Exterior Lighting: A Quick Guide

Exterior lighting should make your home appear inviting and warm while complementing your existing décor. Slight changes in the amount of illumination, color and style, size, and mounting height can create a welcoming glow for your home. Does your back porch appear dark? Is your front entryway dull and uninviting? Spruce up your space with some updated exterior lighting!

Here’s what to consider and how to pick out the exterior lighting fixtures that will enhance your space.

1.       Illumination

The end goal of exterior lighting is to brighten a space without being overbearing – side yards, garages or driveways could use a brighter bulb or utility type fixture while the front door, porch, and back deck can often rely on smaller fixtures and softer, dimmer lighting. Since these are outdoor lighting fixtures, opting for longer-lasting LED bulbs is usually recommended.

2.       Color and Style

The color and size of your fixtures and lighting should coordinate with your existing style scheme to help improve the aesthetic. If you have brass fixtures or doorknobs use those elements with your light fixtures. If you have silver or platinum, coordinate that in your lighting scheme to create a more completed look.

3.       Size

Image of two exterior light fixtures on the front of a home

You want to strike a balance between a light that illuminates a good amount of space with a fixture arrangement that doesn’t dominate the entire exterior façade. A light that is too large can appear clunky and shrink the look of your house. Size choice may vary depending on the location. For instance, a side yard or driveway may need a larger light, whereas the lights at your front door should be smaller and ornate. A good rule of thumb for entryway fixtures, is to select a fixture that is approximately one-third or one-fourth the height of the front door.

4.       Mounting Height

The placement of a lighting fixture is also imperative. For most wall-mounted applications you want to display lights that are approximately eye-level. This is about 66 to 72 inches above the floor for most entries, front doors and garage-mounted lights.

Where to Display Outdoor Lights

In addition to the height, proper placement will create being the look together. Entryways and front doors should have two sconces or fixtures on each side. Covered deck lighting is dependent upon the size of the space. If possible, use larger fixtures like outdoor chandeliers to create a chic look if the space allows. Placement for a garage depends on the size and number of stalls. A one-car garage may only need a single fixture near the walkway, or a fixture on flanking both sides of the garage door. A two-car garage with two separate doors may look better with three lights – the left, center column, and right side of the garage front.

How to Choose Outdoor Lighting Fixtures for Your Home

In addition to all these considerations the type of light used can make or break your outside lighting goals.

Here are a few lighting types and some advice on when and where to use them:

  • Post lights: These are standalone, stately fixtures that can be used for illuminating walkways or marking a yard perimeter.
  • Outdoor wall sconces: These work well to flank the front door or light a side entry.
  • Outdoor chandelier: Light up an area by adding an element of elegance. These larger, more ornate fixtures could be used in a covered deck that has room to spare.
  • Outdoor table lamp: Best for patios or back porches, these lights can be moved, dimmed and changed out to create the perfect mood.

Adding to or updating your exterior lighting can go a long way toward enhancing your outdoor spaces. Decorating with matching fixtures outdoors will complement your home and create a welcoming glow to your yard.

For professional assistance from a licensed electrician, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical at 336.283.8485.