Are no ceiling lights in small rooms a problem or no big deal?

11 Replies

I'm starting reno on a 5 room unit that was once gaslight. 3 of the smallest rooms, the larger two being 70 sq ft, have no overhead lights. 2 have a wall sconce with a built in switch. My impulse was to wire in ceiling lights and wall switches, but then I remembered that I haven't been in a hotel room with a main overhead light in a long time.  They're all accent & table lamps. So ceiling light is apparently not considered an absolute requirement. Should I let this one go?

Rooms with no ceiling lights are not that uncommon.

My living room in my personal home does not have a ceiling light. We have a large lamp works fine. 

@Johann Jells  

I always pull the bad or undesirable stuff and put it back the way I would like it if I was the person living there. I would pull it and add lights and switches if it were me. If you are doing the reno anyway it shouldn't be any big deal to get it done. Might end up being a selling point vs not doing it. Not doing light and switch may be one small detractor that adds up in  list to a buyer now or in the future.

Just my two cents


No lights very common and ok.

A friend of my just got a colonial and no lights on the top, he had to rewire the electricity.

I think for todays days it is a must to have the convenience of just having a simple switch without having to band down to turn on the light..

I have a house that I've had several different renters in for almost 20 years. Only the kitchen and bathrooms have overhead lights. All the other rooms have to use lamps. I have never had a tenant complain about this.

So, if it is a rental, I don't think it will be a problem leaving it as it is. I don't rewire any of my rentals for overhead lighting.

I would see what it would cost to do it. Is this a two story and the rooms are on the first floor? That might be tricky. Ranch with easy attic access to install the ceiling light? Then I'd be more inclined to do it.

I've got a couple of houses with the same issue. I had turnover in one and had the lights installed.  It just makes showing it much easier.

Kinda tough to do showings at night when the bedrooms don't have lights. Strangely enough this one was not an ancient home either (built in the late 70s) and is worth pretty good money (150's now, was 200's at one time). It surprises me when I come across the nicer homes with no lights in the bedrooms. 

I just can't imagine someone building a new construction house like that and saying "Nah, we don't need a light fixture in the bedrooms". Really?

But, yea, I would based the decision on how easy (i.e. how expensive) adding the lights might be by asking whether the contractor could do it through the attic or if its a 2 story and the lights are needed on rooms in the first floor. If first floor of a 2 story, I wouldn't touch.  If attic, I'd probably say to replace.

Gonna make showing it at night much easier.

We have one where all bedrooms & the living room lacked o/head lighting.

Although it has central air the tenants wanted ceiling fans in the bedrooms so they had there electrician father run feeds to the ceiling.

He did a great job.

I've done several flips without overhead lights in the bedrooms.  They did have a light switch which was wired to an outlet.  I bought cheap floor lamps (about $20) and plugged them into the appropriate outlet so that the light would go on and off with the switch.  This way if the place was getting shown after dark it wasn't a problem in the areas without overhead lights.  I never had a complaint and I saved a lot of time and money over putting in overhead lights!

It all depends on what your plans are for the property. Are you going to hold and rent, or filp? From a rental perspective, I feel that overhead lights would be a convenience and not a necessity. However, if you are going to flip, check similar houses in the area to see what they have. It might not be that significant of an impact, but it would still be a selling point.

All the best!

Thanks all, seems mostly to go the way of "don't worry bout it", though my usual philosophy is that of @Jeff McCaskey and do it the way I'd like it if I lived there. And it's not like there's no lights at all, 2 of the rooms have wall sconces next to the door, and the 3rd has a 5' wide archway to the kitchen. If only the exposed vent and drain pipes in the bath could be so easily resolved, they're actually solid brass, maybe I should polish them out!

@Johann Jells  

I'm currently rehabbing two duplexes that were built in the 80's. There are no overhead lights and the light switches control the wall outlets. I'm having ceiling boxes installed and wiring them to the switches. In my area, no one likes the switches that control wall outlets. It's also a pain when you're working on an empty unit or doing a showing and there's no overhead light to turn on. If you're gonna do it, do it now while they're being rehabbed. In my opinion, it's not that expensive and it makes the units feel more modern. I put up the cheap lights you can get in contractor packs at Lowe's. They're like $10 each.

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