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Rental-Friendly Apartment Lighting Ideas: 36 Ways To Brighten Your Space

At some point or another, we have all had to deal with the standard lighting that comes installed in most rental apartments and homes. It’s often fluorescent, sometimes boob-shaped, typically dated, and not exactly ideal. Most renters put their heads down and ignore it, but we say it’s time for a solution! Get ready to discover our best rental-friendly apartment lighting ideas!

Luckily, an unattractive light is nothing that a little clever hack can’t fix! And it’s easier than you think to go from something basic to totally beautiful. Plus, it’s worth taking the time to swap out unsightly fixtures for something you love, as it can change the look and feel of a room, save space, and greatly improve functionality.


Ready to lighten things up? We’ve pulled together 36 options for overhead lighting, flush mounts, pendants, chandeliers, and wall sconces, and our best rental-friendly apartment lighting ideas!



Looking for more lighting inspiration? Check out The Complete Guide To Hanging Lighting: Bobby’s Tips To Do It The Right Way and The Number #1 Thing Bobby Recommends You Do In Your Home (And You Can Do It Yourself)

Photo: Charlotte Lea
Design: Veneer Designs

RENTAL-friendly apartment LIGHTING ideas


Swapping in a new pendant or chandelier can make a big difference in your space, and add much-needed visual interest. Not only does it draw the eye up which visually increases the height of your ceilings (a designer trick) but it also adds a decorative feature to your room. Chandeliers work best in dining rooms and living rooms, while pendants can go in just about any space with enough ceiling height.



Measure the diameter of the canopy (the piece that mounts to the ceiling) on your existing light fixture and make sure the lighting you replace it with is the same size. That way you’ll be sure the new lighting covers the junction box.

Ready to swap out your lighting?
Let Bobby show you how with this step-by-step video! 


RENTAL-friendly apartment LIGHTING ideas


Most rentals come with some version of a flush mount (a ceiling light that sits flush, or even, with the ceiling), and it’s the easiest way to update the lighting in your space. There’s also a great variety of good-looking flush mounts and semi-flush mounts available, so you’re sure to find one that fits your style.



A flush mount is a good option for areas with low ceiling heights, or in an entryway, kitchen, or bathroom.

RENTAL-friendly apartment LIGHTING ideas


Replacing existing wall lighting with a more stylish sconce is a simple upgrade that will brighten your space. They’re also a great solution for adding light where you need it, whether it’s above your nightstand, by a chair for reading, or in the bathroom, and are ideal for when space is tight and you don’t have room for a table with a lamp.



Don’t have a junction box for a hardwired sconce? No problem! There are lots of great plug-in sconce options that can work just as well.

Lighting upgrades are one of the best ways to make your rental feel more like home. If you have a question about how to make it happen in your space, let us know in the comments below.



  1. how can you light up a living room with no overhead lights and one outlet on 3/4 of the walls?

    1. I would suggest bringing in a mix of table and floor lamps to light the room. You can always add an extension cord or power strip to allow you to place lighting in areas where you don’t have easy access to an outlet. xx -B