Choosing Outdoor Light Fixtures
3 Questions To Ask When Choosing Outdoor Light Fixtures
With so many varieties of outdoor light fixtures available today, it's not always easy to choose the right one for your home. However, a few practical rules can help you narrow down your options quickly so that you can move on to the fun part – choosing a style!
When you're selecting an outdoor light fixture, keep these three questions in mind:
Are there any state or local ordinances I should be aware of? Some states, like California, require outdoor light fixtures to be energy efficient or Dark Sky certified (to reduce light pollution). Be aware of these requirements before you buy.
How much light am I looking for? The single most important factor when choosing an outdoor light fixture is its lighted appearance and effect at night. In general, you want to use multiple outdoor light fixtures together to avoid too much brightness in a single fixture. For a single incandescent outdoor light fixture, 40 to 75 watts is a good range. If you're working with a fluorescent, try to stay in the 9 to 13 watt range.
- Is this light durable enough? Consider the climate of your home. Most outdoor light fixtures are now treated with special coatings to weather the elements. If you're using an outdoor wall light or post light, make sure it's UL Wet Location listed. If you're using a hanging lantern under a covered area, it can be Damp Location Listed. For areas like beach and lake homes, you may want to consider an outdoor light fixture made of a marine-grade resin, which is even more durable than the typical anodized aluminum.
After you narrow down your selection using these rules of thumb, choose an outdoor light fixture that complements your home's architecture. For pointers on selecting the right style, see Lighting Styles 101.
For more information on planning your outdoor lighting, check out these resources about exterior illumination:
- How to Plan Your Outdoor Lighting
- A Guide to Exterior Light Fixtures
- Lighting Your Outdoor Space
- Landscape Lighting 101
Or, call our trained lighting specialists at 1-866-688-3562.