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4 Key Tips on Choosing Outdoor Lighting

Many people plan their indoor lighting carefully.

They make sure all the rooms have great ambient lighting and reliable, focused lights. They take the time to install fixtures that don't just complement the house décor, but also highlights the best features of the room.

Beautiful-House-with-decorative lightingThis approach helps create a welcoming atmosphere for dinner parties, get-togethers, and relaxation time.

Now, what if you want to take advantage of the beautiful weather and host a party in your yard? Outdoor parties are popular, especially during summertime.And yet people don't pay anywhere near as much attention to getting lighting right in this situation.

However, not only do people spend less time thinking about it, creating the perfect ambience in yard spaces can even be a little more challenging. So more time should be spent on it!

When planning lighting in these areas, the objective is to create a safe and well-lit space where you can entertain your guests in comfort. Here are some pointers on how to choose your lighting to create properly illuminated, safe and appealing outdoor living areas.

1. Plan First

All types of lighting installations require planning, and outdoor lighting is no exception.

You want to highlight or disguise some areas, add focused lighting to some spaces or ambient light to others. The idea is to create an environment that is well-lit and safe. For example, if you have an outdoor grill or game table, you would need task lights near them.

Focused lights will provide sufficient illumination for performing these tasks or carrying out activities easily. Lounge areas with chairs and sofas don't need bright lights, and ambient lighting will allow people to see each other's faces.

If you focus on these aspects and plan well, it is easy to shop for the right fixtures and stay within the budget.

2. Types of Outdoor Lights

The types of light fixtures you choose depend on the location and purpose of the light. Keeping these aspects in mind while choosing light fittings will ensure you have the best lighting in your outdoor space. The fixtures mentioned below are great options:

  • Wall Lights – These are ideal for patios, porches, entryways, and garages. They are often practical and straightforward in design, which makes them suitable for all kinds of homes. Wall lights can be mounted on almost any vertical surface and provides ample illumination. They're also quite sturdy and durable, so once you install them, you won't have to worry about them for years to come.
  • Ceiling Lights – Ceiling lights are an excellent choice for covered porches, patios, verandas, and other such spaces with a ceiling. Hanging ceiling lights can give the area an artistic feel and enhance its beauty. If you want to create a whimsical atmosphere, add a few hanging ball lights, and you have an outdoor fairyland.
  • Post or Pier Mount Lights – These lights are ideal for spaces without walls or ceilings. You can install them along walkways, driveways, open patios, by pools, and other landscaped areas. As the name suggests, the lights sit atop a post or column and are similar to street lights. These wet-rated lights are specifically designed for large outdoor settings and can handle snow, rain, storms, and other such conditions.
  • Stunning-Chandelier-in-marqueeLandscape Lights – These low voltage lights are specifically designed for landscapes, gardens, and other outdoor areas. You can choose from wall-mounted fixtures or path, step and paver lights. They illuminate the areas well and highlight various elements to create the right impact in the landscape.
  • Tall Lamps and Shades – These are great for patios, porches, and verandas as well. If you find that one corner of your patio is a little too dark, place a tall lamp or table lamp there to add brightness.
  • Chandeliers - OK, not many people will have too many chandeliers in outdoor spaces, but it is possible, and certainly an option if you're glamming it up and really wanting to make a statement. Consider a location that offers a marquee for special events, such as weddings. The marquee is permanently up, and so you don't have the hassle of always putting it up, then taking it down. If the marquee has a high ceiling, it's well worth considering in order to make a statement and look for that more refined clientelle.

These are just some of the many lights you can install in an outdoor space to create a well-lit area. You can also install security lights in garages, along walkways and pathways.  Motion sensor security lights can be a deterrent to intruders.

3. Choose the Right Size

The size of the lights you choose will depend on the level of illumination needed and the dimensions of the outdoor space. It is essential to choose fixtures of the right size to create a balanced look in the decor. Here are some tips on how to select the right size:

  • Wall-mounted fixtures can be around 1/4th the width of a door if you mount them on either side of it. You can cut out a piece of paper and place it against the wall to see just how everything fits.
  • Choose hanging lights only if your ceiling is high enough and there is sufficient room to accommodate them. If you have a low ceiling, opt for flush-mounted ceiling lights because they won't take up vertical space.
  • Take the dimensions of the room or areas into consideration before choosing a hanging light. Make sure it isn't too big, or it will overwhelm the area. There should be at least 7 feet of space between the floor and the bottom tip of the hanging light to ensure smooth movement under it.
  • Post-mounted lights are generally around 7 feet tall. You can buy smaller posts that are approximately half or a quarter of that size for stairs, driveways, and other such areas.

Once you have chosen lights that are of the right size, take the time to determine if they're wet-rated or damp-rated. The former are suitable for outdoor locations and can handle direct exposure to rain. Damp-rated fixtures can endure indirect exposure to wet conditions and are better-suited for roofed areas.

4. Don’t Over-Illuminate

It is easy to go overboard and add too many fixtures to a small, outdoor space. Using high power bulbs and fixtures might seem like a good choice. However, all they do is create a flood of brightness rather than a gentle glow. Low power bulbs at the right locations will ensure the space has soft illumination, which creates a comfortable atmosphere.

It is a good idea to invest in good quality outdoor lighting fixtures. They will be elegant in appearance and perfect in finish. In addition, they would be able to withstand outdoor conditions like harsh sunlight, dust, rain, and snow, saving you unnecessary expenses on repair or replacement.

And then, all that's left is for you to enjoy that perfect outdoor space you've created!