Darker evenings require the right illumination. Is your outdoor space ready for the long, dark months ahead?
There is still time to update your current exterior lighting situation to best illuminate the night. We have developed a five category check-list to help walk you through the process, and make sure that you have the right type of illumination in your outside areas.
Front Entrance– Size and Scale are important here. Your front door has a big impact on the overall look and feel of your home, not to mention can add the perfect amount of curb appeal when properly lit. There is a common sizing formula we often use to determine the right proportion for your front entry fixtures. If you have two wall mounted fixtures flanking your exterior entrance, we suggest selecting a size that is approximately 1/4 of your overall door height. Only one fixture on the wall? Up this dimension to 1/3 of the height of your door. Check out this tutorial from Hinkley Lighting explaining this process-
Proper illumination is also important. We recommend having a minimum of 1200-1600 lumens of light by your exterior entrances, as well as each overhead garage door. This would equal the amount of light projected from a standard 75-100 watt regular incandescent lamp, or an 18-22 watt LED. Live in a secluded neighborhood, or a dark rural area? We recommend a minimum of 1800-2000 total lumens in each of these same locations. For more information on lumen output as compared to lamp wattages, click here.
Remember to also stay true to the style and architecture of your home when choosing the look of your fixtures. When in doubt, transitional fixtures and simple structures usually stand the test of time. Be careful not to force a look that is more modern or too traditional for the style of your house. Need a little more guidance in this department? Snap a picture or two and head into the showroom. Our talented lighting consultants can help make this selection process a breeze.
Steps, Sidewalks and Paths– Safety is Key in these areas. You want to be able to have a clear sight-line while walking, as well as make sure your guests have a well illuminated path to the entrances and exits of your home. Layering your lighting sources is important. The combination of wall mounted lanterns along with low-level landscape lighting will ensure the proper amount of lumen output in these specific areas where you need to increase visibility. Adding exterior post-mounted lanterns near entrances or stair railings is another optional addition for extra illumination on your exterior walkways.
Outside the Garage– Make a Statement. Your exterior garage lighting serves as a primary source of your driveway illumination, as well as a direct tie into the other main entrances of your home. These fixtures should coordinate with the rest of your exterior lighting, and be of an appropriate scale to the garage doors themselves. The same formula used for your front entrance does not directly apply here. However, it is important to keep the large scale of the garage structure in mind when selecting the correct size of these fixtures. These are typically the same size, if not a step larger than the fixtures selected for the front entrance. As with many aspects in lighting, there is never a “one size fits all” formula to use. Manufacturers provide varying size options to choose from throughout their product offerings, as everyone’s home is unique in shape, size and scale.
In many instances, the light from the fixtures on the garage exterior are used to illuminate some of the driveway to the home, as well. Because of this, it is important to make sure that each fixture has a minimum rating of 1200-1600 lumens, as referred to above.
Decks and Porches- Enjoy the Outdoors. Living in the Midwest has many advantages, but the cold winter months are not always one of them. With limited time to spend enjoying the warmer seasons, it is important to take full advantage of the good weather and sit outside! If you are lucky enough to have a beautiful deck or front porch at your home, make sure it has proper exterior lighting to create a cozy enough environment for you to utilize the space. Adding additional wall lanterns or deck mounted tread lighting will allow you to enjoy the outdoors into the evenings, and until the first snowflake falls!
Patios and Exterior Living– Extend your Living Space. Your yard is an extension of your home. Even in chillier fall temperatures, your outside environments can serve as great entertaining areas with the proper amount of illumination. There are several ways to add light to these spaces- Post or Pier Mounted Lanterns, Low Voltage Landscape Lighting, or Decorative String Light Kits. Adding one or all of these products will not only provide you with enough illumination for your entertainment needs, but will add unique character and charm that you and your guests will enjoy.
With any of the categories listed above, be sure to consider the right lamping option for your personal needs. Many exterior light fixtures today will come with an LED lamping option, or will accept a conversion type LED lamp in the standard socket assembly that is included. By switching to this option, you will be saving time and money, considering most LED fixtures have a rated longevity of 40,000 hours or 15 years! And, they use about 75% less energy than the incandescent lamps of the past.
Confused on where to start? Come visit us in the showroom and let us help you prep your exterior environment with the right amount of illumination this year!