Exterior Lighting – Planning and Design

Well-planned exterior lighting is essential to helping your home put it’s best face forward. The right combination of outdoor lighting fixtures highlights architecture, showcases landscaping, and provides necessary function and safety, creating an appealing sight to homeowners and guests alike. From creating an eye-catching entrance, to a breathtaking backyard retreat, here are a few planning and design tips that will help you choose the perfect exterior lighting for your home.

White single-story cottage with no exterior lighting

Up Your Curb Appeal

Exterior lighting provides a necessary function, illuminating entry spaces and helping homeowners and guests navigate around the property, however when done right, exterior lighting acts as so much more! From the gorgeous pendant that greets you at the front door, to the matching lanterns that guide you into the garage, well-selected lighting acts as your home’s jewelry – expertly enhancing it’s best features and creating irresistible curb appeal.

A 2-story stone French-country home with beautiful exterior lighting

As with any room within the walls of your home, a well-thought out lighting plan involves layers of lighting, and outside the walls of your home is no exception. Landscape lighting, pier and column lighting, as well as appropriate pendants and wall-mounted fixtures should all be taken into consideration as the plan is developed.

A contemporary house with large windows and two custom lamps surrounding the front door

When choosing fixture styles and sizes, keep in mind the overall design and architecture of your home and make selections that compliment and highlight these features. Modern architecture? Try opting for sleek fixtures with straight lines. Farmhouse? Consider curved arm barn lights. Traditional? Gas lanterns are always a fantastic pick. Keep in mind, many homeowners often choose fixtures that are too small, thus underwhelming the area you wish to enhance. Check out our quick guide for choosing the right sized fixtures for your outdoor space.

The Right Fixture for the Job

Depending on the location, there are a variety of fixture options available.

The entryway of a white house with

Sconces and Wall-Mounted Light Fixtures:

Best suited for porches, patios, entryways and garages.

The classic “porch” light. These fixtures can be mounted on just about any vertical surface and are a simple and attractive way to brighten up a space. These exterior fixtures are often “wet-rated”, meaning they can withstand direct exposure to wind, rain, snow, etc. However, always check the label for the Underwriters Laboratories “UL” rating that will indicate what kind of location they can be used in.

Custom light fixtures hanging over entryways

Pendants and Hanging Light Fixtures:

Best suited for porches and covered patios

These fixtures are perfect if there is little space for sconces or just as an added layer of elegant light. Exterior hanging fixtures are generally “damp-rated”, so they should be located where they will not receive direct exposure to rain or heavy moisture, even during storms.

A white house with a light fixture hanging about the front door

Post, Pier and Column Mounted Light Fixtures:

Best suited for walkways, patios and driveways.

These highly durable fixtures are designed to sit out in the elements providing illumination regardless of the time of day or weather forecast. Post lights are true to its name sitting atop a post, whereas pier and column mounted fixtures are designed to be installed on top of columns and walls. These fixtures look stately flanking a driveway and elegant on a bordering patio wall.

Landscape Lighting:

Best suited for gardens and landscape features.

A separate system from your home’s main lighting sources, landscape lighting can be used to give your property a luxurious layered look.

Style and Security

Aside from looking beautiful on a home, exterior lighting adds functionality and safety. With this in mind, selecting fixtures that properly illuminate areas such as entries, porches, and patios is a vital factor when considering new lighting.

Custom lights lining the entryway of a stone garage

Begin by evaluating your space to determine the type of fixture, or combination of fixtures, that best suits the area. Wall-mount, ceiling-mount or in large areas, such as covered porch entries, a combination of the two would provide the proper amount of light. The overall goal is to eliminate dark corners and create a safe, welcoming glow.

Custom lights above a garage door and lining the windows of the house

Pro Tip: Don’t Over Light:

Although the goal is to provide a wide pool of light and eliminate dark corners, a little light goes a long way when you are outside. A common mistake many homeowners make is using too bright a bulb in their exterior light fixtures. A bulb with lower lumens or lower wattage is generally sufficient in the dark. Chat with one of our design specialists on the appropriate bulbs for your fixture and space to ensure a perfectly lit property.

Nothing quite finishes off the design of a home like well-selected outdoor lighting fixtures. Stop by the showroom to browse our selection of high-quality exterior lighting for entryways, porches, patios and landscape areas.