I’m a big advocate of using lighting in your home as something more than mere function. Lighting fixtures themselves should be beautiful, and choosing the right type – and amount – of lighting can totally transform the way you experience your home. Humans are instinctively drawn to light, and a well-lit space will feel warm, inviting, and cheery. This applies every bit to the outside of your home as it does to the inside, and one of the best ways to enhance your home’s curb appeal is to add a little outdoor lighting.
Now, before you run off – I don’t necessarily mean that you have to do a lot of landscape lighting. While I’m personally a fan of it, it can be expensive to install and often pricy to maintain as well. But if your home is more or less in the dark, adding even just a few pieces of outdoor lighting can go a long way to improving the outward appearance of your home. Take this simple pair of Towson Sconces from ELK Lighting. Between the two of them, they provide ample lighting to illuminate your entire entryway, both giving your home more detail and character by night, and making it easier and safer to navigate in the dark.
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While digging trenches and leading wires through your lawn for a full landscape lighting can be extremely difficult and costly, many homes have existing wiring or even lighting sockets near the exterior doors. Despite the usefulness of light itself, though, opting for a more decorative fixture makes the light do double duty. While a bare bulb might give you all the light you need, outdoor lighting fixtures help focus and direct that light. A really beautiful lighting fixture can add charm to your exterior as well. This slightly vine-like old fashioned Camden Lantern from Artistic Lighting, for example, has just a touch of timeless whimsy that will make your home feel even more inviting.
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Good outdoor lighting can also serve as an initial clue to your visitors for what they should expect from the rest of your home. Especially if your home has a very distinct architectural style or design aesthetic, getting an outdoor lighting fixture to match is a great way to help unify your home decor, inside and out. For example, a cottage style home with a flowering garden would do well with the Camden fixture above, while a maritime-themed home might do better with a lighthouse-style lamp. This Wilkshire Lantern from Landmark Lighting would be right at home in a southwestern ranch style home or even illuminating the outside of a nice rustic cabin.
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That’s really what I mean by lighting doing double duty – like any light, outdoor lighting fixtures produce light, of course, but if they don’t do anything else to enhance the look and feel of your home, they aren’t doing enough. That doesn’t mean you have to have to have a full array of coordinating lights inside and outside your home. Maybe if you do a lot of entertaining out of doors, or want to show off your landscaping it would be nice, but for the average homeowner, all I’m talking about is adding even a single outdoor lighting fixture that’s visually interesting enough to make your guests take note, even if it’s something as simple as this cross-paned West Bay Street wall lantern.
In fact, some of the most fun outdoor lighting has little to do with architectural style or home decor, and everything to do with your own personality. Sometimes, it’s worth putting up an outdoor light that’s just plain fun, something either unusually stylish (like, say, a London-style streetlamp or pagoda-style light) or something a little sillier. Triarch International has a whole line of off-the-wall outdoor lighting designed to do just that, from lanterns that look like pineapples to ones with palm trees right up to this cute Gargoyle Lamp made to guard your doorway. So if most outdoor lighting looks the same to you, and you just want a functional light that will make your guests smile, try to find unique outdoor lighting and get exactly the look that you like (even if it isn’t super sophisticated).
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As with indoor lighting, though,the lighting needs of your space should always take front seat, even at the cost of style. You see, having the wrong types of lights, too few lights, or lights in the wrong places won’t exactly make the effort worthless, but it will undermine the overall effect you’re trying to achieve. For example, if you have a close, closed entryway like the one pictured above, you probably want to opt for a ceiling-mounted pendant-style light like this Grand Aisle Pendant rather than a sconce-style. And, if you want that light to reach the rest of your house, you’re going to need to install additional layers of outdoor lighting – like these matching Grand Aisle Sconces to get the best combination of style, and utility.
Again like indoor lighting, outdoor lighting is often available in sets. That is to say, if you find an outdoor wall sconce for your entryway that’s in a style you love, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a matching pendant style, post lamps, and so on. This can really come in handy if you have a larger home, or if you’re willing to take a bigger leap towards (some) landscape lighting. I really love the way the home above is done up, with matching (but different types of) outdoor lighting fixtures, from the Barrington Gate Post Lamps on the front gate to the matching Barrington Sconces on the walls and Barrington Pendant in the entryway. Not only is the style fluid and unifying, but it’ll also make this house light up like a birthday cake by night. It’ll take a little more work (and a lot more wiring) but the effect is stunning, even without any additional landscape lighting.
What are you looking to do with your outdoor lighting? Do you want a whole big spread of lights, or do you prefer the simple stylish illumination of a single outdoor lighting fixture?
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