluorescent lights in it almost make you squint? The type of lighting in a room makes a huge impact on how you experience it, which is why it’s wise to give thought to the way your home is lit before putting it on the market. 

Under-cabinet lights, in-ceiling cove lighting, as well as key lighting around entryways and transition spaces can add an overall feeling of modern luxury and sophistication, explains Lyon Porter, a real estate broker, designer, and owner of the Urban Cowboy hotel in Nashville.

Ready to wow potential buyers with attractive, elegant, and warm lighting in your space? Just make sure to avoid these five common lighting mistakes. 

Too Little Lighting Makes for a Tough Sale

Make sure potential buyers are impressed from the moment they step in your home with the help of targeted lighting. “Too little lighting will make your property feel bleak and uninviting,” says Rodrigo Gonzalez, a Texas-based real estate investor. “Light sources like lamps on tables, wall sconces near doors, and chandeliers in hallway spaces are sure to turn some heads.” 

Still, beware their shadowing effects. “The best thing you can do with regards to lighting is position it such that you’re not casting harsh shadows, which creates the sense that there’s little activity happening,” Gonzalez says. 

The more ambient lighting, the better. “Use corners and plug in sconces on walls to backlight and cast different levels of light throughout the property,” recommends Porter. “Amber lighting is always the best, and dimmers are a must.”

Try Not to Place Under-Cabinet Lights Too Low or Too High

Have a stunning kitchen to show off, or maybe you need to brighten up a cozy and minimalist culinary space? Under-cabinet lighting is the way to go, according to the experts.

“Don’t place under-cabinet lights too low or up too high; think about what people might walk into and how it should be lit so as to avoid literal shadows on one’s own flooring,” Gonzalez says. “Though these items are rather expensive for some, they will increase the worth of your property when it comes time to sell.“

Credit: Minette Hand

Don’t Forget a Statement Piece

Every room could do with at least one statement piece, and a chandelier or statement light fixture can change an entire room. “We just added a six-foot-long upside down custom glass chandelier in a SoHo loft that brought the living area down and defined the space as cozy and comfortable, even in a wide open massive loft space,” Porter says. “Light fixtures are somewhat of an obsession of mine, and they can be sculptural art installations anchoring an entire room.”

Even if you’re not selling a posh SoHo loft, creating a focal point to ground a large, open space can be worth the effort.

Remember That Outdoor Lights Matter, Too

Outdoor lighting greets the buyer and potential homeowner, especially during evening or sunset showings. “I’m a big fan of downlighting outside to keep light pollution to a minimum,” says Porter. “I’m also a huge fan of gas lamps, and flickering lighting in general, which adds a sense of natural candlelight.”

Gonzalez recommends pathway lights to be installed around walkways or driveways to improve visibility and safety after dark. “String lights in the backyard are perfect for backyards that have trees or features like a hot tub,” he says. “They create gorgeous starry night effects. Another great option is porch lights, which help guide people over the threshold of your doorway.”

Steer Clear of Certain Fixtures

When getting ready to make new purchases, it’s hard to know which lighting to choose and avoid with so many options on the market. “Depending on the type of home, one type of light fixture to avoid is one with colored bulbs that match the room. This creates a reading library feel and we have found most of the buyers don’t really like them,” says Gonzalez.

Another tip is to stay away from track lighting. “These highlight the areas under them, leaving dark shadows on otherwise bright walls, making it seem oddly out of place,” Gonzalez says. “Also, globes should be avoided because they are bulky and detract from the overall design of a space.”