When selecting decorative outdoor fixtures, most people shop for lighting primarily based on visual elements such as fixture style and finish. While the design of the fixture itself is a good place to start, another area of equal importance (that is often overlooked) is the appropriate fixture size – in proportion to the size of your house. Fixtures can appear extremely large in a showroom, but when mounted next to a grand entryway, they suddenly look small and insignificant. Outdoor fixtures should command a notable, attractive presence when viewed from afar – but should not be so overpowering that they take away from other focal points of your exterior landscape.
Our design experts have put together a few tips for helping you to determine how to approach size for exterior fixtures in a way that will enhance your curb appeal and beautify your home.
Where to start?
For entryway lighting, start by measuring the height of your front door. Exterior lighting used to illuminate front door areas should be sized in proportion to the door itself.
Entryway Lighting: Sizing Guidelines
The most common error for entry outdoor fixtures is selecting lighting that is too small. Fixtures that are undersized will get lost when viewing the house at a distance. As a general rule of thumb, fixtures should be sized to measure 1/4 to 1/3 the height of the front door – keeping in mind that lanterns will appear about half the size 50 feet away. If you have two sizes of sconces or lanterns, the bigger of the two should be placed by the front door (with the smaller positioned by the garage door).
Entryway Lighting: Position Guidelines
In addition to size, the height of the fixture is another important consideration. As a general rule of thumb, outdoor entryway lights should be positioned at eye level. More specifically, the center of the light source should measure 5.5 to 6.0 feet from the ground. Fixtures also should be mounted 8-10 feet apart.
Garage Lighting: Sizing Guidelines
As with entryway lights, fixtures surrounding the garage should measure 1/4 to 1/3 the height of the garage door. The number and position of the lights greatly depends on the size of the garage door.
- One side lantern may be sufficient to illuminate a one-car garage.
- For a two-car garage, consider positioning lights on either side of the doors. For additional illumination, center a third light above the door – but be sure to position it high enough as to note interfere with normal garage door function.
- A third option for a two-car garage is to position fixtures across the top of the door for even illumination.
Post and Fence Lighting: Sizing Guidelines
For post and fence lighting, bigger is most often better. Perspective will make these fixtures appear smaller from further distances.