Exterior Lighting: How to Do it Right

When it comes to installing lighting for the great outdoors, you’re dealing with a totally unique beast: Mother Nature. You need to consider plants, trees, sunrises and sunsets, and other natural objects that may need deserve a focal point.  Safety is also a concern, as you need to ensure your lights are installed correctly to avoid any issues or damage with water and moisture. Despite all these challenges, outdoor lighting can create a super relaxing ambiance to any exterior. Our tips on getting it right are below:

  1. Choose a cool focal point. The best part about exterior design is the variety of focal points to choose from. Unlike interior spaces where the focal point may be more obvious (think art, or unique accent fixtures like shelving or a counter) outdoor focal points are more nuanced. Maybe you want to highlight a door, retail or restaurant signage, outdoor table seating, or a courtyard – regardless, picking a few things that need to be illuminated for aesthetic or practical purposes is a great place to start.

  2. Nail down your type of light. While walkway lights and flood lights are common for outdoor lighting, spotlights and gooseneck lighting are another great option that work with a variety of bulbs. Our fixtures like the Mint Marshall  mounted as a gooseneck sconce and the Burntside Bullet make for great spotlights and sign lights. Hang them under a pavilion or awning to create a cozy ambiance without flooding an entire outdoor space with light. Our fixtures also work with a variety of bulbs. Choosing the color temperature and brightness that works for your space is essential. Reminder to be aware of light pollution and energy efficiency. It never hurts to go with a low wattage bulb if possible.

  3. Create different effects. While hidden lights can create a cool chic and modern effect, we love the idea of mixing hidden and apparent lighting fixtures in outdoor spaces. We carry a variety of sconces that make perfect framing for a door or window – making a unique industrial pairing with natural elements. 

  4. Install it right. Safety is the number one priority when installing outdoor lighting. This will ensure that the light doesn’t get damaged, or cause any harm to structures or other items around if it comes in contact with water or moisture. Choose a fixture that is meant to be used outside or is suitable for outdoor conditions. Keywords like “weatherproof,” or “weather resistant,” will give you a clue that they are safe. All of our light fixtures are UL Listed for dry and damp location. This includes- underneath an outdoor awning, pavilion, roof, or structure. Check out some of our favorites here.

  5. Consider smart lighting. We obviously love vintage, refurbished fixtures, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love the latest technology. Timers, daylight sensors, occupancy sensors and event scheduling are all examples of tech that will help bring your lighting to the next level. Any type of light fixture (even our Soviet-era ones) simply has to be plugged in. The smart systems connected to the lamps are controlled via control panel in your space or an app. Whether you’re looking to add lighting to your commercial or residential exterior, these systems are extremely smart additions to consider.

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