Exterior lighting design is an essential aspect of any home. It not only provides security but can add beauty and ambiance to your property. As a homeowner, you want to make sure that you are getting the most out of your investment when it comes time for exterior light fixtures.
Many things need consideration when designing an exterior lighting plan for your home, including size, shape, illumination levels needed, voltage type, and cost-effectiveness, to name a few! Below is a guide that will help you get the best exterior lighting design.
What Is Exterior Lighting Design And Why Do You Need It
Exterior lighting design is a type of engineering that has been in practice for many years. It can also enhance the aesthetics of an area or building. The use of exterior light fixtures will give your home or business an inviting appearance while also protecting it from would-be intruders who may be looking for easy targets. More importantly, outdoor lighting can help increase visibility around your property, so you are less likely to trip over anything when you get up after dark or leave your house in the morning hours before sunrise.
Types of Outdoor Lights to Use for Your Home’s Exterior
There are many ways to light up your home’s exterior, and each has its relative merits. But no one best type of light will solve all your problems; it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with the lighting. The following list offers a guide to some common types of outdoor lights:
- String Lights: You can use string lights as a decorative element for things like patios and porches, and they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. String lights need to get plugged into an outlet or power source, so they don’t require any wires strung across the yard. They also use less electricity than most other options since only one bulb (or LED) gets lit at a time instead of several.
- Solar Lights: These are a great option if you’re looking to save money on your electric bill. Solar lights recharge during the day and then switch on automatically at night. They also don’t require any additional wiring or complicated installation, making them a good option for those who aren’t as handy with tools. Because they rely on sunlight, you’ll need to make sure they receive enough daily direct sunlight.
- Lighting Controls: If all your exterior lightings get installed on one switch, it won’t be easy to turn some lights on while leaving others off. Linking the controls of various outdoor lights together with a multi-switch can solve this problem. You can also shut off all exterior lights and turn them on at once, which is helpful if you’re coming home after dark.
- Solar Post Cap Lights: A good option for those who want the look of a traditional outdoor gas or electric light without the hassle and expense, solar post cap lights use LED technology to provide illumination for your Driveway or garden. They typically mount on the top of wooden or metal posts and have weather-resistant materials that can stand up to harsh conditions. These lights also use LED bulbs, which are very energy efficient, provide bright light, and last for several years.
- Solar Pathway Lights: This type of solar outdoor lighting is perfect if you’re looking to light up a walkway or garden. Solar pathway lights need to get mounted in the ground and will stay on automatically at night, illuminating your path. They’re safe and easy to install; no wiring or electrical expertise is necessary.
- Hanging Lanterns: These light up porches and decks nicely and look lovely hanging from trees and bushes. Up-lights are a hanging lantern that mounts to the underside of eaves, decks, or even flower pots. They shine light up toward walls and ceilings, creating a mood-enhancing effect for entertaining guests.
- Solar Wall Lights: These will give your home’s exterior a warm glow while also drawing attention to specific landscaping and architectural details. Solar wall lights can get installed directly on your home’s exterior, or they can get attached to the wall of an adjacent structure such as a garage or shed.
Find the Right Light Fixtures for Your Home
There are many different types of light fixtures. From pendant lights to table lamps, you can find something that matches your preferences and needs. There are also several factors you should consider when selecting the correct fixture for your home, including:
- The purpose of the fixture
- Size and visual impact
- Appearance and design
- Energy efficiency
Your home has a variety of functions, so choose light fixtures that meet these functions. If you need intense lighting to see your surroundings or read a book, you will want to find a different style than if you only need a soft, ambient light source. You should also consider your light fixture’s size and visual impact to ensure it doesn’t overwhelm the room but fits its surroundings. Finally, you will want to pick out fixtures that match the style and appearance of your home.
Decorative elements such as glass or crystals can add an elegant touch to a room, while chrome or stainless steel provides a more modern feel. It would help if you also considered the functionality and safety of your light fixtures. For example, older homes may benefit from an energy-efficient LED bulb that might use only 100 watts and last 15 times longer than a traditional incandescent bulb.
