Illuminate Your Home’s Exterior - Carolina Country

Illuminate Your Home’s Exterior

Secrets to Fabulous Outdoor Lighting


Illuminate Your Home’s Exterior

Many homeowners spend time and money perfecting curb appeal, but forget to make it shine at night. Yet a well-lit home exterior and surrounding landscape is both beautiful and functional. To help you tailor lighting for enhanced beauty, visibility, security and ambience, consider these tips:

Ambient Lighting

Just like inside the home, layering light outside is essential to create a welcoming atmosphere. Begin by selecting ambient lighting that provides a comfortable level of brightness. Wash the home’s exterior with light, using both downlights and uplights to cast a warm, gentle glow on outdoor living spaces while providing indirect lighting to entryways.

Task Lighting

Next, select task lighting to add focused illumination that makes entrances and pathways visible and shadow-free. A rule of thumb for lighting doorways is to size lighting in proportion to the door itself. Select wall sconces and lanterns that measure anywhere from ¼ to ⅓ the size of the door. Mount outdoor sconces and lanterns at eye level, with the center of the light source between 5½ to 6 feet off the ground and 8 to 10 feet apart.

Install soft, non-glaring path fixtures about 14 inches high that direct most of the light downward. Define the edges of the path by placing lights about one foot from one or both sides of the walkway, staggering their placement slightly to create a natural flow (versus installing them in a completely straight line).

For steps, you can install lights directly into the risers. This soft light provides just enough brightness to mark each tread and prevent glare.

Accent Lighting

Finally, add accent and decorative lighting that accentuates your home’s architectural features. For entertaining areas, select wall-mounted fixtures such as sconces or lanterns, or overhead lighting that focuses task light on work surfaces such as outdoor food counters. Outdoor chandeliers are a stylish way to highlight an overhead deck, sunporch or pergola. For a professional, pulled-together look, choose light fixtures with the same finish as door pulls, fencing and outdoor furniture.

Other accent lighting choices that add flair include post lights, spotlights, strip lights and water-feature lighting.

As a finishing touch, use timers, dimmers or motion sensors to control lights, turning them on or down as desired.

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An outdoor light fixture must be rated for outdoor use to ensure it is waterproof, and that dust and rain won’t interfere with the bulb or circuitry.

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