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How to Buy Outdoor Lights

Table of contents

Things to Consider

The lighting that surrounds your residence speaks a language of its own. It can welcome you home, greet visitors, warn away intruders, guide your way around the property and call attention to landscape and architectural features. Since outdoor lighting plays such a vital role, it’s well-worth taking time to plan what you need to best complement your home and your lifestyle. Consider the following:

Where do you live? 

  • Mild climate: The world is your oyster.  Simply shop for outdoor fixtures that are damp location rated.
  • The ocean, in the desert or other harsh locales: check out marine-grade fixtures, which are designed to withstand extreme weather, ocean air, desert heat and heavy industrial/urban pollution.

What style is your home?

  • Traditional: look for fixtures with texture, color, patterns and ornamentation that echo your home’s architecture.
  • Modern: clean lines and minimal details complement contemporary exteriors.
  • Transitional: lights like Access Lighting’s Poseidon, which unite a timeless shape with unique glass and finishes, including a durable marine grade option, can work well with both traditional and modern structures. 

What size are the doors? 

  • As a general rule, balance the scale of the fixture with the height of the door.
    Front door: 7-feet tall: fixtures 18 inches or less in height.
    Front door: 8- to 9-feet tall: fixtures 18 inches in height or taller.
    Side door: fixtures 18 inches or less in height
    Garage man doors: fixtures 14 inches in height or less; also consider a spotlight or a wall-washer to direct light to best advantage.

Are there any state or local restrictions?

  • Codes vary by region and municipality. In California, for instance, compliance with Title 24 helps meet the state’s goals for reducing energy consumption.
  • The Dark Sky Society supports community efforts to control light pollution. Check out their recommendations, like shielded fixtures with energy-efficient light bulbs.
  • If you live where there’s a homeowner’s association, ask about rules governing style and type.

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