8 rental-friendly lighting ideas you need to try ASAP

It's lit

Rattan table lamp and oat milk neon wall sign
(Image credit: @thepajaamahub / Urban Outfitters)

I don’t know about you, but I personally avoid switching on the big light at all costs. Even if it’s pitch dark, I’ll always choose to stumble down the hallway to the nearest table lamp, instead of just flicking the switch right next to the front door.

Clearly, my landlord wasn’t thinking about the aesthetic potential of this pad when he fitted those harsh and bright ceiling spotlights. I just don’t want my apartment to feel like a doctor’s office!

If you’re also all about ambient lighting options, then you’ll be pleased to know that the TikTok and Insta girlies have once again come to the rescue with their never-ending list of suggestions and tutorials of renter-friendly lighting solutions. Whether you’re after beside wall lights, ceiling pendants, or something a little more subtle, get ready for endless inspo.

From damage-free DIY hacks for hanging and installing statement pendants to clever peel-and-stick puck lights that require no hard-wiring, I’ve rounded up a selection of my favorite ideas. 

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1) First off, get some lamps 

Rattan table lamp and wall art

(Image credit: @thepajaamahub)

While this definitely isn’t a groundbreaking suggestion, it wouldn’t feel right to not show the lamps some love. Before Command strips became a thing, they were all us renters had — and I still think they’re a crucial light source. I love how fellow renter @thepajaamahub has used this statement rattan table lamp to bring some cozy vibes to a corner of her space that’s not very well-lit. 

 2. Get creative with string lights 

Cozy string lights in bedroom

(Image credit: @herzenstimme)

Not just an accessory for your college dorm, I firmly believe that string lights can make a sweet yet sophisticated addition to any home. With their vintage-style large bulbs, and careful draping, these string lights make a really elegant and classy addition to this home — and best of all, they can be easily hung up with Command hooks.

3) DIY a wire-free pendant light 


♬ Sunrise - Official Sound Studio

Buckle up, girlies — we’ve made it to our first TikTok tutorial. Like the sound of a wire-free pendant with a battery-powered puck light? Then watch how this genius creator uses a Command hook and a bit of string to hang a rattan pendant from the ceiling, and then simply ties a battery-powered puck light inside. I’m genuinely obsessed with how incredible this looks. 

4)  … Or make the wiring part of the aesthetic 


♬ original sound - mallory interiors

 But if you’ve already got a plug-in pendant and a bulb ready to go, then you could always hang the pendant, and leave the cable on show. In this tutorial, @malloryinteriors uses screw-in hooks which can be easily filled in before you move out — but Command hooks are a great damage-free alternative.

5) Play around with peel-and-stick puck lights 

Kitchen with under-cabinet lighting

(Image credit: @michellemoehle)

There’s just something so chic and sophisticated about under-shelf lighting. Peel-and-stick puck lights are perfect for the job, and can generally be found in a range of shapes and sizes. Plus, they’re battery-powered — so you don’t have to worry about any wires. I love how @michellemoehle has used them underneath her kitchen cabinets, and I reckon they’d also look fab on bookshelves. 

6) Make a statement with a playful neon sign 

Pink neon light in green kitchen

(Image credit: @home.shil.home)

Neon signs bring such a fun and playful energy to any home, and can really help add a much-needed pop of personality to your rented pad. I have one in my living room that I’ve managed to attach to the wall with command hooks, but if that won’t work for you, take inspo from @home.shil.home and place it on a shelf or cabinet, instead. 

7) Emphasize a certain area with LED strip lights 

TV screen with LED strip lights behind it

(Image credit: @ournewbuild_avalon)

Not just great for gamers, LED light strips are ideal for anyone looking to fake the integrated lighting look. I love how discreet they are when not in use, and that they typically come with a peel-and-stick backing that makes them easy to apply and remove. They can be used pretty much anywhere in the home — but I love how @ournewbuild_avalon has used them behind the television. 


♬ Wildest Dreams - Duomo

Finally, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t pay homage to these Amazon wall lights that are absolutely everywhere on TikTok at the moment. The base comes with 3M self-adhesive strips, and the lights attach to it via magnets. They come with a USB charging cable, have three different temperature settings, and are basically a must-have item if you’re a renter. 

Freelance Writer