7 Outdoor Lighting Tips to Best Illuminate Your Space

We have come up with 7 outdoor lighting tips to best illuminate your space.  Where I live there are a lot of houses being updated.  People are choosing to update instead of tear down and move.  I love that!  However, it takes everything out of me not to offer suggestions… I see contractors choosing paint colors, lighting options, and door styles.  That just doesn’t make sense!  It’s like going to the doctor and asking the lady in the parking lot to diagnose your ailment and offer medication.  Today, we need to talk LIGHTS.  

We have come up with 7 outdoor lighting tips to best illuminate your space:

#1.  Lights Have a NEED.

Lights are absolutely needed on your home’s exterior.  They offer protection and safety when it’s dark, accentuate landscape designs, and illuminate your beautiful porch.  Skimping on your lights shouldn’t be an option.  

#2.  Lights Have a STYLE.

Your personal style, house style, and function of the light should go hand in hand when choosing lights.  If you’re in a farmhouse, there are many different options for farmhouse lighting that will suit your style; therefore, those should be the lights you’re looking to purchase.  If you’re living in a mid-century modern, you don’t want the Bevolo French Quarter.  The Bevolo are amazing, but not for your house style.  Know your house style, then select your lights.

front porch patio
Mid-Century WIndows

#3.  Lights Have FAMILIES.

Some builders get the 6 pack of lights and just throw them up next to every door… and then on either side of the garage.  Can you do that? Yes.  Should you do that? No.  Lights have families.  That means, there are other lights that will coordinate beautifully with the light you’re drawn toward.  Maybe you do the hanging pendant above the door, two longer sconces by the door, and hanging lanterns by the garage doors.  

Bevolo Lights


#4.  Lights Have SIZE.

Most lights I see are WAYYYY too small.  It may be the appropriate style and design; however, the size is wrong.  Lights should be ⅓ to ¼ the size of your door.  Exceptions can be made for doors with large windows above but they should never be smaller.  Pendant lights above your door should be about ⅓ to ¼ the width of the door and hang 6 inches above the door frame. When in doubt, it’s better to go too big than too small.  

Light size infographic

#5. Lights Have UL.

UL Ratings– Underwriters Laboratories Ratings are important when choosing your light source.  The rating helps distinguish whether your light may be used in dry, damp, or wet locations.  Obviously for outdoor use you will need a damp or wet UL rating.  Damp UL may be used in humid areas and best under a covered porches or patios.  Wet location lights have been tested for durability when exposed to intense amounts of wetness.  Both work well outside, but one may work better depending on your environment.

#6. Lights Have TEMPERATURE.

Light bulbs have a temperature.  Kelvin basically measures light color or temperature.  A kelvin of between 2,000 to 3,000 gives off a soft white glow that is not too harsh for your outdoor space.  If your light temperature is too high, the trees, bushes,  and landscape being illuminated tends to look fake. So check the back of the box for bulbs and look for a soft illuminating light. For more about exterior lighting click here.

Kelvin scale for lighting

#7.  Lights Have LAYERING.

You may have heard of light layering for your home’s interior…ambient, task, and accent.  The same type of situation applies for home exterior.  

AMBIENT lighting is used for basic illumination to get from point A to point B. ambient lights are used around your door.  This is like your wardrobe staple.  

TASK lighting is your practical light and allows you to really see what you’re doing.  Think, when the sun goes down, can you see where you’re going on your deck or patio?  Sometimes these lights are motion lights, on a sensor, or flood.

ACCENT lighting is used for aesthetic purposes.  They are like the jewelry to your outfit.  They highlight certain areas and set the mood.  This can be done with landscape lighting or string lights.

light layering

In conclusion, when you think you’ve got it, take a critical look at your light choices.  This should be done at night, when everything is illuminated.  Is the color temperature right? Is the size correct? Do your lights coordinate but aren’t matchy matchy? Have you used layering to create a peaceful atmosphere? Are your lights the right style for your home? And the bottom line… appropriate outdoor lighting definitely improves curb appeal.  Are you happy with your choices?

If you need help choosing lights to match your house style, our brick&batten designers are up to the task and eager to partner with you on a home exterior design