Ask professional interior designers and most will agree that lighting can really make or break a space, and that’s as true about the inside of your home as it is the exterior. In the same way that the right pendant lights or lamps can transform a room, the front of the house is given a new life when outdoor lighting, such as porch lights, is installed. When placed correctly, porch lights can not only improve a home’s curb appeal but also increase the safety and security of the home as well. What’s more, a well-lit front porch is a lot more welcoming than a dark entryway and sends a friendly message to your guests and neighbors. The same thing goes for backyard living spaces, such as decks and patios.
When shopping for porch lights and other outdoor lighting fixtures, you may be tempted to walk down the lighting aisle of your nearest home improvement store and grab the first set of lights you come across. However, there is a lot more to exterior lighting than simply buying the brightest lights. Before buying porch lights for your home, read these helpful dos and don’ts.
Porch Light Dos
- Choose LED Light Fixtures—Light emitting diode (LED) bulbs use significantly less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs do. They also last longer—one 60-watt LED bulb lasts up to 25,000 hours while a 60-watt incandescent bulb only lasts for 1,000—and come in a variety of color temperatures. LEDs used to only be available in a cool, bluish color, but now you can buy them in warmer temperatures that produce the more yellow hue that we’re used to. What’s more, they also come in clear finishes (rather than just frosted), so you’ll have the elegant, crystal-like sparkle of exposed bulbs while still being energy efficient.
- Space Them Out—While it might be tempting to settle for one light fixture at a high wattage to illuminate your entryway, we recommend buying more than one porch light and spacing them out evenly. Two or three light fixtures with low wattage create a more welcoming mood when spaced out than using one fixture with a very bright bulb.
- Opt for Well-Paired Finishes—When it comes to selecting outdoor light fixtures, there are a variety of styles, colors and finishes for you to choose from. Make sure you select fixtures that will complement your home’s exterior. For example, light fixtures with black finishes will work with virtually any color scheme, while bronze is appropriate for earth tones and browns. White, on the other hand, works best with houses that are darker in color and have a light-colored trim.
- Mount Them Properly—When installing your porch lights, make sure that you mount them at just above eye level. The general rule of thumb is between 65 and 67 inches above the ground or porch floor. Porch lights need to be mounted high enough to illuminate the space without creating glare for anyone approaching your door.
- Use Additional Lighting—If the light from your porch fixtures isn’t enough to illuminate your driveway, consider adding recessed lighting, landscape lighting or post lanterns, which add another source of light so that your guests can see where they’re going and make it safely to your door.
- Do Your Research—No matter what you do, always do your research when shopping for outdoor light fixtures. There are so many different options to choose from, so buying new lighting can be an overwhelming experience. But as long as you do your homework and have an idea of what you’re looking for beforehand, you should have no trouble choosing the right porch lights for your home.
Porch Light Don’ts
- Avoid Small Fixtures—The most common mistake homeowners make when purchasing porch lights is choosing light fixtures that are just too small. Your entryway should be the main focal point of your home, so it should have large, decorative lighting to draw people in. Again, we recommend installing two or more fixtures at your door, but if you only want to use one, make sure it’s big enough to make a statement.
- Use Low-Wattage Bulbs—When selecting light bulbs for your outdoor light fixtures, avoid using bulbs with wattage that is too high—40 to 75 watts is ideal. Avoid using more wattage than you actually need, as this could end up being too bright, which could create glare and disturb your neighbors.
- Don’t Go Cheap—Choose light fixtures that work best for your budget, but try not to go the “cheap” route, especially when it comes to buying fixtures for your back porch. Though they are slightly less important than your front door’s lights, they should still match the rest of your home’s lighting scheme.
Need help selecting porch lights for your home? Contact us today and use our “Shop with an Expert” feature to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable associates who will be able to point you in the direction of your new outdoor light fixtures.