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exterior lighting front door pot lighting

When deciding how to light your house’s exterior, how do you know what to choose? Your choices will change with the design of your house, porch, awning, gate, and garden. Marry the right style of lighting with your house’s architectural style, and vary your placement depending on your landscaping for the perfect outdoor lighting.

Wide porches with chandeliers

If your house has a large porch, chances are your decor can handle a chandelier. Rather than putting up an ordinary overhead light on your porch, look into the many chandelier designs (or make your own) to really make your porch pop. If you have a modern-style house with clean lines and angles, look for a hanging lantern enclosed in glass, which will look very elegant.

If your house is older, go for something a little more elaborate in tune with the vintage of your house. For instance, curling wrought iron with many individual bulbs looks pretty with Victorian-style porches that have a lot of detail.

porch veranda seating lighting sconces railing

Cottages and garden lights

If your house is smaller, like a cottage or a bungalow, concentrating your exterior light in the garden will broaden your entire living space from the house into the yard. You might choose to put path lights along walkways or to accent certain garden features with lanterns.

Keep the fixtures themselves relatively unadorned so that the focus is the light itself rather than the piece that emits it. Gardens can create a lot of shadows at night, and beautiful ethereal lighting will help turn the dark at the front or your house into a beautiful illuminated space.

exterior lighting lamp

Columns and accent lights

Perhaps the front of your home has columns, either around the front door or as part of the porch design. Either way, columns present a unique lighting opportunity. Accent columns either from above or below for a creative exterior look. Columns that come all the way to the ground look great highlighted with a beam of in-ground lighting. Columns as part of a porch or near the front door do better lit with a beam from directly above so the light doesn’t shine into your windows.

Unadorned front doors with sconces

If your front door sits by itself, the best way to light it is to place a lamp on either side of the door. If you have a wrought-iron gate, choose an older style wall sconce in a matching color. For a house painted bright colors, pick a subtle fixture without many frills so that the focus of your house remains the unique design.

Front porch

Rustic homes look beautiful with lanterns styled after gas lamps. Don’t forget to choose sconce colors that complement your door’s color and your house’s color. If you’ve gone for all subtle, light colors, don’t choose a bold, dark sconce. If you’re aiming for contrast and accents, use a dark sconce to further the design scheme.

More inviting

Exterior lighting doesn’t have to mean a single porch lamp or a motion sensor flood light attached to your garage. Use these tips to find the perfect lighting for your home’s exterior and come home at night to a more inviting place.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.