How Lighting Can Increase Your Home Value

Lighting can increase home value

One of the most overlooked and most misunderstood areas of the home is lighting. There is a universal lack of understanding of how lighting complements a home or a room.  

Prior to a kitchen remodel, I spent two full months researching under cabinet lighting.  Not only because I wanted to make the right selection but also because there were so many options with different wiring needs that I did not want to make the wrong choice that could not be reversed once the kitchen was completed.

The two-month education process provided me with some knowledge about lighting that helped me tremendously during this remodel and for future lighting decisions. The unfortunate thing though is now I walk into other homes and I am internally critiquing the lighting. What most people have going on in their homes is the fashion equivalent of intentionally matching a black shoe with a red shoe.

Why Lighting is Important?

Lighting changes everything. In many instances it can feature something amazing in your home or also highlight something that you do not want someone to see. Here are two examples of what I mean:

  • You just paid for an amazing granite surfaces but your kitchen is too dark or the type of lighting you are using does not accentuate the veins in the stone.
  • You have accent lighting in your family room and it is shining on a wall pointing out where someone finished a horrible spackling job.

Keep this in mind if you are selling your home because the lighting is going to be part of your marketing team. You want to feature the things that you would like buyers to notice. That being said, it is not just the lighting.

This excellent article by Bill Gassett about repairs that give home sellers a high return on investment is also a must read. It will provide tips from painting to flooring and much more.

What is Color Temperature and What Does it Mean?

Most people have never heard of this before. The Kelvin color temperature scale is something you absolutely must be familiar with when choosing lighting. Have you been to the home improvement store to pick out light bulbs? Do you just shop for type (ie LED) and then price? Do you notice the temperature referenced on the package?

Below is an excellent snapshot of what the kelvin color temperature scale is all about and how it impacts the type of light you are purchasing. To the far left you will see the warmer colors.

The most common warm temp bulb you will find is 2700. It casts that yellow glow into a room. It is good for the family room and also any room that has a lot of natural wood finish.

To the far right you get up into the 4500 range and something like that is good for your garage or utility room. Any room where bright is more important than feel or coziness. I suggest reading this article on the Kelvin Color Temperature Scale.

Courtesy Westinghouse Lighting

We added 6 (3 pairs of 2) recessed lights in our kitchen ceiling. The contractor initially installed 4500 temp LED lights. I started to call my wife “The Warden” because the kitchen gave the feeling similar to that of a prison cell. I went to the home improvement store and purchased (2) 2700, (2) 3000 and (2) 3500 recessed lights and installed them all side by side. They pop into the existing recessed lighting cans.

If you can screw in a light bulb then you can do this. We were now able to compare the light for these three temps to see how the kitchen looked in each area of the room. We quickly realized that our white kitchen with lighter granite needed something just a little warmer to complement it so we selected the 3000 temp lights and returned the others.

Pairing Different Temperature Lights in The Same Room

If you select a certain temp light in a room, you do not have to be consistent with that temp throughout. However, the temp variations cannot be too significant. An example can be your bedroom. You may have 3000 temp recessed lighting in the ceiling, but your lamps may be 2700 adding a slightly warmer glow down onto your night/end tables.

What you do not want is to have 4000 and 2700 together for example. The contrast between the two will make the room look like a circus.

In the example of my under cabinet lights again. I chose lights that have the ability to switch between three temps and also had a dim and bright feature. This left me with varying options based upon what I had in the ceiling and also the mood I wanted on a particular evening. 

I will get into greater detail about under cabinet lights in an upcoming article.

Don’t Forget About the Range Hood

This will come with a standard bulb and most likely will not match what is happening in your kitchen. This light is also less than 3 feet from your cooking surface. The replacement bulbs are standard LED and are available in your home improvement store. I recommend buying a couple of alternative temps and see how it looks over the surface but also in conjunction with the other lights in the kitchen. The range hood light in the photo down below was replaced going from 4500 to 3000.

Interior Accent Lighting

This is another forgotten or often over looked area that can really add a nice look and feel to your home and quite possibly some value as well. Accent lighting on a wall highlighting a fireplace, book cases, art, etc. Even lighting in stairways instead of the usual single light bulb in the ceiling. In that example, you will most likely be going with a 2700 temperature.

The photo below shows a kitchen without the main recessed lights on for a mood set for evening. There is a cracked glass pendant over the sink casting some great images over the cabinets. The range hood as mentioned above has a temp of 3000 and the under cabinet lights in that photo have a setting of 3500 because we wanted the granite colors to pop.

The two also play nicely together. If you saw the original bulb in the range hood you would look away in horror. We suggest reading this article on kitchen accent lighting.

Exterior Lighting

Did you spend a lot of money on landscaping? Why not feature it for 24 hours? Are you concerned about security? Strategically positioned lights not only accent your home on the outside but they are also a deterrent to those who may be looking to break into the home.  There are many options here including solar. I have found that the hard wired lights are more effective and last longer. The cost to install the wired versions are higher even if you do it yourself but the end result is worth it.

There is a home just off of an exit from a nearby highway where I live. The exit dumps you off right at a traffic light and this home is across the street. During the day the home is “okay” but at night you are just drawn to it. You cannot take your eyes off of it because they did such a great job with the lighting.

Will Your Home Value Increase?

Consider the things I referenced above and how important first impressions are. Think about how homes have a certain “feel” that connect with potential buyers of a home. You often hear negative comments about paint colors, or a carpet and other personal touches that impact a buyer’s decision. If they are smart, they will not judge the home based upon things like that which can be easily changed.

With lighting though it is different. It creates an atmosphere that connects with people. They often cannot put their finger on it.  People will come away with the “I love it” vibe or they will walk out of a room feeling uncomfortable. Therefore, lighting really does add value. How much additional value? It is not easy to say but I will absolutely guarantee that if you do a great job with lighting not only will you enjoy your home more but you will find that it will be easier to sell.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas or at least some information that will help you the next time you have to purchase a simple light bulb or if you are planning a bigger project at home. I look forward to your comments and feedback below.

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