All About Front Entry Lighting (2022)

All About Front Entry Lighting (1) Photo by Karyn Millet/Lee Ann Thornton interiors

Drive down any residential street, and we'd bet your eye is instantly drawn to the house with the inviting, well-lit front door. Done right, exterior entry lighting makes the most of what you've got, complementing your home's architecture, increasing security, and helping guests navigate their way to the front landing.

That said, it can be a real challenge to select the perfect fixture. Just stroll down the lighting aisle of any home store, and it's easy to be overwhelmed by the countless styles, finishes, bells and whistles—and that's before you look online.

Start by evaluating your space to determine the type of fixture (or fixtures) that best fits it, whether wall-mount, ceiling-mount, or, in very large entries, a combination of the two. In every case, the overall goal is to cast a wide pool of light that illuminates the entry, banishes dark corners, and casts a warm glow that's easy on the eyes, says San Francisco-based lighting designer Jody Pritchard. We'll explain how to determine the correct size, placement, style, and finish of your front-door lighting. Follow these steps to make your house the one that says "welcome home."

Shown: A pendant that casts a wide pool of light provides primary illumination. Side lanterns as secondary light sources need not adhere to design-math rules. Medium Federal sconces, about $460 each; shadesoflight.com

Similar to shown: Livex Lighting Mansfield 2-Light Hanging Lantern, about $260; wayfair.com

Front Porch Light Diagram

All About Front Entry Lighting (2) Illustration by Arthur Mount

Here are the basics of a pendant; sconce and flush-mount fixtures have similar housing and inner workings, and a mounting plate.

Porch Light Fixtures: Important Considerations

Cost

All About Front Entry Lighting (3) Photo by Crystal Craig/Dreamstime.com

What does It cost? There's an option for every budget, but expect to pay $250 and up for a quality fixture made from solid-cast or hand-wrought metals.

DIY or hire a pro? Changing a light fixture is a relatively simple job. Installing a dedicated junction box for a new fixture takes more skill—and tools. For that, you may want to go pro.

Maintenance

All About Front Entry Lighting (4) Photo by khoroshkov/iStock

Maintenance? While unlacquered brass requires polishing to keep it shiny, most fixtures can be cleaned with a damp cloth. Regularly applying a thin coat of wax to exposed metal parts helps protect against oxidation.

How long does it last? Warranties range from 30 days to a lifetime for some lights made from solid copper. One to two years is the industry average.

Deciphering UL Ratings

All About Front Entry Lighting (5) Photo by David Papazian/Photographer’s Choice RF/Getty Images

Light fixtures sold in the U.S. should carry an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) rating on the label that indicates what kind of location they can be used in. Dry-rated lights cannot be subjected to excessive moisture and should not be hung outdoors. But tolerances vary for those that are damp- and wet-rated.

The difference between the two is in the construction. UL-rated fixtures for damp and wet locations use different combinations of drain holes, seals, and protective gaskets to prevent water from accumulating on live wires and other electrical parts. Select the right fixture rating based on your entry's level of exposure.

Damp-rated: Suitable for sheltered porch areas that are protected from water—even during storms—and from excessive moisture, such as salt air.

(Video) How to Pick Front Porch Lights | Catherine Arensberg

Wet-rated: Necessary around doors fully open to the elements, where rain, snow, and heavy fog or salt air can come into direct contact with the fixture.

How to Install: Do the Math

All About Front Entry Lighting (6) Photo by Courtesy of Thistlewood Farms/Lamps Plus; Illustration: Arthur Mount

Not sure how a fixture will look once you take it out of the showroom and install it at home? Before pulling the trigger on your purchase, double-check that it follows the guidelines for scale on the opposite page. Then make a mock-up of your selection: Cut cardboard to the size and shape of the light and affix it to the house near the door. Back off and take a look from the bottom of the driveway or the middle of the street to be certain it looks right.

Double Sconces

Door-framing lights, placed 6 to 12 inches from the door casing, are a natural choice for symmetrical entries. A 13- to 15-watt LED bulb (labeled 60- to 70-watt equivalent) per fixture is usually enough.

