We recently decide to upgrade our porch light. It was probably an original installation and in a house this old, it was time for an upgrade. It’s funny that when we bought the place we thought about the inside lighting but not the outdoor lighting fixtures. There was only a single light and the front door could use some extra illumination. The existing fixture is wide, and I like that. It is easy to clean and very easy to replace the bulb when it burns out. But it’s been burning out more frequently and so it was time to just get some new wiring out there.
I know with good lighting design that we should have a sconce on either side of the front door. That will give maximum illumination and the feeling of welcoming to guests. The placement of the lights should be high enough to shine on people’s faces without being so high that it is mostly shadows. Somewhere around 5 and
a half feet for the outdoor sconce height should be adequate.
You can go higher of course. Part of that decision hinges on the height of your windows, the placement of shrubs and hedges and of course, your own aesthetic sense. The other big part of the decision lies with the outdoor wall sconce itself. How big is it? How long? If you have a small footprint fixture, you will need to adjust the height placement.
We finally found some that we liked.We spent some time at the local Home Depot. I looked at all the different styles and the prices. The selection of outdoor sconces kind of surprised me.
12 inch height – 8 inch length
WI6131806 Solid Brass construction
6483000 Mission lighting never looked better.
That is silly, I know considering this website, but I guess I just hadn’t looked that closely. I have found out the hard way that I shouldn’t buy the first light fixture that strikes my fancy. I took some pictures and went back home to look at the front door with fresh eyes. That is another important part to do: Before you buy, consider how those outdoor wall lights are going to look from the street. You may love that carriage style sconce, but is it too big for your house? It will look odd at best and comical at worst.
You also need to consider how much power you need from the light itself. If you have a dark street or a dark house, you’ll need not a more powerful light, but multiple lights. A single powerful light can make things worse instead of better. Here’s an example of just that very thing. The light is so bright that it actually makes the dark darker. It can cause some momentary blindness for guests and make functions like navigating steps dangerous. This is a worse case scenario, but it is important to educate yourself on the pitfalls of choosing the wrong outdoor lanterns for your home.
Once you have the practical concerns nailed down, you can think of the fun stuff – what kind of sconce is going to tell the world about your personal style? There are the standard classic styles — Craftsman and Mission and Lodge-style and Carriage House. And then there are the modern and contemporary designs. While you can put a Craftsman outdoor sconce on an adobe house, it would flow better to have a design that pulls in some Southwestern flavor. With our 60s style day ranch, we decide to go safe and simple. The two medium sized lanterns on either side of the door use 60 watt bulbs. It is bright without being overpowering and energy efficient.