How do I choose a Front Porch Light?
Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Outdoor Front Porch lights have a dual purpose: they can serve as a security or safety light helping guests navigate their way to your door and they are also part of your home's exterior aesthetic.
Choosing the right Porch Light is an important decision because apart from the cost, if you don't like it after it's installed you will have to see it every day (as will all your visitors). The decision can feel further overwhelming by the sheer amount of Porch Light choice available on the market.
The following 5 Step Guide should help you choose the right Porch Light for your home.
1: Porch Light Placement
First off, the placement of your Porch Light will help determine the type of light and quantity that will work for you. For example, if you are replacing an existing light you might have your placement already determined, but if you are planning to move or add lights then this might open up more choices. Look at the space you're working with and see what options you've got for a ceiling light (hanging or flush), wall mounted (to the side of front door or on a post) or floor recess lights. Your space might limit your options down and therefore help you pinpoint the type of Porch Light and how many you need. Remember to check your circuit capacity as well if you are wanting to add lights.
2: Porch Light Installation
To DIY or not to DIY. That is the question you should determine early on because if you are going to pay installation costs you will need to factor this into your budget on top of the cost of the light fixture(s).
If you are planning to replace an old light fixture and you are confident in your DIY skills then this is a more straightforward task. If however, you are planning to install new lights or additional lights, we recommend hiring a qualified Electrician.
3: Choosing the Style and Color of your Porch Light
The light you choose should fit in with the style of your home's exterior. Some choices are more obvious than others: a Rustic Style Porch Light would probably be a good option for a Farmhouse; whereas a less stylized exterior might allow for a wider selection of designs. If you've got more room to choose the style of light but you aren't sure which one would work best, look at the houses in your neighborhood and see which ones grab you.
4: How do I know what Size a Front Porch Light should be?
How big should my Porch Light be is a common question and an important one. Here's a simple way to choose the right entryway light size:
Measure your front door from top to bottom.
Divide the height of your front door by 1/3 and 1/4.
Look for a light fixture that measures 1/3 to 1/4 the height of your front door. This is a good range that will ensure your Porch Light won’t look too small or too big for your house.
Front Porch Light Position:
For most homes, the ideal exterior light height is just about eye-level as a general rule of thumb.
In most front door and entry areas, outdoor sconces and wall lights should be positioned so that the center point is right 66 to 72 inches above the floor.
For very tall spaces, you can cheat the lights up slightly, but going too far above 72 inches is generally not recommended.
As a final check, we recommend cutting out cardboard to scale to help you see the size in situ before you commit to purchasing.
5: UL Ratings for Outdoor Lighting
And finally, the UL (Underwriter Laboratories) is a testing and certification agency that provides grades of safety ratings in 125 countries. All outdoor lighting will be suitable for exterior use. However, you should check which of the following two ratings are best for your needs:
Damp-rated: Suitable for areas that have some exposure to moisture but are protected from direct contact with water such as a covered porch.
Wet-rated: For areas where a light fixture has direct exposure to water, rain or snow. These lights can be used everywhere outdoors.
We hope this 5 Step Guide will help you choose an Outdoor Front Porch Light that is beautifully perfect for your home.