Lease Friendly Kitchen Lighting: Tips for Tenants

Being a tenant can sometimes be tricky because you’re technically still on someone else’s property. And while there are several renter protection laws, tenants are expected to live by the landlord’s rule to some extent, especially when it comes to redecorating.

While tenants may not be able to jump on every kitchen trend, there are lease-friendly ways to light up the kitchen without incurring a landlord’s woes.

Lease-friendly Kitchen Lighting Options

Battery-Operated Under-Cabinet LED Lights

A kitchen with peel-and-stick puck lights under the cabinets

Keep your landlord happy and your kitchen lit with under-cabinet LED lights. These battery-operated options in other parts of your house can be added on like work desks, as they’re more functional in the kitchen for seeing in drawers the overhead light might not be able to at night.

Peel-and-stick puck lights are a great way to add a modern twist to the kitchen space without exceeding the budget. Tenants can even get them at Target for less than $10.

However, wanting to keep it a bit more stylish, it’s suggested to go for the classic rectangular lights. Many of these come in different colors and often have motion sensors so renters don’t have to feel around the walls for a switch while getting a midnight snack.

Plug-In Pendant Lights

 kitchen island lit by plug-in pendant lights

Enhance an entire room by opting for plug-in pendant lights. Tenants can make small changes in their rental without losing their security deposit, and plug-in fixtures are one of the easiest ways to add light.

These overheard options are ideal for illuminating kitchen islands, including using them over couches and bedside tables, making them an excellent choice for general ambiance or specific task lights.

Some variations even come with a fitted shade that tenants can use to increase or dim the lights, adding functionality to these plug-in pendants while personalizing the space.

But if tenants want to make the space personal, they can take it further by going for DIYs. They can find tons of inspiration on TikTok and YouTube for tenant-friendly pendant lights made with cloth and raffia.

Smart Bulbs with Adjustable Colors

A kitchen with colorful smart bulbs-Lease Friendly Kitchen Lighting

Spice up nights with light bulbs that change colors. LED bulbs are a popular energy-efficient option, but smart ones allow users to turn off the lights without interrupting what they’re doing.

As a result, this option allows renters to save money as it brings convenience in the long run. While many smart bulbs come in all-white options, their multi-colored variables allow tenants to have the chance to warm up the room with brighter tones or mellow down with their cooler variants.

Many smart bulbs also come with an app that makes control easy and allows switching from vibrant party lights to calmer colors perfect for dinner night.

Benefits of Natural Light on Mood and Energy Efficiency

A bright kitchen with natural light streaming through the windows

  • Boosted Mood

Get more feel-good hormones for tenants when leveraging natural lighting. Smart bulbs and plug-in lights have their place, but they can never replace sunlight, which has several benefits, one of the most common being that it lifts your spirits and improves mood throughout the day.

Exposure to natural light also helps regulate the body’s internal clock leading to better sleep and improving overall well-being.

  • Improved Energy Efficiency

Save more money on utilities by leveraging valuable daylight to brighten your home. Besides making you feel better, natural light reduces the need to turn on bulbs and other artificial sources of illumination that consume power.

Short of breaking your walls to add new windows, one of the most effective ways to enhance natural light is by repainting walls with a brighter color. But Bay Property Management Group Washington DC suggests informing the landlord right away to avoid lease disagreements.

Guidance on Communicating with Landlords to Get Permission

  • Understand Your Lease Terms

Get a good understanding of the lease terms before meeting a property owner. A quick scan of the rental agreement could have all the answers before going ahead with an update.

For instance, some landlords explicitly state that tenants can’t make any modifications to the rentals, while others specify that certain changes are acceptable as long as they can be reverted to the apartment’s original state.

Ensure to contact your landlord for clarification when interpreting these terms to obtain a thorough understanding of the property’s limitations.

  • Adhere to Your Rental Guidelines

Stick to the lease terms when making renovation decisions. Yes, it sucks when we can’t personalize our space the way we want, but remember the signed agreement that tenants are legally bound to follow it.

Tenants can always reach out and communicate their concerns about these small proposed changes with their landlords. Remember that maintaining open communication while adhering to rental guidelines is essential during the lease period.

  • Ask for Permission

While many rental agreements are straightforward to comprehend, there’s still room for misinterpretation, and when the security deposit is on the line, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Even when lease terms explicitly allow the installation of bulbs or change other features, make sure to give landlords the heads-up before starting.

  • Request a Pre and Post-Update Inspection

Ensure everyone is on the same page by requesting a pre and post-update inspection. This request allows landlords to see the house before and after making any changes, so tenants can avoid the blame for unrelated damages.

If landlords are too busy for a visit, tenants can document properly by taking time and date-stamped photos of the area as evidence against future claims.


Lighting is an essential aspect of the kitchen, and every tenant should know how to brighten up theirs without causing any issues with their landlord. Some budget-friendly and aesthetic solutions include under-cabinet LED lights, plug-in pendant lights, and smart bulbs. These options can improve kitchen lighting without risking the security deposit.

Of course, the aim shouldn’t be to replace natural light, as it has its part in improving mood and boosting energy efficiency. Thus, before planning to buy new bulbs or replace the curtains, be sure to get permission from the landlord. Understanding the lease, following the terms, and documenting the before and after, are guidelines to protect tenants during the process.


Terrill Welch
Terrill Welch
Meet Terrill Welch, your home transformation expert, offering sage advice on creating blissful backyards, serene bedrooms, and securing your sanctuary with expertise in home improvement and security.

Similar Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Post