Four Secrets to Outdoor Lighting

If you’re looking to spruce up your home with outdoor lighting, there are a number of tricks and techniques that can make a huge difference in the way your home’s exterior looks. Keep these four secrets in mind when choosing the right outdoor lighting for your home.

Consider Landscape Lighting

Your yard can look just as appealing at night as it does in the daytime when the landscape lighting is right. Accent and ambient lights can be combined for both function and beauty. Using accent lighting like strip lights, spotlights and water-feature lighting adds visual appeal to your yard while still making it easier to see at night.

Pathway lighting is one of the best accent lighting allows you and your guests to see clearly when it comes to getting to the front door. The lighting shouldn’t be too harsh, so pathway light should be soft and without a glare. Use a curved or zigzag pattern when installing pathway lighting, since placing the lights in a straight line can make your yard look too much like a runway.

You can also make landscape lighting work for you by spotlighting a beautiful tree or plant in your front yard. This creates a glow on the foliage that is visually appealing and makes it easier to see around the yard at night.

If you’re using spotlights as part of your landscape lighting, be sure that the spotlights are not focused toward the windows of your home or your neighbor’s home.  Softer lights should be positioned on risers or steps to make sure you can see your way up the steps, but these shouldn’t be too bright, since this can be overwhelming.

Go Solar or Energy Efficient

Solar outdoor lighting is the easiest to use, and if you use solar power for outdoor lighting, you won’t have to worry about wiring. Place the solar lights in a sunny spot so the lights will get enough energy to shine when it’s dark outside. Solar lights are a great and safer alternative to candles, since you don’t have to worry about knocking the candles over or the candles blowing out if it’s windy outside.

If you do want to use candles, use a cluster of large candles near the front door to create an inviting ambience that looks very similar to starlight. Placing the candles in glass jars or lanterns adds more texture to the lighting décor and can keep the candles from blowing out too quickly.  Electric candles can also add a nice touch to the porch area and give you more control over how long the candles shine.

Low-voltage lighting is a great solution for making shady areas of your yard a little brighter, especially along the walkway leading up to your door. These lights are low-cost and you can easily find lights that will help you bring more attention to plants or your driveway.

Interior and Backyard Lights

When it comes to exterior lighting, remember that your interior lights can help you achieve a fashionable effect. Your home will be especially welcoming and bright, and you can add candles on an inside or outside table to make the outside of your home even more appealing.  An elaborate light fixture positioned in your home near an open window will also add soft lighting to the outside of your home.

Rope lighting is also a great option, and is best for the backyard, where lighting doesn’t have to be as bright. The lights can be placed on the back of landscape bed edging. Or, you can roll out the tube lighting and secure it with pins so that it will stay in place and give your backyard garden a nice glow.

You can also add lighting to your deck if you’re entertaining at night or want to spend time on your deck in the evening. Translucent panels are especially ideal if your deck is multi-tier, and you can program the lights to turn on at dusk. If you want to install the lights on the surface of the deck, use downlights to give a warm glow to the outdoor area. These lights can bring more attention to the materials your deck is made of, and can showcase the stones used for the pathway in your backyard.

Entry Lighting

Safety and aesthetics can be combined for the lighting that is positioned near your entryway. Consider your home’s architecture and choose fixtures that will match the style of your home.

You can also express your modern, chic style by using a light fixture that is usually featured inside. A standing lamp or wrought iron chandelier will make the front of your home stand out while providing enough lighting for you to see clearly.

Now that you know four of the basic secrets for making outdoor lighting look its best, be sure to keep these tips in mind when shopping as well:

  • Your lighting style should match your décor style. Choose lights that already go with the outdoor furniture and accessories you have, so that the lighting will complete your exterior design look.
  • Select lighting colors that are eye-catching yet complimentary. Most outdoor light fixtures are available in shades of brown, including rust and bronze. Select a finish that will go well with the paint or brick color of your home. Of course, you can always spray paint the light fixtures to fit your personal style.
  • Consider the size of the lighting. Don’t choose lighting that is too small, especially for the lights that are positioned at your front door. If you’re using lanterns or standing lights, they should be sized in proportion to the height of the door (about 25 percent of the door’s height). The light filament should be about 65 inches above the base of the door. Choose a light fixture where the majority of the body is below the junction box, so the switches and cords won’t take away from the beauty of the light.