Lighten Up: Exterior Lighting Makes Home More Appealing and Safer

By Kathryn Weber, Living Space

A home that's welcoming and warm usually has one design element working for it that other homes do not: good lighting. This is one of designers' secret weapons — and for good reason. Good lighting sets a mood, creates a special feeling and turns a home into a haven. This is especially true of exterior lighting. Done right, it will make your home the most welcoming one on the block and safer, too.

Start at the Door

A warm glow at the front door creates more than a cozy feeling; it also makes for better security. If you have a light fixture next to the door, consider adding a recessed fixture overhead. These won't get in the way because they're flush-mounted. More importantly, a recessed porch light illuminates whoever is under it better than side-mounted light — and that's important when you're looking through a peephole late at night.

Move to the Walkway

Adding a lamppost or lighting along the walkway to your front door is another nice touch. It brightens up dark areas in the driveway and illuminates the path from driveway to door. Again, safety is a good reason for adding this type of lighting, but it's also a way to make your home more welcoming.

Layered Lighting Looks Best

Lighting can set a mood and helps to play up unique features of your home and landscape. Start by adding lighting around the perimeter of the house. Adding landscape lighting around the house or just at the front looks nice. But when layers of light are added, the effect is even better.

To make a lighting plan, begin by standing out in the street or across the street to get a full view of your house. This helps you see your home more objectively and discern its distinctive features. Note any unique architectural or landscape features, such as ponds, fountains, specimen plants or trees. These are the lighting focal points you'll want to illuminate.

If you have steps on your walkway to the front door, be sure to illuminate them. If you want the lights on the steps themselves, a landscape or lighting company may need to install them. Or you can illuminate the steps from the side. An easy and inexpensive option is to use spotlights from a low-voltage lighting set. Also add lighting at the curves and turns in walkways to create intrigue. Use fixtures with covers that cast light downward on the path.

Start Slowly

With exterior lighting, as with so many aspects of home décor, less is definitely more. Too much exterior lighting looks worse than none at all. That's why it's best to start slowly and add one layer of light at a time. Even a few small changes can make a big difference. Inexpensive white Christmas lights on a tree on the patio can create a romantic and inviting glow in the garden. By adding or revamping your exterior lighting, you'll cast your living space in a new, and safer, light.

This article is written by Kathryn Weber and Tribune Content Agency from Living Space and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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Related Topics: At Home , Home DIY , Smart Home