Lighting fixtures in bedrooms

I completed a warranty inspection on a home built in 2021. None of the bedrooms had a light fixture in the ceiling. In each location, a round blank cover was mounted to the box where a fixture would have been. The owner of the home said this is how the home was when she bought the property. The builder explained to her that as long as each room had a wall receptacle connected to the switch by the door, it is compliant. The area falls under the 2018 IRC, 2018 IBC, and 2020 NEC. I have looked through each of these and cannot confirm. Might just be looking in the wrong place too.

Can someone point me to where this is code compliant? Thanks. I don’t have pictures uploaded yet, so sorry about that.

I believe he is correct…at least, up here they did let it fly when I was building.


Yes, it’s fairly common. E3903.2

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Few homes built after the 1930s have ceiling fixtures in the bedrooms. It is an option if your having a home built, but you have to ask for it and it costs. Luminaries cost more than outlets and wires are not typically strung through the ceiling (easier to do before the sheetrock).


a round blank cover was mounted to the box where a fixture would have been…

It may be for a future ceiling fan?


I read that, each room did have a dedicated wall receptacle. :+1:

Yep, that could be, good point.

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What? That must be a regional thing. In my area 99% of homes built since the 1980’s have ceiling light fixtures in bedrooms. About 50% have a light/fan combo.


This is very common in my area. Because a light fixture is not required to be installed in the ceiling of a bedroom you will not find a code saying a wall fixture is not required in each bedroom. There is usually a box installed with wiring for light and fan usually separate switches.

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The NEC either requires a switch controlled receptacle or a lighting outlet. The blanked off junction box would count as the lighting outlet.


I agree with Jim, a lighting outlet is required not a fixture. I wonder if the wording in E3903.2 is different.


Good point. Could very well be.

The code reference the OP was looking for and Robert Meier mentioned above:

E3903.2 Habitable rooms. At least one wall switch-controlled
lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable
room, kitchen and bathroom. [210.70(A)(1)]

  1. In other than kitchens and bathrooms, one or more
    receptacles controlled by a wall switch shall be considered
    equivalent to the required lighting outlet.
    [210.70(A)(1) Exception No. 1]
  2. Lighting outlets shall be permitted to be controlled by
    occupancy sensors that are in addition to wall
    switches, or that are located at a customary wall
    switch location and equipped with a manual override
    that will allow the sensor to function as a wall switch.
    [210.70(A)(1) Exception No. 2]

That wording is almost the same as the NEC. Only requires a lighting outlet.

In the metro area it’s super common for houses built from the 1990’s to the present to not be prewired or have a ceiling fixture installed.

But if you build one today you can get it prewired for an additional cost. Century Communities was charging $150 per room about 5 years ago.

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This was a Richfield development. I’ve done a dozen warranty inspections in this neighborhood and this was the first time I came across this. The blanks were all wired, just found it strange they didn’t install even cheap fixtures.

Oddly enough, they prewired the house for solar too. Another first for me.

Thanks all for the help. Just felt like something was off. After sleeping on it and reading all the codes again, it makes sense. Will definitely keep it in mind next time I come across this.

Bet all the swich boxes had a neutral too.

I live in a 55+ community at Ocala, FL, and that’s how it is done here. If overhead lighting is not ordered at design, wiring is done to the box and a wall switch, but a cover is installed on the box.
They do connect a switch to a certain outlet, with a red dot on the wall switch and one on the corresponding outlet, so a lamp can be utilized.
Last week at an 11 month inspection, I found a marked outlet where both upper and lower outlets remained energized when the marked outlet was turned on-off, so I reported it as a defect.

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It has been a requirement for all new construction here in Manitoba, Canada for at least the past 8 years. They are even considering going back to a ceiling light in the living room and dens. So basically at leat one permanent light fixture in each room.

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