Standby, retrieving information, this process may take a moment.
Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Carson Outdoor Chandelier by Hinkley Lighting

Carson Outdoor Wall Sconce by Hinkley Lighting

 

Outdoor Lighting Ideas to Update Your Space

The right outdoor lighting makes your home's exterior safer and more beautiful.
Here are some helpful tips to fix up both your fixtures and your outdoor space for the season to come.

Written by

With spring in full bloom and the anticipation of warm summer nights ahead, a well-planned scheme is more important than ever. Lighting not only improves the safety of your home for visitors or guests at night, it also serves to highlight certain features of your home while transforming outdoor areas into comforting and livable spaces long after sunset. Read on to discover some ideas to help you complete your outdoor lighting design.

Plan and Edit

Consider the area you want to light. Is it a garden? A pool area? A rule of thumb is the more lighting, the better, especially for safety at night; but some outdoor areas might not need as much lighting as you might think. Carefully planning your outdoor lighting is an important step, or you run the risk of overdoing it and blinding the neighbors at night. Our can help.

Audit Your Lighting Costs

Speaking of planning, it's a good time to rework your budget. Taking the cost of existing outdoor lighting into consideration could reveal places to save. Are your existing fixtures expending a lot of energy? Opting for LED light bulbs or installing low-voltage can help reduce monthly electric bills in the long run. Not sure where to start? Take a look at our .

Give Existing Lighting a Little TLC

As mentioned above, changing out light bulbs is a good habit in general, since keeping your outdoor space well-lit is key for safety at night and LEDs cost much less to operate and last far longer. Depending on the material of your light fixtures like (e.g. natural copper, for example), regularly cleaning or treating fixtures will ensure the longevity of their function and aesthetic quality. A quick dusting to remove cobwebs and surface dirt is easy; check manufacturer instructions for a deeper clean.

Focus on Safety

How did the last season feel? Did you feel safe enough walking around in the dark? Investing in lighting that focuses on safety is just as important as choosing the right style or look for your house. Think more than wall sconces flanking the front door and consider adding a few more sconces or landscape lighting around the home's perimeter. To up the safety even more, are a good solution for guiding family and visitors to your home's entrance.

Swap Out Old Lighting

If you didn't build your home from scratch, chances are those fixtures were outdated when you moved in. They are likely also inefficient and might be inconsistent with your personal style. Below are some practical tips for switching it up.

Frame the Front Entrance

Flank your front door with a pair of matching for an inviting and well-lit entryway. By properly illuminating the entrance to your home, the light provided by one or two outdoor wall sconces will safely guide family members or guests while creating that warm and welcoming curb appeal.

Other important tips:

  • If you only have space for one, use the side with the keyhole and door handle.
  • As a sizing rule of thumb, each light should measure about one-fourth the height of the door.

If you prefer overhead lighting, opt for an with a generous spread of ambient light. When using wall and pendant lighting together, choose pieces that complement one another stylistically for a consistent outdoor theme.

Whether you use sconces, a pendant or both, you'll want to ensure this space is brightly lit so the entry to your home is safe and secure. Avoid fixtures that leave the space feeling dim.

Do a Lot With Low-Voltage

Whether your yard is a tiny patio or a sprawling space, a few low-voltage path or accent lights can go a long way. Low-voltage lights placed in the right spots can have a big impact on a landscape design—and they're both cost effective and fairly easy to install. Along with basic tools, you'll need just a few things:

  • Transformer (which reduces standard 120-volt household current to the safe 12-volt level)
  • Outdoor low-voltage copper cable
  • Low-voltage lighting fixtures

You can even start small and upgrade your lighting plan along the way. If you want to start with just a few patio lights, purchase a transformer that can handle more wattage than you plan to use immediately. As you design or add to your landscape, you can bring in additional lighting up to the maximum wattage of your original transformer.

No landscape? No problem.

Just as can highlight architectural details or environmental aspects of your property (trees, statues, pillars, etc.) your house can equally serve as a landscape for outdoor lighting. Choose outdoor wall lights that rely on indirect and silhouetted light—these will light the wall as much as a sconce or floodlight would, while adding an interesting design element that doesn't require a fancy landscape.

Think Outside the Box

Outdoor lighting doesn't always have to be strictly functional. Battery-powered, color-changing and even floating can really set the mood in your yard and add a bit of fun, too.

Make Use of Portables

Whether you rent your home or just like the flexibility of rearranging your outdoor area at any given time, plug-in or rechargeable designs are a great alternative to hardwiring fixtures. Many designs are offered with different accessories as well, adding more versatility to the application and location of the lights in your outdoor landscape.

Automate Your Lighting

If you have timers for your lighting, update them along with your clocks when the time changes or as sunset gets later through the season. Landscape lighting is often controlled using the timer, making it set-and-forget at the time of installation. Other lighting, like outdoor wall lights, might be on your home's inside circuits, meaning that switch can be added to home automation assistants like Alexa or a smart switch like the ones from .

Inside Out

Outdoor areas can be designed with just as much intention—and comfort—as indoor areas. Try designing an elaborate dining space or lounge area around an or pendant.

Adding indoor-style lighting designs to your outdoor space helps define the exterior into its own “room,” while also creating a smooth transition from the inside to outside. Pendants, chandeliers and portable floor lamps that are wet rated replicate the comforting feeling of relaxing indoors, and will encourage you to linger outside on nice nights. You can even add a for a built-in breeze under a covered porch, pergola or gazebo.

To determine if a light fixture is safe to use outdoors, you'll want to look to its UL rating.

Learn More:

Update Around the Light Fixtures

If you've already completed an upgrade on your outdoor lighting but you're just not feeling great about the look you were going for, consider other changes to your home and landscape. A fresh coat of paint on the home's exterior can really make a new light fixture pop. Or maybe the current plant life around your landscape lighting is hindering their function. Additional yard work may be required to really let the outdoor lighting shine.

Consult a Professional

If your desired updates feel more elaborate than a DIY project, asking for professional guidance is always the way to go. Installing fixtures outdoors is different than wiring a fixture for indoor use, so be sure that all safety precautions and code requirements are being met outside. Chat or call our ALA-certified lighting experts for help.

SHOP ALL OUTDOOR LIGHTING