Know The Best Place To Install Exterior Lighting
The best place to install exterior lighting is where it will do the most good. The best site in many cases is in front of your home, but if you have a long driveway or there are lots of trees near your house, then the side yard may be better. And if you know that something suspicious happened at night and you want to make sure it doesn’t happen again, then installing lights around your property might be a good idea. Here are some specific places you may want to consider lighting, depending on your unique situation:
- Front of house
- Side yard
- Back of house or in the back corner of the property
- Walkways and sidewalk
The outside lights should be visible from the street, providing a strong deterrent to criminals, but not so bright that they light up the whole neighborhood.
How to Create a Cohesive Look with Your Outdoor Lighting
When it comes to designing an outdoor lighting scheme, you have a lot of options. There are so many different fixtures, and bulbs that sometimes it can feel like choosing the right light for your space is impossible.
But if you know what type of look you’re going for, getting started becomes much more accessible. And to get the best results from your chosen fixture or bulb, there are a few other factors to consider as well. For example:
- Light color – warm white bulbs will create a cozy atmosphere while cool white lights make a space seem more modern and airy; blue lights give off a tranquil vibe while amber ones provide warmth and comfort and full-spectrum bulbs create a natural look.
- Light quality – The quality of the light you use is just as important as its color. For example, if you’re using round bulbs, using ones with an A-shape or C shape will provide more directional lighting than diffuse lights, which spread their glow more evenly.
- Positioning – It’s essential to consider your fixture or bulb’s different positions while designing your outdoor lighting scheme. For example, suppose you’re trying to highlight exterior elements like columns or architectural features. In that case, it’s best to position fixtures high enough on walls where they will provide the most light without being too bright for other parts of your home’s exterior.
In addition to these factors, you also want to ensure that your fixtures’ color, quality, and positioning complement each other while adding a cohesive look to your outdoor lighting scheme. Generally, styles should be similar but use different colors or fixture positions to provide a little contrast. For example:
- Traditional – Warm, yellow outdoor lighting with dark oak or mahogany fixtures and lanterns are some conventional designs to consider
- Cottage – Cool, white lights for modern-style homes; amber lights for more traditional designs; clean lines and simple shapes give this type of design a polished look.
- Tropical – Bright colors in your fixture choices and emphasis on lighting up plants and trees for a lush, natural feel.
- Rustic – Vintage outdoor lighting fixtures with lots of texture and charm create a vintage look that’s casual and relaxed.
Tips on How Much You Should Spend on Outdoor Lighting
It can be tough to know how much money you should spend on outdoor lighting. But the process becomes easier when you know what factors are most important in determining your needs.
For example, if safety is paramount, you will want more light than the goal of the ambiance. Do some research and determine which type of outdoor lighting will work best for your situation before purchasing. Here are three tips on how much you should spend on outdoor lighting:
- The first tip is that different lights cost less or more depending on their maintenance requirements (e.g., LED lights don’t need replacement bulbs as fluorescent ones do).
- Another thing to consider is where the light fixtures will get installed; close to an electrical outlet might mean less expensive wiring.
Consider the Appearance of Your Home at Night
Safety is a crucial concern when it comes to the appearance of your home at night. There are so many easy ways for thieves and other criminals to assess whether or not you have anything worth stealing from your home, which they can find by simply driving through your neighborhood.
If you live in a residential area, they will most likely pick up on all the lights coming from people’s homes and assume that there must be something valuable inside each house if their neighbors have them. It’s important to note that burglars don’t always break into homes to steal items; sometimes, they want a place to sleep or hide out until morning without getting caught – either way, its bad news for homeowners. Make sure to keep an eye on your home at night and turn off all lights to keep your property’s safety a priority.
