How to Choose 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: picking out your lights!
When you're selecting an outdoor light fixture, keep these four questions in mind:
What style do I want? Is your home's architecture stately and elegant? Angular and contemporary? Craftsman? Spanish? We have outdoor lights to suit any decor style. If you're not sure what style your home is or what style you like, that's OK. Browse our selection, pick out some lights you like, take a look at them side-by-side and see if there's a common thread between them that you like. This can help you discover your personal style. (You can also take a look at Lighting Styles 101 for more!)
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 in your area 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.
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 wet area rated for direct exposure to rain. If you're using a hanging lantern under a covered area, it can be damp area rated, which means it should not be directly exposed to rain. For areas like beach and lake homes, you may want to consider an outdoor light fixture made of sturdy materials, such as a marine-grade resin or Vivex (by Maxim Lighting).
For more information on planning your outdoor lighting, check out these resources:
- How to Plan Your Outdoor Lighting
- A Guide to Exterior Light Fixtures
- Lighting Your Outdoor Space
- Landscape Lighting 101
Emma Harger-Young - Lights Online