Enhance your Home’s Outdoor Aesthetics with Stunning Exterior Lighting Design

Home exterior lighting design is an important aspect of exterior design that can make or break the overall look of your home. A well-thought-out lighting design can highlight your home’s best features, create warmth and inviting ambiance, and add an extra layer of security. In this article, we will delve into the basics of home exterior lighting design, including the different types of lighting fixtures and their uses, how to choose the right type of lighting for your home’s exterior, and some tips and tricks for creating stunning outdoor lighting designs.

The Importance of Home Exterior Lighting Design

Home exterior lighting design is an integral aspect of creating a welcoming, safe, and aesthetically pleasing home environment. Apart from increasing visibility around your property, outside lights also add value to your home, highlighting its unique features.

Creating a Welcoming Entrance

The lighting design of your home’s entrance should aim to create a warm and inviting atmosphere while also providing adequate lighting. With the right combination of fixtures, you can enhance the beauty of your home’s architecture while also ensuring family and friends feel safe and secure.

To achieve the desired effect, consider using a combination of outdoor light fixtures, such as wall sconces, post lights, and overhead lighting. When selecting your fixtures, consider their placement carefully, as well as the type of light they emit. Using warm white bulbs helps to create a cozy atmosphere, while cool white bulbs provide a clearer, brighter light and can be useful for additional safety measures.

Using dimmer switches provides greater control over the ambiance of your home environment and allows you to tailor your lighting experience to your specific preferences or occasion.

When designing your entrance lighting, its accessibility to your home should be key to your decision-making process. Low voltage lighting (12V) and solar-powered lights are great options for path lights and post lights as they can be installed easily without requiring any wiring or trenching. Using timers or photocells can also save energy and reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

Types of Home Exterior Lighting

Exterior design is an essential aspect of any home. It enhances the curb appeal and can also increase security. Nothing beats a well-lit exterior at night, so choosing the right type of lighting is crucial. There are different types of home exterior lighting to choose from, and each serves a different purpose.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is perfect for highlighting specific architectural features of your house. It can also draw attention to outdoor sculptures, plants, and trees. This type of lighting adds depth and dimension to the exterior and can create an impressive visual effect. Some popular accent lighting includes spotlights, uplights, and wall washers.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is meant for functional purposes. It illuminates a specific area, making it easier to perform a task. Examples include porch lights, garage lights, and doorway lights. Good task lighting should be bright enough to provide ample light, but not too bright, as this can create glare.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is used to create an inviting atmosphere. It is the general illumination that makes it easy to navigate around your exterior at night. It can be achieved by using low-level lighting such as garden lights, string lights, and hanging lights. Ambient lighting should be soft and warm, as this will create a relaxing and cozy feel.

Security Lighting

Security lighting is essential to keep your house safe. It is meant to deter potential intruders and also to allow you to see who is approaching your house. Motion-activated lights are popular for security purposes. They switch on automatically when someone enters the area, illuminating it sufficiently. Security lighting should be bright enough to scare potential intruders, but not too bright to irritate the neighbors.

Flood Lighting

Flood lighting is meant to provide general illumination to a large area. It is perfect for lighting parking lots, large gardens, and even sports fields. Flood lighting can be achieved using large bulbs, and it should be installed in a way that does not create glare. It is essential to avoid flooding neighboring properties with excess light, as this can cause disturbance.

Pathway Lighting

Pathway lighting is designed to illuminate walking paths around your house. It is usually installed along the edge of the pathway or sometimes embedded in the ground. LED lights are popular for pathway lighting, as they are energy-efficient and can be controlled remotely. Pathway lighting should be soft enough to avoid glare but bright enough to light up the path.

Step Lighting

Step lighting is installed on staircases to provide visibility and reduce tripping hazards. It is a type of task lighting used in exterior stairs. Step lighting can be installed in different ways, depending on the design of the stairs. It should be bright enough to light up the stairs, but not too bright to create glare.

Deck Lighting

Decks are usually outside and used for relaxing or hosting events. Deck lighting is mainly used for aesthetic purposes, to create the right mood. It can be achieved using different types of lighting, including string lights, post lights, and railing lights. Good deck lighting should complement the deck’s design and be soft enough to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Factors to Consider When Designing Home Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting not only enhances the aesthetics of your house but also provides safety and security. However, designing exterior lighting can be a daunting task, especially when you want to illuminate different outdoor features. Here are some factors to consider before designing home exterior lighting:

Style and Architecture of the House

The style and architecture of your home are integral factors to consider when designing exterior lighting. The aim is to select lighting fixtures that complement the overall style of your house and fit the existing decor. A contemporary house may require sleek and modern lights, while a rustic-style home may need warm and soft lights to emphasize its charm. Additionally, highlighting the house’s unique features, such as arches or pillars, can add to its beauty.

Intended Purpose of the Lighting

The intended purpose of the lighting is another crucial factor to consider when designing exterior lighting. Do you want to illuminate the driveway or pathways for better visibility? Or, do you want to highlight the lush greenery and landscaping around your house? Answering these questions can help determine the type of lighting fixtures to use. For instance, pathway lighting requires low-level lighting, while accent lighting requires bright and focused lighting to highlight specific areas.

