Your Guide to Choosing Outdoor Light Fixtures

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Imagine a front door lit by a walkway of low wrought-iron and mahogany lamp posts encasing warmly glowing bulbs. Now imagine a door lit by a single bare, glaring light bulb hanging from a rusty chain and connected to an exposed wire encased in cracking plastic.

What would you feel when approaching these doors? How do you want your guests and visitors to feel when they approach your home? Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when shopping for new outdoor light fixtures.

Consider Your Home’s Style

From the primary building materials used to architectural design to color, there are many factors that influence what type of home you have. A stately brick home will require different fixtures than a cozy log cabin or an ultra-modern glass and steel domicile.

Choose a word or phrase to describe your home, then find fixtures that bring that same word to mind. Options may include regal, sturdy, colonial, welcoming, industrial, ranch-style, or historical.

Choose Colors to Complement or Contrast

Selecting lighting fixtures that do not go well with your home’s color scheme can create an effect that is jarring and unpleasant to the senses. If you are going for a more bold style, you may choose fixtures based upon the principles of color blocking. Orange fixtures on a blue home, or red fixtures on a green home, for example.

For a more subtle theme, colors should be selected from within the same palette as your home. Warm colors such as oranges and yellows can be paired with different warm shades, beige, or whites. Cool colors, including most shades of green and blue, are complemented by earth tones, grays, or blacks. Contact a professional to help you identify which colors will best integrate with your house’s finish.

Consider the Finish

Outdoor light fixtures should be durable since they are exposed to the elements. The following lists some of the pros and cons of some common material options.

  • Aluminum: inexpensive but the least durable and most likely to fade or corrode.
  • Stainless Steel: adds a contemporary edge to design, but can easily become dull or corroded without frequent care.
  • Brass: attractive color for warm color palettes, won’t corrode, though color may change.
  • Copper: less expensive than brass though just as lovely, may oxidize with age unless properly cared for.
  • Vivex: extremely durable, biodegradable, and can withstand extreme temperatures (from below -20°F up to 130°F) which makes it suitable for all climates.

Lighting for Entryway and Garage

In addition to the elements of design, another factor in selecting light fixtures for your outdoor spaces is security. It is well known in the field of security and law enforcement that criminals tend to avoid better-lit areas.

You can also opt for LED lighting as it is energy-efficient and offer brighter light. Houses with effective lighting on their front and back doors and other possible points of entry are far less likely to be broken into or vandalized.

With that important consideration in mind, you’ll also want to make sure your entryway and garage door lighting adheres to any local requirements. Many municipality and homeowner’s association (HOA) regulations dictate certain kinds of light are not allowed on the front of the house.

One simple step you can take to make sure your outdoor light fixtures add to your home’s curb appeal is to match them to the material of other trimmings. For example, if your doorknobs or garage door handles are brass, you may wish to choose a brass fixture for your front-of-house lights.

Lighting for Backyard and Patio

Illumination options for the back and sides of your home can be more complex. Multiple light sources or dimmer switches are key for being able to adjust the lighting based on how the space is used. For lively gatherings, brighter lights around the seating areas are appropriate.

More elegant, calming lighting fixtures are better for intimate gatherings. As a security precaution, many homeowners install motion sensor lights in their backyard areas in addition to accent lighting.

Read also: How to Replace an Outdoor Light Fixture

When it comes to your home, you should not have to choose between style and functionality. You want high-quality appliances and fixtures that also suit your personal taste and complement your décor. Let the professionals at Facets of Lafayette help you select the right fixtures for your home. With more than 200 years of combined experience, our courteous staff are the premier experts on outdoor lighting in Louisiana.