Lights can make your home look inviting, or cold, dark and dated. Spending a little on the lighting before putting your home on the market could be a great investment.
Whether you have old-style bayonet batten holder lighting fittings with plastic hats, 1980s/90s open down-lighters or the more recent halogen lights, there are things you can do cheaply to brighten your home and make it more stylish, says Dave Barlow, chief operating officer at Lighting Plus. It isn't going to cost thousands of dollars.
Sometimes you may need only to buy new bulbs. Or you can get away with buying modern lamps that can be taken with you to your new property. They can be a cost-efficient option to jazz up the home.
Many properties still have 1980s/90s open recessed lights, which can be a real turn-off for buyers. They're designed for use with compact fluorescent screw-in bulbs (CFLs), which look very dated. The bulbs tend to last about four to six years and as they age may only be putting out 50 per cent of their original light, says Barlow.
Replacing the old CFLs with R80 LED bulbs can significantly improve the aesthetics, as well as improving lighting in the room, he adds. The new LED bulbs fill in the cavity and have a glass front, which gives a cleaner look.
At an open home, this solution will significantly improve the look and feel of the room. An added bonus is that R80 LEDs are very energy efficient.
Another cheap DIY option for giving rooms a lighting makeover is a wide range of modern products designed to attach to batten holder light fittings, says Barlow. The new fittings plug straight into the old batten holder and cover the old plastic, giving a very up-to-the-minute look.
The range of fittings that can be used this way is quite wide. There are also vintage-style wood, metal, and glass as well as plenty of bling, chandelier-style fittings and spotlight-style fittings that plug straight into the batten holder.
"This adds a decor element to the room and takes away that tired look of the batten and hatch fitting," says Barlow.
Or there are stylish DIY suspension cord sets that allow you to hang lights lower, without using an electrician.
Although the halogen lighting popular in the 2000s isn't energy efficient, it is often still reasonably stylish and may not need upgrading. It can, however, be a good idea to upgrade the bulbs to warm white, for example, if that suits the room.
Barlow says it's also possible to change the look of a room relatively easily with lamps.
Something stylish such as black and copper lamps can start from around $40 for a pair.
Or a larger floor lamp can be picked up for less than $100.
Not everyone has an eye for design and you don't want to clutter your room. If design isn't your thing and you don't want to pay for advice, staff in dedicated lighting shops such as Lighting Plus and Lighting Direct, or other specialist stores, should be able to help.
Take some pictures of the room in with you. It's quite common to find online decision-making tools on lighting company websites.
Or if you know what you want you can also check out the likes of Mitre 10, Bunnings Warehouse, The Warehouse, and Kmart, which all sell nice looking light fittings and lamps.