Single Sconce

All About Front Entry Lighting (7) Photo by Courtesy of Landscapes by Dallas Foster Inc.; Illustration: Arthur Mount

When space is limited and there's no surface overhead, one fixture—with a single 13- to 15-watt LED bulb (60- to 70-watt equivalent)—can suffice. Hang it on the doorknob side for a well-lit view when greeting guests.

Flush-Mount

All About Front Entry Lighting (8) Photo by David Papazian/Getty Images; Illustration: Arthur Mount

This is an ideal solution for entries with low ceilings, screen or storm doors, and porches open to wet weather. Use a 23- to 40-watt LED bulb (100- to 125-watt equivalent) or multiple bulbs with the same total wattage.

Pendant

All About Front Entry Lighting (9) Photo by Aimee Herring; Illustration: Arthur Mount

A hanging fixture lights a high-ceilinged entry, but not where it's windy. With opaque glass, use a single 23- to 40-watt LED bulb (100- to 125-watt equivalent); for clear glass, use several smaller bulbs with the same combined wattage.

Front Entry Light

Good Choice

All About Front Entry Lighting (10) Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Price Range: $50-$150

Base metal: These basic fixtures are usually made of inexpensive steel sheet metal, which can be easily bent around a form and welded.

Finish: May be sprayed on or applied with more expensive and more weather-resistant powder coating. As the finish wears, exposed steel surfaces will oxidize and eventually rust.

Glass: This is usually clear, with no faceting.

Shown: Portfolio Brayden Outdoor 2-Light Wall Lantern, about $60; lowes.com

Better Choice

All About Front Entry Lighting (11) Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Price Range: $150-$250

Base metal: Typically made of more rust-resistant aluminum, which is difficult to weld. Fixtures are assembled from multiple (and potentially more detailed) stamped, spun, and die-cast pieces.

(Video) Front Entrance Lighting

Finish: May involve several layers of sprayed or hand-applied color. While aluminum can oxidize, it does so at a slower rate than steel. Powder-coated fixtures resist oxidation longer.

Glass: Options include decorative beveled or seeded glass.

Shown: Quoizel Newbury 2-Light Outdoor Wall Lantern, about $200; lightingdirect.com

Best Choice

All About Front Entry Lighting (12) Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Price Range: $250 and up

Base metal: Generally made of brass—or, less often, of copper—cast from an intricate mold or constructed by hand. Details will be sharper.

Finish: Expect long-lasting electroplated and hand-applied, multilayer finishes. Lacquered brass resists oxidation for years. Polished or left to patinate, uncoated brass and copper last for decades.

Glass: Decorative options may include double-beveled or intricate art glass.

Shown: Lancaster 2-Light Wall Lantern, about $270; seagulllighting.com

Get The Right Style

Cottage

All About Front Entry Lighting (13) Photo by Wendell T. Webber

For simple exteriors, opt for quaint details, such as lantern arms that curlicue or panes of vintage-look opaque glass that emit a soft glow.

Shown: Sea Gull Lighting Ardsley Court 1-Light Outdoor Lantern, about $132; homedepot.com

Tudor Revival

All About Front Entry Lighting (14) Photo by Wendell T. Webber

A house with arched windows, stonework, or a steeply pitched roof calls for medieval-inspired lighting, often featuring hammered metals and seeded glass.

Shown: Mill Creek Hanging Outdoor Lamp, about $123; homedepot.com

Arts and Crafts

All About Front Entry Lighting (15) Photo by Wendell T. Webber/Michael Chini/Time Inc. Digital Studio

Fixtures with angular profiles and ogee edges are a good fit for a bungalow and other clean-lined early-20th-century styles.

(Video) Best Lights Around the Front Door full video.

Shown: Quoizel Hillcrest 1913 Outdoor Pendant, about $310; lumens.com

Colonial

All About Front Entry Lighting (16) Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Unadorned houses of the era, such as saltboxes and Cape Cods, were often lit by copper onion lanterns, durable enough for seaside living. Today, reproductions lend the same rustic charm.

