As residential technology evolves, custom integrators have a unique opportunity to expand their service offerings and provide comprehensive solutions to their clients. The fastest-growing category in the industry is lighting fixtures. The best entry point is retrofit recessed light fixtures. This approach offers immediate value to clients and is a strategic move for integrators looking to establish or enhance a lighting department.
The current landscape is such that retrofitting downlights is the most practical starting point for integrators. It’s a less complex entry point compared to the more comprehensive design, deployment, and service required for new construction projects. Plus, retrofitting can be seamlessly combined with existing lighting control and window treatments to craft a unified lighting experience.
The retrofit opportunity is significant, mainly because existing homes vastly outnumber new construction projects. Integrators can introduce the conversation about light fixture upgrades during any discussion. Any time lighting control is being introduced or upgraded, a discussion about fixtures should be included. Some integrators even offer to swap a few fixtures for clients to test at no cost, creating a low-risk situation that often leads to full-home deployment once clients see the improvements in performance and aesthetics.
From a performance standpoint, retrofit light fixtures offer numerous benefits. High-quality retrofit downlights can resolve common LED dimming issues, providing smooth 1 percent dimming capabilities without flicker or latency. They also enhance the color fidelity of light in a space, ensuring materials such as stone, millwork, and artwork are illuminated to their full potential. With precise optics and adjustable fixtures, lighting can be directed exactly where it’s needed, creating contrast and ambiance.
Lighting is about creating an experience and enhancing what people love about their homes. It is easier to make humble materials look great with proper lighting than it is to make high-end materials look good with poor lighting.
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For aesthetics, retrofit fixtures offer a noticeable upgrade, as well. Older, discolored plastic trims can be replaced with premium materials like cast aluminum in various finishes that elevate the home’s interior design. Additionally, retrofit fixtures can improve the overall experience of living in a home. For example, warm dimming capabilities paired with lighting control can create vibrant scenes during the day and more relaxed, warm atmospheres in the evening. This can be achieved without having to change electrical infrastructure and can be especially important if you are replacing incandescent fixtures.
The benefits also extend to the integrator’s organization. In using a modular product like DMF Lighting’s DID Series, retrofit fixtures are simple to specify, with integrated drivers making it easy to replace most 4/5/6-inch fixtures. They’re also straightforward to deploy — many line voltage fixtures can be installed in minutes without needing an electrician. This ease of installation, combined with the lack of channel conflict and immediate revenue, contrasts favorably against the extended timelines often associated with new construction projects. Most importantly, your client will appreciate the impact it has on their home.
Furthermore, retrofitting can expedite the adoption of lighting categories within an organization. Success breeds confidence, and as teams rack up successful retrofit projects, they become more comfortable discussing and recommending more complex lighting solutions. It’s a virtuous cycle where early wins pave the way for more ambitious growth.
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To sum up, retrofit light fixtures are not just an addition to a custom integrator’s service offerings, they are a stepping-stone to future residential lighting customers. It is a way to get comfortable with the category and supplement larger new construction projects when ready. The pathway is clear: Start with retrofit, build confidence, and gradually move toward more comprehensive lighting solutions that will delight clients and grow your business.
Start with your own home. Experience firsthand the transformative power of retrofit light fixtures. This personal insight will provide a tangible example of the benefits and instill the confidence needed to promote the category to clients.