Shine a Light on Multifamily with the Latest Lighting Trends
Innovations in light-emitting diode (LED) lighting have changed the way we look at things.
Today’s LED lighting has become a bright, proven solution to the replacement of incandescent lighting that has been phased out over the years. With that, new trends in indoor and outdoor fixtures are emerging, while taking advantage of LED’s efficiencies and durability.
The lighting industry’s most advanced LED products are about 10 times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lighting and last more than 25 times longer, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
LED-lead lighting is making a statement for consumers
The evolution of LED lighting is inspiring consumers to make a statement with interior and exterior lighting, say illumination pros. Lighting is shifting styles at a quicker pace than its incandescent counterparts because of greater availability and better pricing. Some say that just changing fixtures can save more money rather than only swapping bulbs.
Greater movement to LEDs is casting new light on how multifamily property managers can leverage the latest and greatest styles to not only spruce up rental properties but meet the changing tastes of consumers.
“A lot is going on in lighting,” says Clay Brice, a merchant in Home Depot’s lighting division. “It’s basically a revolution in lighting. The biggest driver overall is LED. It’s an absolute huge trend.”
Lower costs are helping. LED lights emerged as an option to compact fluorescents (CFLs), which were the first to replace incandescent bulbs. CFLs got negative reviews from consumers and didn’t stand up to government standards, but LEDs were much pricier. Last year, two of the largest light bulb manufacturers, General Electric and Philips, rolled out less expensive LEDs to help cost-conscious consumers move away from CFLs.
With better illumination and less of a hit on the wallet, LEDs are helping consumers make a statement about their lighting choices, Brice says.
“When you think of inside lighted fixtures, integrated LED is becoming prolific across different categories,” Brice said. “Where there’s a need to replace a lightbulb away, integrated LED is absolutely the right solution. Costs have come down such that it’s parity with other fixtures.”
Trends moving away from traditional light fixtures
In the last couple of years, trends are moving away from traditional light fixtures to modern, industrial, rustic and vintage styles. The five-bulb chandelier is becoming a thing of the past and geometric designs and metal finishes are setting the pace.
Brice says consumers want lighting with a purpose and mood, and aren’t so concerned about matching fixtures throughout the home or apartment but do want coordinated styles. Blending materials like woods, metals, beads and crystals are becoming more common.
“As long as it’s coordinated and it works, that’s the preference from a consumer standpoint,” he said. “We see a lot of mixed materials – woods and metals and different finishes together. That gives a lot more breadth on how people can decorate their homes.”
Contemporary fixtures, which have long been staples of urban dwellings, are also selling well away from city cities centers throughout the country.
Outdoors, LEDs are becoming a smarter choice since they burn longer and require less maintenance. The last thing a maintenance team wants to do is climb two or three stories with any frequency to replace light bulbs.
“Integrated LED solves tremendous consumer and property maintenance problems not having to change lights,” Brice said. “Any area that has motion security, by far the driver there is integrated LED. You’re no longer are you a slave to traditional Par 30 design. You can do all sorts of creative ways to rethink outdoor lighting by using integrated LED.”
Social media driving trends ‘instantaneously’
Social media and the internet are driving demand for lighting styles, Brice said. Consumers have more access to lighting options and ideas than a few years when large home improvement centers and the occasional catalog were practically the only resource for the masses.
With added visibility on sites like Pinterest, lighting styles are quick to take hold.
“Now with social media, our shopper is on trend instantaneously,” Brice said. “Not that trends rapidly change, but they evolve fairly quickly. Therefore it becomes more difficult to stay on those trends as they move. You take contemporary modern, it’s always going to a trend for a big chunk of our population, but what fixtures look like inside that trend will evolve more quickly than they historically have.”
Multifamily has opportunity to create distinctive lighting for residents
LED lighting’s bright future is an opportunity for multifamily operators to save money and create a distinctive feel throughout their portfolios. Residential LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy, and widespread use of LED lighting could save about 348 TWh (compared to non-LED use) of electricity, to the tune of $30 billion in electricity savings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
And it’s only going to get better. In June, the energy.gov announced it is investing more than $10 Million in efficient lighting research and development, which includes funding for help accelerate the development of high-quality LED and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) lighting products.
With lower pricing and greater availability of LED lighting, Brice says multifamily operators managers have an opportunity to transition from the traditional and cost-driven standardization from one property to the next.
“Different form factors have become more popular than standard three-, four- and five-light fixtures,” he said. “Those fixtures are probably the backbone to most multifamily establishments. In the more progressive ones, the lighting packages are to the styles that people are looking for because it helps drive rentals.”
And shine a certain light on the multifamily housing industry.