Shown: Onion Wall Lantern, about $300; hammerworks.com

Ranch

All About Front Entry Lighting (17) Photo by Wendell T. Webber

While traditional-style lights are often used on mid-century homes, linear, almost aerodynamic silhouettes and burnished or powder-coated metals are also true to the period.

Shown: Sea Gull Lighting Outdoor Bullets, about $103; lightingnewyork.com

Colonial Revival

All About Front Entry Lighting (18) Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Detailed fixtures clad in gilded metal or glossy black stand up to the formal entrances of homes with symmetrical facades and columned porticoes.

Shown: Silverton Classic Torch Wall Bracket, about $260; rejuvenation.com

Victorian-Era

All About Front Entry Lighting (19) Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Lights with enthusiastic embellishment match the romantic hallmarks—gingerbread trim, fancy shingling—typical of Queen Annes.

Shown: Devon Large Wall Lantern, about $350; houseofantiquehardware.com

Classical

All About Front Entry Lighting (20) Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Sculptural and statement-making, these globes work well on the commanding facade of an urban rowhouse or a double-height porch.

Shown: Medford Classical Revival Wall Sconce, about $375; rejuvenation.com

Federal

All About Front Entry Lighting (21) Photo by Wendell T. Webber

An elaborate, elegant entrance will benefit from lantern-style sconces. Hinged glass doors and candle-covered sockets lend an air of authenticity.

Shown: Bolton Indoor/Outdoor Sconce, about $300; potterybarn.com

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Gaslights

All About Front Entry Lighting (22) Photo by Courtesy of Carolina Lanterns

Before electric lights became widespread in the 1890s, gas lighting was the norm. Today, whether for historical accuracy or for the atmospheric glow they impart, these fixtures are popular once again. They come configured two ways: as "gas mantle," where the gas terminates in a wire- or ceramic-fiber cloth for a steady white light (equivalent to a 50- or 60-watt bulb), or as "open flame," a softer candlelight flicker similar to a 25-watt bulb. Keep in mind, fixtures are pricey, starting at $600, and need a gas hookup; check local codes for requirements.

Shown: The Atlas lantern, about $700; carolinalanterns.com

Pick Your Finish

Oil-Rubbed Bronze

All About Front Entry Lighting (23) Photo by Courtesy of Rejuvenation

Can be sprayed or plated over another base metal, but top-quality lights use a chemical process on solid brass that alters the metal's surface.

Works with: most any style of home

Aged Brass

All About Front Entry Lighting (24) Photo by Courtesy of Rejuvenation

Often sprayed or plated over another base metal, then polished to add highlights. For durability, look for solid brass that's aged chemically and tooled for smooth edges.

Works with: any traditional style

Polished Brass

All About Front Entry Lighting (25) Photo by Courtesy of Rejuvenation

Usually electroplated, it's sold lacquered to prevent tarnish or unlacquered to patinate. Lacquer must be reapplied every few years. Unlacquered brass will darken to brown.

Works with: formal traditional styles

Polished Nickel

All About Front Entry Lighting (26) Photo by Courtesy of Rejuvenation

Generally a layer of nickel electroplated over another base metal. May have a clear coat for added protection. Quality lights are plated over rustproof brass.

Works with: coastal and contemporary homes

Matte Black

All About Front Entry Lighting (27) Photo by Courtesy of Rejuvenation

Like all colored finishes, matte or glossy, this can be sprayed on, but for durability, look for longer-lasting powder coating, in which the base metal is covered with a dry powder that is cured with heat.

Works for: providing contrast and color

Copper

All About Front Entry Lighting (28) Photo by Courtesy of Rejuvenation

Can be sprayed or plated over another base metal, but the best lights are made from solid copper. A clear coat can be added to retard oxidation, but copper is usually left to patinate naturally.

(Video) Replacing Front Entrance Exterior Lights

Works for: adding a time-honored look

FAQs

How many types of light should a good lighting design include? ›

There are three basic types of lighting that work together to light your home: General, Task and Accent. A good lighting plan combines all three types to light an area, according to function and style.

