The short days and long nights are back in session. It’s a time many homeowners (and renters!) really begin to notice just how well (or not) their driveways, pathways, and porches are lit at night. Having a well-lit exterior makes a home safer to navigate, more welcoming, and more versatile.
But with so many different types and styles of exterior lighting available on the market, finding the right options for your property can sometimes feel overwhelming. The following is a short breakdown of the primary types of outdoor lighting and how to choose options that best match your home’s style and lighting needs.
- Post Lanterns. Post lanterns are dramatic standalone exterior lights that are sure to make a dramatic statement whether you put them along your driveway or in the middle of your back yard. These standout lights are ideal for bringing much-needed brightness to outdoor entertaining areas, such as near a pool entryway or grilling stations, but shouldn’t be used for more intimate spaces or where you want a more subdued aesthetic.
- Outdoor Wall Lights. Wall lanterns and sconces can be easily attached to any exterior wall to provide an effective and efficient source of indirect uplighting and downlighting. These wall lights are available in a variety of styles and materials so that you can match the unique look and feel of your house with the right style. Of course, most people find the best look comes with a bit of a mix and match. Consider using dimmable wall sconces near often utilized spaces, such as above an outdoor seating area, windows, and doors. If you have your address numbers attached to your home, wall lights are an ideal solution for illuminating them ensuring your friends and delivery drivers never miss your address. LED lights are ideal for these uses thanks to their long life and enhanced energy efficiency.
- Outdoor Hanging Lights. Outdoor hanging lights, also known as pendant lights, are often used more to enhance curb appeal and act as an interesting design element than to provide general lighting — although they certainly can be used as task lighting in the right circumstances. These style lights have perhaps the greatest range of materials, colors, and styles as you can opt for everything from Eastern-inspired bamboo lanterns to more industrial-based designs. Whichever style you choose, be sure to stay consistent with all your outdoor hanging lights to keep a more cohesive appearance. For a truly intimate appearance, consider adding an open flame torch or its flameless LED cousin near porches, gazebos, and similar spaces.
- Flood Lights. Flood lights are generally not chosen for their appearance, but rather for security purposes. Flood lights are generally built to be equipped with a motion sensor so that whenever a person or large animal enters a defined space, they cast out a bright light over the area. Flood lights don’t come in too many options, as they are more of a utilitarian accessory, but you can still find the right shape and color to match your home’s architecture. For best effect, install all flood lights a minimum of 9 feet off the ground both so that they cannot be easily accessed by would-be intruders and can create the widest possible field of illumination.
Before purchasing and installing any of the above lights, grab a friend and walk through your property at night with a flashlight and all other lights turned off. Experiment with how the flashlight interacts with your exterior features and landscaping and use this as a basis to map out your lighting options.