My apartments (in the San Francisco Bay Area, California) are so depressingly dark because I have no ceiling-mounted light fixtures. I just have standing lamps (with 5 ultra-bright bulbs). Where I come from (United Kingdom, and ethnic origin of India) ceiling lighting fixtures are always installed.

I guess installing ceiling lighting (fluorescent tube light would be fantastic) is too expensive. What is the next best substitute? Or if ceiling lighting installation in rented apartments is possible, who do I speak to to try getting them installed?

  • The question seems too broad. There are so many apartments in the world that there is no objective answer.
    – user23752
    Nov 9, 2014 at 3:02
  • 3
    There's always the solution of swag lamps (lightweight lamps that hang from the ceiling, similar to installing a hanging plant pot, but with a power cord routed back across ceiling and down wall to an outlet). Whether they'd be bright enough for you depends on the fixture and what bulbs you put in it -- I've got a ceiling fixture I refitted with a swag chain which carries enough LED bulbs to make it equivalent to three 100W bulbs at full brightness; I normally run it dimmer than that.
    – keshlam
    Nov 9, 2014 at 3:38
  • No matter what you do, always talk to your landlord first. Lights with surface mount tracks, conduits seem ideal.
    – r13
    Jul 28, 2021 at 22:30

2 Answers 2


If fluorescent tube lighting is what you ideally want you can install LED fluorescent replacement fixtures that plug in to the wall. Each one is a strip that plugs in to to the next one via a wire on the surface, and the last one plugs into the wall.

enter image description here

No electrical installation but you will have to put a few screws into the apartment ceiling. Most landlords don't mind a few nails and screws to hang things up. And in the ceiling which is probably painted white, they are very easy to undo: You just remove them, fill with filler and usually don't even have to paint.

Another option is glue-on strips. These are cheap and you can fill the room with as many as you want. They also plug into the wall. See second picture.

enter image description here

A third option is a ceiling fixture that hangs from a hook and plugs into a wall. For maximum lighting, remove the shade and replace the bulb with the brightest LEDs you can find. In this picture, imagine the three Edison bulbs replaced with 30 Watt LED bulbs ... the room would be crazy bright.

enter image description here

  • Thanks for the range of suggestions. Even though I moved somewhere else recently :) Jul 28, 2021 at 23:40

Using surface mounting equipment such as wiremold would work to hold the plug in wire to the walls and ceiling. You would need to get approval from your landlord prior to doing this, which they shouldn’t oppose if you patch correctly upon vacating. As an active landlord we always want to hear from our tenants regarding what is a potential enhancement. They may be up for spending the extra to add some working circuits or ceiling fans/lights to keep you as a longer tenant or to resign your lease with an increased rate to cover the expenses. Landlording is a business and keeping the customer (relatively) happy and paying rent each month is what they care about. Call your landlord to discuss options to see where that gets you.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.