What is the importance of good lighting? ›

People receive about 85 percent of their information through their sense of sight. Appropriate lighting, without glare or shadows, can reduce eye fatigue and headaches; it can prevent workplace incidents by increasing the visibility of moving machinery and other safety hazards.

How to properly do landscape lighting? ›

Proper Landscape Lighting Design - YouTube

How do you light an entryway? ›

Large wall or free standing floor mirrors, high-shine console tables, and even lacquered paint on sideboards, shelving, or a wooden staircase will be effective at bouncing the light around a darker hallway.

Which type of lighting is best? ›

Halogen bulbs work well for task lighting because they produce a crisp, clear light and use less energy than incandescent bulbs. Find a halogen bulb. LED bulbs are another good choice because they produce a direct light that won't get hot when you're working for long periods of time.

How does lighting affect the user? ›

It can improve mood and stabilize our circadian rhythms, helping us get a better and deeper nights sleep. Psychologically, light can decrease depression scores and even increase cognitive performance such as reaction time and activation.

What is the purpose of lighting? ›

The purpose of all lighting is to produce illumination. A measurement of light emitted by a lamp.

What is the purpose of the lighting system? ›

Lighting control systems provide the desired amount of light where and when it is needed. They are used to maximize energy savings, satisfy building codes, provide safety & security or comply with green building and energy conservation programs.

How important is lighting in a house? ›

Your lighting should complement the overall tone of the room, as well as match the design of the entire area. By utilizing strategic lighting, you gain the ability to both enhance the look of a room, as well as the overall functionality.

Why is landscape lighting important? ›

Landscape lighting provides these important benefits: BEAUTIFICATION: Focal points stand out and become more beautiful. Textures not seen in daylight become eye-catching detail. Architectural features can be accented, which brings the building and the landscape together for a resort-like feel.

How do you plan an outdoor light? ›

General ideas to keep in mind as you plan
  1. Decide what exterior areas or objects you want to light.
  2. Select the appropriate lighting techniques.
  3. Choose the fixtures and accessories that give you the desired effect.
  4. Choose the power supply, either line or (more commonly) low voltage.
  5. Select the appropriate bulbs.

What kind of light goes in an entryway? ›

Use a series of small pendants to light a long hallway-like entryway, or a single, large pendant for a smaller area.

How high should entryway lights be? ›

How High to Hang Foyer Lighting. The rule of thumb for hanging lighting for home entry is that the bottom of the chandelier or pendant should be at least seven feet above the floor. For example, in a single-story foyer where the ceilings are 9-12 feet high, the lighting should be no closer than 7 feet above the floor.

How big should entryway light be? ›

The rule of thumb for designers is that the hanging lighting fixture should have 2 to 3 inches of height for each foot of ceiling height. For example, a 10-foot high foyer ceiling calls for a chandelier that is 20 to 30 inches in height.

How many types of lighting are there? ›

In general, lighting experts agree that there are four primary types of lighting, each category being specifically tailored and created to serve its unique purpose and fulfill specific needs: Ambient lighting. Task lighting. Accent lighting.

What are the 3 types of lighting in interior design? ›

Interior designers generally recommend using three key types of lighting in every room: ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Each type of lighting is designed to fill a particular need and should be used for a different application or setting in each room.

How many types of light do we have? ›

There are four main types of lights, or light bulbs, currently available on the market: Incandescent. CFL, or compact fluorescent lamp. Halogen.

Searching for the best entryway lighting? These pretty entryway lights will set the tone and make you proud to welcome guests to your home!

These beautiful entryway lighting fixtures will greet visitors and set the tone for the rest of your home.. I’ve been working hard to replace all of the light fixtures in my home that I don’t really like or that bother me the most.. … to transform your home into your dream home!. And if you’re in the market for a new foyer light fixture, keep reading!. Hang your fixture in the center of the room.. Now that you have some quick tips for choosing the right entryway light for your home, let’s start shopping!. Here are some of my favorite entryway lights to consider.. That includes the entryway ceiling lighting!. If so, this entryway pendant can be the perfect compromise for you both.. This traditional pendant looks beautiful over this dining room, of course.. Plus, I love the finish on this one.. Trust me, you’ll take notice of the lighting every time you walk into a new home now.

