How to Choose the Correct Size Exterior Light

For home exterior lights, size matters! We’ve come up with some helpful tips on how to choose the correct size exterior light. Nothing is worse than getting home and realizing you can hardly see your lights from the street.  Lights are like the eyes of your home…. so, they should be beautiful and functional! They direct visitors where to go, keep your house safe, as well as add major curb appeal when done correctly.  

For some reason, most homes don’t have the correct size lights.  Maybe it was a trend to go small at one point or maybe the builder put on the least expensive option. Whatever the reason, no more of the little lights.  

Things to keep in mind:

♦ Your lighting will appear about half the size from the street. So, your 12 inch light that looks o’kay in the showroom, will suddenly appear 6 inches from the street! 

♦ When in doubt, go big and go eye level.

♦ Your entryway should be the focal point, so stay away from larger garage lights and let your door take center stage.  

♦ It’s always good to test the size by hanging a piece of cardboard the same shape and size as your potential light fixture.  

♦ Finally, many times lights come in families. It’s nice to buy lights for different areas of your exterior space that are similar but not exactly the same.  For example, you can do a hanging wall lantern by the garage and thin wall mount by the doors. You don’t want a rooms to go kind of situation. 

Light families


How to Choose the Correct Size Exterior Light:

Tip #1.

Lights By Your Door:

Your lights should be ⅓ to ¼ the size of your door and trim. If you have a grand entry way with a high ceiling you can go bigger.  So, opt for ⅓ the size of your door. If you’re in a tighter area, try ¼ the size of your door. If possible mount the lights at least 6 inches from the door frame and about 66 inches from the floor.


Tip #2.

Lights By Your Garage:

Lights by your garage should also be ⅓ to ¼ the height of your garage opening.  These shouldn’t upstage your entryway lights but definitely make a statement of their own. 


Tip #3.

Lights Above Your Garage:

Right now, Gooseneck Lights are really popular above garage doors.  That said, the goal is to provide light across the entire garage area and should shine outwards as well as down.  A typical garage door entry is about 8 feet wide. Depending on the shade above, you may need a 20 inch shade to span the area…. Or, 2 lights.  Because the shade will direct the light, we usually recommend ¼ to ⅕ the width of the door opening.

They should also be centered about 6 inches above the garage trim or door. 


Tip #4.

Lights on a Driveway or Garden Lamp Post:

This light should be about ¼  the height of the mounting pole or fence post.  These are also usually best placed 5.5 feet to 6.5 feet from the bottom of the light fixture to the ground. 


Tip #5.

Front Entrance Hanging Lights:

An entryway hanging pendant can be a game changer for curb appeal if hung correctly. I’ve seen them so many times way too small and hung way too high.  Your pendant light should be about ⅕ the height of your door. They should also be centered about 6 inches above the door.

pendant light


Tip #6.

Patio Chandelier Above a Table:

Lighting for dining is more difficult because there are so many factors involved. As a general rule, we recommend about ⅔ the width of the table.  You can go as small as ½ the width of your table but definitely not any smaller. If your table is long, opt for two lights ½ width. A shorter table can do one light at ⅔ width. Height ranges from 7 feet from the ground or 30 to 34 inches above your table. 

Overall, lighting is a huge part of your home’s curb appeal and shouldn’t be neglected. For home exterior lights, size matters! Your lights have a huge job of providing security for the area but should also be beautiful and functional. 

Pin it. Carry it. Use it. The lighting guide below will help when you have quick decisions to make!
bright&batten lighting guide

At brick&batten we are experts at choosing the correct light for your architectural style and one that reflects your personal taste. Stop pulling into the driveway of a house you’re not crazy about and let our designers help you pick out the correct lights, paint colors, planters, doors, cladding, railings, awnings, shutters, etc. to create the space you’ve always wanted. Get started with our exterior home design services.