Outdoor lighting can do more than just illuminate your home. It can transform the way your home looks and feels from the outside in, creating a warm and inviting welcome before stepping at the front door.
Plus, it works well into the night, enhancing safety, security, and functionality, all while adding aesthetic appeal. Continue reading to see which outdoor lighting ideas best fit your home’s aesthetic!
Five Things You Should Consider Before Installing Outdoor Lighting
Illuminating the outside of your house has many benefits, but before you get started, think about your needs and preferences. Let's explore some outdoor lighting tips that’ll guide you in achieving the perfect setup.
1. How much light your space needs.
Measuring your room will allow you to illuminate enough to not be left in the dark. You can do this by multiplying the square footage of the area you have by 1.5 to estimate the total wattage required.
For instance, if you have a 100-square-foot space, you’ll need approximately 150 watts.
2. What you want to achieve.
Narrow down your choices by thinking about goals you want to achieve with new outdoor lighting. Answer the following questions:
- Do I want to enhance safety? This could be in places like stairways, paths, and entrances.
- Do I want to highlight garden features? Lighting can be placed strategically to illuminate plants, sculptures, and even architectural elements.
- Do I want to create an ambiance for entertainment? You can make your backyard a cozy getaway by warming it up with mood lighting.
3. Weather resistance.
Outdoor lights are exposed to everything from snowstorms to heavy winds. Consider the weather in your area and select lights that can stand up to the elements.
By setting a firm budget, you can design your dream space without overspending. Include costs like price of fixtures, wiring, and professional installation (optional).
5. Personal capabilities.
Even the most experienced DIYers don’t touch electricity—fuses, wires, and switches are tricky to figure out. If you aren’t 100% sure how to properly install lights, hire an electrician to ensure optimal results.
What Kind of Light Bulbs Do You Use for Outdoor Lights?
Whether it cozy, bright, or accentuated, the mood you want will determine the type of light bulb you should choose. Here are the most common ones:
The cheapest light bulbs on the market, they don’t last very long. Use them if you need something temporary. This can be for desk and table lamps, or accent lighting.
Light-Emitting Diode (LED)
LED lights are replacing incandescent lights. The most popular colors are warm white (more yellow) and bright white (cleaner white). Since they’re energy-efficient, they’re a favorite for anyone looking to brighten their outdoors.
Think of these bulbs as more eco-friendly incandescent lights with a longer lifespan. As they emit a white, strong light, these are ideal for spotlights and task lighting.
These bulbs last ten times longer than incandescent lights and use only about a third of the power. These are excellent for ceiling lighting, but because they contain mercury, they’ll take a second to fully turn on.
Vintage & Decorative
Often called Edison bulbs, these vintage and decorative lights come in different shapes and colors. Great as stringed lights or wall sconces, they have a glowing filament that gives an old-world appeal.
Smart bulbs are best suited for anything that isn’t connected to wall switches. Because you can control them right from your phone, you can turn bulbs on or off through an app, set schedules, and customize colors.
As a sustainable and energy-efficient lighting solution, this outdoor light doesn’t use electricity. You can use these practically anywhere, as long as the bulbs get enough sunlight during the day.
High-Intensity Discharge (HID)
Commonly used in large outdoor areas, HID bulbs offer a powerful and intense light output. Compared to incandescent and fluorescent lights, HID bulbs have a longer lifespan and are durable.
Is warm white or daylight better for outdoor lighting?
Most people choose warm white tones. This will make your outdoor space look more natural. Plus, psychologically, it’s thought to be more welcoming and soothing compared to cooler-toned lights.
How Do You Arrange Outdoor Lights?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for arranging outdoor lights. Your arrangement will be driven by your space and goals. Take your time; try various things, do your research, browse social media for ideas, or consult a professional.
Remember that each part of your yard might require a different lighting set-up, depending on what surrounds the area.
For example, you wouldn’t want to put a well light (a light that shoots light upwards) in your garden because it would simply aim at an open space. In this case, opt for a small umbrella-looking lamp that points its light to the ground, illuminating the plants and flowers above it.
Backyard Lighting Ideas
Need inspiration? Here are some ideas to light up your most-used outdoor spaces.
Paths & Steps
Solar-powered path lights or low-voltage LED step lights provide practical illumination while incorporating a touch of charm to guide your way.
Driveways, Alleyways, & Garages
HID light bulbs installed in floodlights or wall-mounted lights are a bold lighting source that can be motion-censored and used with an outdoor light timer to increase security and safety.
Entries & Doorways
Welcome your guests by using warm white LED bulbs at the front of your house in wall-mounted sconces or lanterns.
Decks & Patios
Install string lights or LED deck lights to generate an enchanting atmosphere for entertaining or relaxing outdoors.
Garden & Landscape Features
Showcase your garden's beauty with adjustable LED spotlights or well lights to highlight trees, plants, or sculptures and add depth and visual interest to your landscape.
It’s Time to Enjoy Your Outdoor Space!
With these outdoor lighting ideas, you can establish a warm and inviting atmosphere. At the same time, you can improve safety, security, and functionality. Always think about your needs, budget, type of bulb, and, most importantly, the size of your space. With this guide, you can easily create a beautifully illuminated back or front yard!