These pretty yet practical front porch lighting ideas will let your home's entrance take center stage

The gentle glow from front porch lighting ideas will not only illuminate the front of your house but also provide an added level of safety to your home.. Now we have a range of different options that can not only illuminate the porch, but also provide extra security and long term efficiencies that also compliment your overall design aesthetic, even if you only have a small front porch .. The idea of harsh light can seem attractive from a security point of view, but as lighting designer Sally Storey of John Cullen Lighting (opens in new tab) explains, it's important for the porch area to feel inviting.. Approach your front porch lighting ideas in the same way you would your entryway lighting.. Not all your front door ideas need to be practical.. When selecting your front porch lighting ideas, it is important to consider the aesthetic of your front porch design and the exterior of your home.. If you have steps up to your porch then illuminating these is a must.. Identical lights on either side of your porch flanking the door look great, but think about how else you can use lighting to add interest to your front porch decor.. Your first step when choosing a front porch light is to consider the size of your space and your existing porch paint ideas.. They are all on a motion-sensor but can be overridden and they are important in creating the right mood to make guests feel welcome as they approach the house,' explains Sally.. If you are opting for wall lights, think about the size and height of the lights you hang.. You can illuminate the front of a house by incorporating several front porch lighting ideas into your scheme.

With a little knowledge and a little planning, you can lead family and friends safely to your door and cast your home in a whole new light

Light fixtures - Provide illumination, safety, and security.. Low-voltage power cable - Relays electricity from transformer to fixtures.. A 10-light system installed by a pro typically starts at $2,000.. Photo by Arthur Mount; Inset: Andrew McCaul When placed high on a tree, the long, narrow fixtures create a moonlight effect, bathing a stairway or a stretch of path in a soft glow.. Photo by Arthur Mount; Inset: Andrew McCaul Set on stakes driven into the ground, these lamps have canopies in a range of decorative styles, but their real purpose is to project pools of light down toward your feet.. Photo by Andrew McCaul Some fixtures sell for $30.. Photo by Andrew McCaul The great appeal of solar lighting is hassle-free installation.. To make the most of that power, manufacturers often sacrifice lamp brightness.. The chart below provides some idea of the ideal light colors available for each option.. To determine which one is best for you, add up the number of watts required to power all your fixtures, then multiply that figure by 1.25, just in case you decide to buy more lights later on.. It's better to create hubs or a T, with the transformer at its base.

Our experts explain what it takes to put your property in the best light after the sun goes down.

Fixture Housing: Protects bulb from elements and helps shape light beam.. When aiming ground lights straight up into foliage, be sure to also bathe the trunk in light.. Home Facade Fit bullet lights with bulbs that have 12-degree beam spreads, and aim them at the corners of your house or architectural details; softer wash lights can fill in the space between them.. Shown: Large Horizon path light by Hadco with 20-watt halogen bulb, about $50; Hadco Lighting. Illustration by Arthur Mount; Photo inset: Andrew McCaul These versatile, compact fixtures are often fitted with bulbs that project a narrow beam—good for precisely lighting house features, tree trunks, and garden structures.. Illustration by Arthur Mount The bulb hides inside a waterproof housing buried in the ground, so you get light without seeing a fixture.

Welcome guests to your home by using one of these front door entryway ideas to update your style and curb appeal. These changes are easy—some are DIY.

Ed Gohlich. Change up the look of your home's facade by switching out your front door.. In addition to a welcome mat, consider laying down a larger outdoor rug to give the front porch a more polished look.. Coordinate the finishes on your exterior smart technology—the matte black on this home's sconce, doorbell, and hardware match its modern facade—for a cohesive front entry.. Install trim to update your front entry with architectural character.. Choosing a contrasting color for the trim can make these architectural details really pop.. Choose a window grid design that works with your home's architectural style .. Vary the size and shape of containers to add interest.

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