Most interior designers agree that lighting can really make or break a room, and the same can be said for outdoor lighting and the exterior of your home. Having a well-lit exterior not only increases safety and security, but also does wonders for your curb appeal. When your home’s façade has attractive and complementary outdoor light fixtures, you are sending a friendly and welcoming message to your guests and neighbors.
Backyard living spaces like decks and patios are no exception either. Before you buy your first lantern or sconce, read these essential do’s and don’t’s of outdoor lighting:
- DO opt for LED fixtures. They use much less energy than incandescent bulbs, last longer and come in a variety of color temperatures. You no longer have to stick with the cool, bluish light of the original LEDs—they now come in warmer temperatures that give off a more yellow light, if you desire that look. LEDs also come in clear finishes rather than just frosted, so you can still achieve the elegant, sparkly look of exposed bulbs while remaining energy efficient.
- DO choose fixtures with finishes that complement your home’s exterior color scheme. Bronzes go best with earth tones and brown trim and accents. Black is appropriate with most color schemes and white fixtures work well on houses that have darker bodies and white trim.
- DO space out the light sources on your deck or patio. Several small fixtures with low wattage will always look better and create a more welcoming ambience than one fixture with a bright bulb.
- DO stick with a mounting height that is slightly above eye level. A general rule of thumb is 66 in. above the threshold for the front of your house.
- DO use post lanterns near your driveway. If light from the front door or garage fixtures does not extend the length of your driveway, post lanterns offer another source to warmly greet visitors.
- DO your homework and research to find a consistent, quality line of lighting fixtures.
If you’re looking to reinvent your home’s exterior by upgrading your outdoor fixtures, consider a line of options like Progress Lighting’s wide selection of high-quality, energy-efficient exterior solutions. Their selection includes variety of fixture styles and finishes to meet design and budget goals of any scope.
- DON’T choose fixtures that are too small. This is the most common mistake that homeowners make. Your front door should be the focal point of your home’s façade, so it should have the largest and most ornate fixture. If you use only one light fixture by the door, aim for one that is roughly 1/3 the height of the door, and if you use two, aim for 1/4 the door’s height.
- DON’T use light bulbs with wattage that is too high. Using bulbs with 40-75 watts or the equivalent thereof is best for outdoor fixtures. Choose the wattage based on the fixture, but never use more wattage than you need because it could create glare and daunt your guests rather than welcome them.
- DON’T skimp on light fixtures at the back door. They should be less important than the front door’s fixtures, but they should match the rest of your home’s lighting and not be too small.
*Sarah Kellner is a writer for The Home Depot. With a background in art and design, she writes on a wide variety of home improvement and decorating topics. To shop outdoor lighting options, visit the homedepot.com selection online.