Location and Placement of the Lights

The location and placement of the lights are equally important for effective exterior lighting. Consider the areas that need illumination and how much light they require. For example, entrance lighting should provide enough light for security and ambiance, while deck lighting should provide ample light for entertaining guests. Additionally, using different types of lights, such as uplights, downlights, and crosslights, can create a layered and dynamic effect.

Location Ideal Lighting Type of Fixture
Entrance Security and Ambience Wall or Ceiling Lights
Pathways Visibility and Safety Low-level Lights
Landscape Accent and Highlight Spotlights and Floodlights
Deck or Patio Entertainment and Relaxation String Lights and Mounted Lights

How to Choose Home Exterior Lighting Fixtures

Home exterior lighting fixtures do more than just provide light – they can enhance the beauty and security of your home. When selecting lighting fixtures for your home exterior, there are a few factors to consider in order to choose the best fixtures for your needs.


The design of your home exterior lighting fixtures should complement the style of your home and other outdoor features, such as your landscaping. Consider the finish, shape, and size of the fixtures to ensure they fit in with the overall design aesthetic. You might also want to think about whether you want the fixtures to blend in or stand out as statement pieces.


Home exterior lighting fixtures are exposed to the elements, so the materials they are made of should be durable enough to withstand outdoor conditions. Consider materials such as aluminum, brass, copper, or stainless steel, which can stand up to rain, wind, and sun exposure. You might also want to look for fixtures with UV-protected finishes to prevent fading.


Your outdoor lighting fixtures should be able to withstand not just weather-related wear and tear, but also physical wear and tear. Look for fixtures with shatter-resistant or tempered glass, which can break more safely than regular glass. Additionally, choose fixtures that are easy to maintain so you can keep them in good condition for longer.

Energy Efficiency

Choosing energy-efficient lighting fixtures can help you save money on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Look for fixtures with LED bulbs, which use less energy and last longer than traditional bulbs. You can also invest in fixtures with motion sensors or timers to ensure that the lights are only on when they need to be, further reducing energy consumption.

Consistency in Lighting Types

Choosing a variety of lighting types can add interest and depth to your home’s exterior, but it’s important to aim for a consistent look and feel while selecting these different lighting types. This consistency can be achieved by selecting lighting fixtures from similar styles, finishes, and materials. By doing so, you can create a cohesive look that ties everything together.

DIY Tips for Installing Home Exterior Lighting

Whether you want to increase your home’s curb appeal, safety, or both, exterior lighting is a cost-effective and practical solution. With DIY tips for installing home exterior lighting, you can enhance your home’s appearance and security while saving money on installation costs.

Plan Your Lighting Design

Before you start installing your exterior lighting, plan your lighting design. Consider your purpose and the features you want to highlight, such as your porch, door, steps, garden, or driveway. Draw a map of your property and decide where you want to place your lights. Pay attention to the balance, symmetry, and contrast of your lighting design. Place your lights strategically to avoid glare or shadows.

Select a Transformer

A transformer is a device that is used to reduce 120-volt house current to 12 or 24 volts for your low-voltage exterior lighting. A transformer is essential, as it makes your lighting safer and more energy-efficient. Look for transformers with multi-tap options for flexibility in voltage output. Choose a transformer with a capacity that can handle the wattage of your lighting system.

Bury Low Voltage Wiring

Burying low voltage wiring is essential for safety and durability of your exterior lighting. Not only does it protect the wiring from damage, but it also improves the appearance of your landscape. To bury low voltage wiring, dig a trench that is at least 6 inches deep. Lay the wiring in the trench and cover it with sand. Use caution to avoid damaging any existing conduit, cables, or pipes in your yard.

Mount Fixtures

Mounting fixtures can be challenging, but it is a crucial step for installing home exterior lighting. Choose high-quality fixtures that are durable and can withstand the elements. Look for fixtures that match your lighting design and provide adequate illumination without being too bright. Position the fixtures to avoid direct glare and minimize shadowing.

Connect Cables

Connecting cables is the last step for installing home exterior lighting. Use wire strippers to strip about ½ inch of insulation from the tips of your wires. Use a connector to connect the wires without exposing them. Use a weatherproof box to protect the wiring and the connector. Test your lighting system and check for any issues before covering the wires and the box with soil.

Working with a Professional for Home Exterior Lighting Design

When it comes to creating an inviting and functional outdoor space, lighting is an essential element that should not be overlooked. While it’s tempting to handle your exterior lighting design project on your own, hiring a professional can bring many benefits to the table. Not only do they possess expertise in the field, but they can also save you time, money, and headaches. Here are some tips on how to work with a professional for home exterior lighting design:

1. Set clear expectations

The first and most crucial step to working with an exterior lighting designer is to define your expectations. What is the desired mood or atmosphere you want to create in your outdoor living space? Do you want your lighting to be functional, decorative, or both? Do you prefer minimalistic, modern, or traditional designs? Be sure to communicate your preferences, budget, and timeline to your designer to make sure everyone is on the same page.

