Just flipping a light switch on your listings may not be showing the home in its best light, per se. Lighting matters greatly in the appearance of a home. Too dark? The space can look dingy and dreary. Too bright? The space can send a harsh, uninviting glare.
Proper lighting can go far in making a home feel warm and welcoming and even sometimes make a space feel larger. The 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, this week in Las Vegas, buzzed about the coming of the “smart home,” but it’s the light bulb – or the “smart” bulb, we should say – that could be one of the most exciting in the smart-home front for real estate and staging professionals.
These bulbs allow you to set a certain mood with the lights, creating lighting presentations, and even possibly adding extra security and some music too.
At CES, Misfit, a company co-founded by former Apple CEO John Sculley, showed off its new Bolt Wirelessly Connected Smart Bulb. With swipes of an app on your iOS or Android-powered smartphone, you instantly can change a home’s lighting, having at your fingertips the potential to create millions of color combinations to make sure the lighting is just right. You can personalize with lightscapes, such as a lighting scenario for a room that mimics sunset at dusk. At $50, the bulb is much pricier than your typical light bulb but it’s an LED bulb with a life of 23 hours and it does mark a much lower price that is coming to the smart bulb arena. It requires no extra wiring to use. You literally just screw it into a lamp or ceiling and connect it to a smartphone to start playing with your lights.
Smart bulbs also may mean you never have to worry about flipping a switch again. You’ll no longer have to worry about arriving at a listing early to make sure all the lights are turned on. Stack Lighting’s Alba LED lights, $60, is a flood light that can be set to come on automatically as you step into the room. The lights also can be set to dim automatically to provide the ideal levels of brightness throughout the day – also helping to save on energy costs compared to standard LED lights. You can also control the lights from your phone, adjusting the color from a warm orange to a cooler blue tone, depending on the setting you want to create.
If you’re going to set the right mood with your lights, you may want to add some soft music to the background too. Your light bulb may be able to one day do that too. Sony showed off a prototype at CES of its “Symphonic Light Speaker,” which is a WiFi-connected light bulb with a built-in speaker. You can stream audio from your smartphone and tablet to several of the speaker-equipped light fixtures. No speaker elements are shown, and you may never guess that the light in the home is the one supplying the music.
The smart light bulb may also offer extra security to your listing. Sengled Snap Bulb, a CES 2015 Innovation award winner, are LED light bulbs that contain speakers, microphone, and a motion sensor, allowing you to stream video to your smartphone. You can see who is standing on the front porch. No extra wiring is needed, and you could easily take it from listing to listing if looking for an extra security feature. Sengled’s Snap Bulb, $199, will be available in the spring of 2015.
4 Ways to Enhance the Lighting in Your Listing
Smart bulbs are still in their infancy and manufacturers are continuing to develop new models. Until then, what can you do you to improve the lighting in your listing with the bulbs you already have? Here are some stagers’ tips:
- Add mirrors. You can use mirrors to bounce light, help making a home look brighter as well as possibly even making the walls look taller.
- Watch the wattage of your bulbs. Always use the highest possible wattage in a room (except the bathroom where a 30-watt bulb may help create more welcoming, softer light settings).
- Don’t just rely on overhead lights. Soften the look with wall sconces and decorative lamps too. Also, remove draperies to allow natural light to flow in.
- Use clear light bulbs. Clear light bulbs can offer a cleaner look over opaque ones, stagers say. Avoid mismatching your bulb types, wattages, and color temperatures so the room is properly illuminated.