Understand How Outdoor Lighting Can Affect Your Property Value
Outdoor lighting is an often overlooked but critical aspect of your property value. It can affect the curb appeal, safety, and security of your home or business. Outdoor lighting can create pathways, ambiance and provide accenting for landscape features like trees or waterfalls. If you want to make your property stand out and be more desirable, outdoor lighting is necessary.
Proper landscape lighting can help highlight the beauty of your home or garden by highlighting features that may not be as noticeable in daylight. It also helps deter people from breaking into your home if they think it’s occupied. Whether you’re looking for something simple like porch lights or an elaborate system with spotlights and floodlights, there are so many options available to suit any budget and style preference. You’ll find everything from solar-powered, battery-operated, and LED lights on online stores such as Amazon.com, so shopping has never been easier.
Choose an Appropriate Wattage for Each Fixture Based on Its Location in the House
When choosing a wattage for your outdoor lighting fixture, you should consider the fixture’s location. In a home where you primarily use outside lighting for safety purposes, you want to ensure the proper amount of light gets cast to avoid accidents. Too much or too little light could create a hazardous situation.
If the wattage for your fixture is too low, there may not be enough light to see clearly and prevent people from running into objects or stepping into a hole. This may be more of an issue if you’re looking to provide light along stairs or on pathways that lead to your front door. You want to avoid creating shadows behind objects through which people could trip.
If the wattage is too high, it won’t just cause potential tripping hazards but also create unnecessary light pollution. If there is too much light, you may find yourself cursing at birds and bugs that seem to get attracted to the bright lights as they fly around them.
It would help to consider how far away your fixtures are from where you will need the lighting to reach. When looking for an extended range of lighting, you will need to use a higher wattage for your home. With brighter light from a higher wattage, it becomes more difficult for people driving by at night to see past the bright light and avoid hitting trees or other objects in their way.
If you’re only providing lighting for an area close by, a lower wattage will be sufficient. Using the proper wattage for your fixtures will ensure you’re providing enough light to keep yourself and other people safe while not creating unnecessary light pollution.
Plan Ahead For Future Changes
It may seem like a waste of time and money to plan for something you can’t know about, but it pays off in the long run. When you install outdoor lighting, prepare for future changes by installing fixtures with replaceable lamps and bulbs so that when they burn out or need replacing, you don’t have to go back into the house to change light bulbs. Plus, if you do ever want different types of lights installed on your property at some point down the road, then having fixtures that are easy to swap out will save you from having to hire a professional to tear up your landscaping and start all over again.
Also, be sure to read our post on outdoor lighting ideas.
Make Sure to Consult with an Electrician before Installing Any New Outdoor Lights
Getting an expert will ensure that the wiring gets installed correctly and that your lights are installed in a safe area, away from kids and animals. Your lights will also turn on as long as they get plugged into a power source.
Outdoor lights can be hazardous because they are much taller than interior ones, and they also tend to be much brighter. This is why it’s better to work with an electrician when installing lights outside. They will be able to make sure the new installation is safe, and they will also connect it to your home so that you don’t trip any breakers or cause other dangerous problems.
Install Motion Sensor Lights
When installing your exterior lighting, it is essential to install motion sensor lights that turn on when the movement gets detected and off after a certain amount of time without movement has been detected using timers or photocells. Motion sensor lights use the latest technology to detect movement and turn on automatically.
Motion sensors can get programmed to come on at certain times of the day. This saves energy and money because you may not need to leave a light on for hours or even days when no one is there. Motion sensor lights are also convenient for people with pets or children who have nighttime bedtime routines. The outdoor motion sensor lights will only turn on when your child goes out at night to do their business, so they don’t have to come in from the dark every time they go outside.
When considering exterior lighting design, the most important thing to consider is how much light you need. The amount of illumination necessary will vary depending on what time of day it is and whether or not there are any obstructions in the way that might block your light source. For example, if a house has trees blocking its view at night, more lights would be necessary than someone who lives next door with no obstacles nearby.
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