2. Consider the architectural style of your home

Your exterior lighting should complement the architectural style of your home. For example, a rustic cabin may benefit from warm, dimmed lighting than a contemporary, minimalistic home that can use bright, colorful lighting. Your lighting designer can help you choose the right fixtures, bulbs, and ambiance that match your home’s style.

3. Focus on functionality

While aesthetics are important, functionality is equally crucial when designing exterior lighting. Your lighting should not only improve the curb appeal of your home but also provide safety and security. Make sure your designer incorporates lighting for pathways, steps, entryways, and critical areas around your home. Motion-sensor lights can also deter intruders and provide an added layer of security.

4. Consider energy efficiency

Using energy-efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs can save you a considerable amount on your energy bill and help reduce your carbon footprint. LED lights, for example, are an ideal option for exterior lighting as they are long-lasting, durable, and energy-efficient. Your lighting designer can guide you on choosing the best energy-saving options that fit your budget and preferences.

5. Be flexible and open to suggestions

While it’s essential to communicate your preferences and needs, it’s equally important to be flexible and open to suggestions from your lighting designer. They have the knowledge, expertise, and experience to provide innovative ideas and creative solutions that can take your exterior lighting to the next level. Work collaboratively with your designer to come up with the best design outcome.

6. Trust the Process

The process of designing and installing exterior lighting takes time and patience to ensure a flawless outcome. Trust that your lighting designer is putting your interests first and that they are dedicated to creating the best possible result for you. Allow them the time to work out all the details and put their best foot forward. In the end, it will be worth it.

Home Exterior Lighting Design FAQs

Exterior lighting design is an essential aspect of home design. Well-designed exterior lighting can add security, increase curb appeal, and create an inviting atmosphere. To help you better understand home exterior lighting design, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions.

What Type of Light Bulbs Should I Use for My Home Exterior Lighting?

The type of light bulbs you use will depend on the design of your home and the function you want the light to serve. Halogen bulbs are known for their bright white light and are perfect for illuminating walkways and entrances. LED bulbs are energy-efficient and have a long lifespan, making them a popular choice for homeowners. You can choose from warm white LED bulbs, which give off a cozy and inviting glow, or cool white LED bulbs for a contemporary and modern look.

How Do I Maintain My Home Exterior Lighting Fixtures?

Proper maintenance is crucial for keeping your exterior lighting fixtures in good condition. Here are some tips for maintenance:

  • Clean your fixtures regularly with a soft cloth to remove dirt and debris.
  • Check your fixtures for any damage or corrosion. Replace any damaged parts immediately to avoid further damage.
  • Check your bulbs regularly. Replace any burned-out bulbs immediately to prevent damage to the fixture.
  • Keep your fixtures dry. If you notice moisture inside the fixtures, disassemble them, and dry them out before using them again.

What Are the Benefits of Home Exterior Lighting Design?

Adding exterior lighting to your home has many benefits. Aside from the added curb appeal, exterior lighting can enhance the safety and security of your property. A well-lit home deters burglars and intruders. It also provides added visibility, making it easier for you to navigate your property at night. Additionally, exterior lighting can help highlight your home’s architecture and landscaping, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

What Are the Different Types of Home Exterior Lighting?

There are various types of exterior lighting fixtures, and each one serves a different purpose. The most common types of exterior lighting include:

  • Wall-mounted fixtures – these are attached to the wall and used to illuminate entrances, patios, and decks.
  • Post-mounted fixtures – these are installed on posts and used to light up driveways, walkways, and pathways.
  • Spotlights – these are used to highlight architectural features, gardens, and trees.
  • In-ground fixtures – these are installed in the ground and used to illuminate walls, trees, and other landscaping features.

What Are Some Tips for Designing an Exterior Lighting Plan?

Here are some tips for designing an effective exterior lighting plan:

  • Start by assessing your lighting needs and determining the function of each area.
  • Consider the style and design of your home and choose fixtures that complement its architecture.
  • Use a variety of fixtures to create depth and dimension.
  • Place fixtures strategically to highlight key areas while avoiding glare and light pollution.
  • Use timers and sensors to control your lighting and save energy.

How Can I Save Energy with My Home Exterior Lighting?

There are several ways to save energy with your exterior lighting, including:

  • Use LED bulbs, which are energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan than traditional bulbs.
  • Install motion sensors to turn lights on and off automatically when someone enters or leaves the area.
  • Use timers to control when your light fixtures turn on and off.
  • Install solar-powered lighting fixtures, which use renewable energy and do not need to be connected to your electrical system.

Thanks for Reading About Home Exterior Lighting Design

We hope that this article about home exterior lighting design has been valuable in guiding you towards creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space. From highlighting your landscaping to providing safety and security, exterior lighting can enhance your home in various ways. Don’t forget to prioritize the design and placement of your lighting fixtures to achieve the best results. Remember to check back later for more tips and inspiration on exterior design. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *