Make the most of your outdoor spaces from morning to night.

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From the front porch to the back fence, living spaces that extend beyond your home's four walls have become essential, and outdoor lighting can help maximize your enjoyment of these spaces from morning to night. There are many types of outdoor lighting to choose from, and a combination of several different styles often achieves the best effect. When choosing outdoor light fixtures, pay attention to the rating system to ensure proper weather resistance. Dry-rated lighting, for example, should only be used in spots with no exposure to water. Damp-rated fixtures can handle indirect exposure to water, making them a good choice on a porch or in protected outdoor spaces. Wet-rated fixtures can weather the rain. Consider these outdoor lighting styles (along with tips from the American Lighting Association) to brighten up your home's exterior.

outdoor lighting near front door
Credit: Courtesy of Quoizel/American Lighting Association

1. Outdoor Sconces

Without using much surface space, sconces brighten walkways and offer an additional layer of glow. When installing outdoor sconces, keep in mind that good outdoor lighting considers two views: from outside and from inside. Place sconces to create safe pathways and the right level of illumination for the area's purpose. At the same time, position outdoor light fixtures to shield windows from glare for pleasing nighttime ambience.

outdoor seating area with hanging lights
Credit: Courtesy of Hinkley/American Lighting Association

2. Outdoor Pendants and Chandeliers

Today's outdoor fixtures are just as beautiful as those you'd use inside your home. Made in black, burnished bronze, brass tones, and mixed metals, pendants and chandeliers can make a bold statement in covered outdoor spaces. Styles include traditional, farmhouse, modern, industrial, and an amazing assortment of blended looks.

lighting around pool at night
Credit: Courtesy of WAC/American Lighting Association

3. Smart Outdoor Lighting

With outdoor lighting, style and safety go hand-in-hand. Brighten the front entry for guests or everyday use, and turn on the lights before you arrive using a voice assistant or a touch. Set wall and step lights on an automatic timer to create beautifully safe pathways.

dining area with fan
Credit: Courtesy of Fanimation/American Lighting Association

4. Outdoor Lanterns

"People don't want just a coach lantern," says Lauren Lovett, director of product development for Hinkley. "They want styles that are more interior looking." Unless the light is over your front door, she says, "you want an ambient feel when you're lounging outside and want to feel like you're sitting in your house." For added flexibility, choose stylish battery-powered lanterns that you can rearrange as plans change.

porch with gray couch and fan on pergola
Credit: Courtesy of Hunter Fan/American Lighting Association

5. Outdoor Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans bring relaxing comfort and cool style to outdoor rooms. Consider the variety of technical features and design options to give your porch or patio a breezy feel. With today's technology, the number of blades comes down to an aesthetic choice. Low-drag blade shapes ensure good performance. Position blades at a 12- to 15-degree angle to achieve the best air circulation. Getting the height right is also key. Note that fans must be installed at least 7 feet from the floor for safety, but beware of going much higher. When a fan is too high off the ground, you decrease airflow and lose the cooling effect.

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