Porch Lighting 101: Your Guide to Lighting the Outdoors

The Highland Park Residential Outdoor Wall Mounted Light Fixture in Black by Steel Lighting Co

Lighting for the outside of your home is, unfortunately, a little less thought out compared to interior lighting solutions. Often, this comes down to the simple fact that your lights are only going to be needed about half as much, as natural lighting from that giant globe in the sky we call the Sun usually does all of the heavy lifting for us. 

Nevertheless, having the right outdoor setup for your porch or backyard can be a huge boon to the level of enjoyment you can expect to get out of those often overlooked spaces. 

There are also a lot more pros to outdoor lighting beyond the idea that it’ll make you see better during the nighttime hours. Outdoor lighting can add a sense of ambiance and warmth to an otherwise drab space, making entertaining guests that much more enjoyable. In addition, it can also provide that extra layer of safety and security to your property, as it’s often much easier to see a burglar when there’s a good enough light outside than when there isn’t. 

As a result, we’ve lovingly crafted this handy guide on the ins and outs of outdoor lighting and how you, with a little help from our own steel barn-style lighting fixtures, can create the perfect lighting setup for your own cozy outdoor space. 

The Basics

The Westchester Residential Outdoor Wall Mounted Light Fixture in Black by Steel Lighting Co

As we said before, having the right kind of outdoor lighting setup can be a great way to essentially hit two birds with one stone. On one hand, you get a wonderfully illuminated space that’ll create all of the right elements of ambiance and warmth to really bring a space together. On the other hand, you’ll also be able to benefit from the added security of knowing that, should any ne’er-do-well come to your property, you’ll be able to see them coming and make the appropriate judgment on what to do. 

Still, there are a few essential things you should always consider when making the decision to revamp your outdoor lighting. These are:

  • What kind of area or space do you want to light up? 
  • Is your lighting for ambiance, or security? 
  • What kind of budget are you operating on? 

In many cases, the light you choose to purchase, and the purpose they serve, will be easily divisible between three distinct styles. 

Ambient Lighting

This lighting will provide a space with an acceptable level of lighting for you to see well enough to complete a basic task, like eating or drinking. For the most part, this won’t be the brightest form of lighting you can enjoy outside of your home, though it also won’t be so soft that’ll find yourself wondering why you got it in the first place. 

Hawthorne Commercial Space Outdoor Wall Mounted Light Fixture in Black by Steel Lighting Co

Task Lighting

As it implies in the name, task lighting is meant for making sure you can see well enough to complete a task without the need for natural lighting. It goes without saying that this is the brightest form of lighting and the one you are most likely to choose when considering your options for the purpose of security. 

In the case of security, most of the time, you’ll find that these types of setups will often feature motion sensors or dusk-till-dawn sensors that can serve a dual function of being able to ensure an added level of security while also managing power consumption. 

Accent Lighting 

Accent light isn’t so much about making you see better, even if that seems kind of counterintuitive. Instead, accent lighting is more about adding a sense of drama or occasion to a space, and will most likely be seen in entertainment areas and around space where there is a specific focus towards a certain spot, such as a statue or feature wall. 

Lighting for the Occasion

Gardena Residential Outdoor Wall Mounted Light Fixture in Black by Steel Lighting Co

So, you managed to ask yourself the key question of just what your lighting setup is going to be used for and what purpose you are hoping it will achieve. Now comes the question of just what type of light is going to be best suited to the task you’ve given it? 

For the most part, when it comes to outdoor lighting, you’re essentially going to be picking between one of two choices, or a combination of both. 

Ceiling Lights

Perfect for walkways, corridors, high ceilings, and large open spaces, the ceiling light is going to serve a lot of function in an outdoor setting. For security, biggest is often best and much of the added benefit of a large ceiling light comes from the massive range it will be able to cast from. 

As an example, our Manhattan ceiling light is a popular choice for a lot of outdoor lighting setups, as the 18” diameter of the hand-spun steel allows a tremendous amount of light to cover a large open area with ease. 

Though, if you’re looking for something smaller, say for a neat little porch setup where the focus will be more about ambiance and mood, a smaller design – such as the Eagle Rock ceiling light, or the Rose Bowl, will be more than suitable. 

Wall Mounted Lights

The issue of course, with ceiling-mounted lighting, comes from the fact that you actually need a ceiling in the first place – something that’s not always the case with the outdoors. As a result, a wall-mounted fixture is often a much more flexible option. 

Wall-mounted lights are often able to serve much of the same functions as their ceiling-mounted counterparts – often with relatively few drawbacks. 

Being wall-mounted allows a light much more functionality and gives you a few options. For example, while bigger may be best for ceiling light, in the case of wall-mounted fixtures – having more light sources can often be an advantage. Particularly if your lighting spaces with entranceways, such as your front or backdoor. 

As an example, our Westchester light, despite being the second smallest design next to our small-yet-mighty Hawthorne, is perfect for lighting porches and driveways when used as a pair for each side of a space. 

Venice Commercial Wall Mounted Light Fixtures in Black by Steel Lighting Co

That’s it for our porch and outdoor lighting guide. If you have any additional questions about how you can light your outdoors, then don’t be afraid to give our team of steel lighting experts a call!

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