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Outdoor Lighting for Beauty and Safety

April 30 2010

Looking for a new way to put a shine on your drive-up appeal? By implementing the right kind of lighting fixtures and placing them strategically, you can make your home safer and more attractive.

A variety of fixtures for different purposes are on the market for creating maximum impact on your home. Whether you choose uplights, spotlights, or twinkle lights, you can highlight your home’s best features as well as light the way to your entry for your guests.  

The First Steps

The first thing to do is step back from your home enough that you can see all the major features on any visible exterior walls or landscaping. Start to look for areas that you think are attractive and ask yourself- how you would like these areas to draw more focus?

Some typical questions to begin with are:

– Do you elegant brickwork, bay windows, or a verandah to accent with rows of uplights? 
– Are there statues, fountains, pools or other features you would like to show at night?
– Is your home beautifully landscaped? Are there any trees or plantings you’d like to spotlight?
– How visible are your doors and walkways from the street? Are visitors able to see pathways and steps clearly?

Knock, knock

The front entryway is the opening act for your home, so starting here is a safe bet if you’re planning to do an extensive lighting project. This includes the walkway all the way to the front door.

Starting with the front door, there are a few really beautiful options on the market that will punch up attention and make your home an exciting visual experience for you and your visitors.

Few choices look better than the classic wall-mount lamp. But don’t think that your options are limited; there are all types of fixtures to choose from in all price ranges from classic to ultra modern.  To find the look for you, set your browser to lightinguniverse.com to see what’s available. You can also choose your lighting by paying an homage to the era your home was built-with an updated twist. For example, search online for “mid-century modern” for the classic ranch style home or “Tiffany lamps,” a perfect style for the bungalow or Tudor. 

Ceiling lights are quite beautiful and come in flush mount or pendant style- which hangs like a necklace from your exterior ceiling. Pendants are for entry ways that are tall and open. Don’t  install a pendant style on short or cramped entries; it will make the space look smaller than it is, and visitors could bump into the light.

Consider light layering- when you have lights in multiple locations that work harmoniously together to create a bright welcoming feeling. Ezinearticles.com warns that relying on singular bright lights can cast too much concentrated glare onto your front door making it harsh on visitors and difficult to see your house numbers from the street. 

Another nuance is frosted glass, which can also cut harsh glare. So can using lower wattage bulbs for less glare.

Sometimes, it’s good to mix it up, but it takes a deft decorative touch to mix metals in a small space. Keep your brass doorknocker, chrome door handle and aluminum windows in mind before adding another metal color such as black or copper. 

Light the path

Naturally flowing from the door is the walkway to the sidewalk and street. Some light may spill out from your entry, but you want to light the way to the door as well.

One benefit of pathway lighting, is that the light cast on your walk way and any landscaping can radiate within a diameter of approximately four feet.

To avoid that airplane “runway” look, light one side of the sidewalk. Make a flowing curving flower garden or groundcover and take the lights down the walkway and around the bed. This will help lead the eye to other features of your home.

Helping the green movement, Earthtechproducts.com has a solar powered walkway lamp that is both attractive and affordable. For the homeowner on a budget, this is one of the best ways to light your exterior without having to worry about your energy costs increasing – the sun does the work for you.

If you desire a more uniform look, pick a material for lights that will show in the daylight that are similar to what you used on your front door, such as cast-iron.

Spot lighting

Spot lights cast more light than the lamps used on walkways. They can be put low on the ground or high on a wall, or they can hang from the eaves of your home to focus on specific features. Each light provides unique shadows and can bring architectural and landscaping features center stage. 

On the ground, you can install flood lights that shoot light up against your home or bushes, also known as uplighting. This kind of light is all about drama.

Outdoor lighting can make your home more attractive at night, but it can also make your home more attractive to future home buyers, as a beauty and safety feature. And that’s always a good investment.