Choosing the right outdoor lights can transform your space into a blend of safety, beauty, and functionality. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to choose the best outdoor lights, focusing on key considerations such as purpose, power source, style, and technical features. Whether you aim to secure your property, create a warm ambiance, or navigate your outdoor space safely at night, our expert advice will help you make an informed decision that elevates the comfort and appeal of your home exterior.

Key Takeaways

how to choose the best outdoor lights

Understanding Your Outdoor Lighting Needs

Outdoor lighting serves multiple important functions. It ensures safety through pathway illumination, acts as a preventative measure against potential intruders and augments the visual appeal of your residence by highlighting its architectural features.

Choosing the appropriate lighting fixtures for outdoor use is crucial and should be based on the distinct needs of various external areas like gardens, patios or driveways, while also complementing your home’s overall style.

Safety and navigation

Ever stumbled in the dark because you couldn’t see a step? Outdoor lights make paths and walkways safer, so you don’t have to worry about accidents when it gets dark early. Simple lights like those along paths or on posts help you see where you’re going and keep you safe from tripping.

For areas where vehicles and pedestrians share space, like driveways or parking lots, setting up lighting fixtures that provide 1500 to 3000 lumens is advised for optimal clarity.

Security and deterrence

Outdoor lighting isn’t just about enhancing visual appeal. It’s a potent means of protection as well. Consider these alternatives:

To achieve the best balance between robust security and reduced light pollution, opt for LED security lights equipped with motion sensors that have received approval from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).

Ambiance and aesthetics

Optimal outdoor lighting, especially ambient lighting, can significantly improve the atmosphere of your outdoor space. This type of lighting fosters a smooth flow between your home’s interior and exterior, amplifying the perceived expanse and welcoming nature of your living space.

Incorporating colorful LED accent lights adds an element of fun to any event by generating a lively vibe, while strategically positioned waterproof spotlights can artfully illuminate water features. The correct arrangement of these lights has the power to transform your open-air area into a private sanctuary tailor-made for you.

At GoBright Lights, we understand that choosing the perfect outdoor lighting can be a complex task, with a myriad of options available. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping you navigate through the choices to find the best solution for your home. Whether you’re looking for security, ambiance, or simply to illuminate your space, our team of experts is here to provide personalized advice and support, ensuring that your outdoor lighting is just as you envision it – functional, beautiful, and perfectly suited to your needs.

how to choose the best outdoor lights

Evaluating Power Options

After determining the requirements for lighting, we should consider the options for power sources. Lights in outdoor spaces can utilize energy from solar panels, battery cells, or direct connections to an electrical grid. The decision on which source to use will be influenced by elements like your outdoor area’s positioning, how bright you need the lights to be and whether you favor mobility over fixed installations.

Hard-wired lighting

Outdoor lighting that is hard-wired boasts dependability and is ideal for extended use. Such right outdoor lights are connected to the main electrical grid, typically through wiring laid below ground level, ensuring they stay lit as long as there’s power in the grid.

When installing wall-mounted hard-wired lights, it’s beneficial to choose energy-efficient LED bulbs which lead to cost savings over time and lower maintenance demands. It’s important during installation that any underground wires are correctly situated and buried at a depth of no less than 6 inches to safeguard against moisture intrusion, corrosion issues, and physical harm.

Solar-powered lighting

Lighting powered by solar energy is an autonomous system that transforms sunlight into electric power. This type of lighting brings advantages including automatic operation from dusk till dawn, reduced costs for installation, and elimination of continuous energy expenses. Nevertheless, the performance effectiveness of solar lights hinges on the availability of sunlight in a region, which influences their charging capability.

Hence, it’s important to take into account elements like the geographic position and how these lights are installed to ensure they function at their best capacity.

Battery-operated lighting

Outdoor lights that operate on batteries provide an easy-to-install and movable lighting solution, particularly useful in spots where conventional hard-wired or solar-powered lighting systems aren’t feasible. Many of these battery-powered lights come equipped with added functionalities such as motion detectors or automatic timers, making them more convenient and energy-saving. It’s important to remember that the need for frequent battery replacements can incur extra maintenance expenses and might result in occasional gaps in your outdoor lighting.

Selecting Outdoor Light Fixtures

After determining your lighting requirements and deciding on a power source, the next step is to pick the appropriate outdoor light fixtures. A wide variety of outdoor lights are on offer, each designed for different purposes. Whether it’s wall lights or pendant styles you seek, picking the right kind of fixture will hinge upon what part of your outdoor space you intend to illuminate – be that your patio, garage, porch or even a gazezeebo.

It’s important to bear in mind when selecting these fixtures that size matters. It should complement other aspects within the area for a cohesive and visually attractive presence in your exterior setting.

Wall-mounted lights

There is a diverse array of styles available for wall-mounted outdoor lights, from classic lantern models to modern interpretations, all of which can incorporate smart tech features for improved safety.

Certain models of these wall-mounted fixtures offer the functionality to adjust the direction of light. This enables you to spotlight particular areas if desired and presents them as an excellent substitute for ceiling lights.

Post and pathway lights

Lights for outdoor pathways serve the dual purpose of ensuring clear visibility and highlighting features such as trees, gardens, or architectural elements within your landscape. These lights are available in numerous styles ranging from discreet low-profile fixtures to more prominent bollard-style lighting.

To achieve both security and optimal illumination, it’s recommended that these outdoor fixtures emit a light intensity between 100 and 200 lumens.

Deck and step lights

Deck lighting and step lights enhance the visual appeal while simultaneously mitigating the risk of tripping. Lights that are flush-mounted on decks and steps maintain a cohesive look and reduce potential stumbling hazards.

When it comes to lighting for steps, aiming for approximately 100 lumens strikes an ideal equilibrium between sufficient illumination for safety purposes and minimizing harsh glare.

Accent and feature lights

LED spotlights, functioning as accent lights, are excellent for accenting specific garden attractions including foliage, arboreal elements or sculptural pieces by enriching the visual charm of the space after dusk. These spotlights can be directed to shed light on select zones, whereas floodlights provide more expansive lighting coverage. Both types are vital for creating an effective accent and feature illumination in a garden setting.

how to choose the best outdoor lights

Choosing the Right Style and Design

It’s important to select outdoor lights that complement the architectural design of your home. For a modern dwelling, contemporary lights can enhance its aesthetic appeal, while traditional lights are ideally suited for homes with Craftsman or Colonial architecture. If you require lighting that is adaptable to any style of home, transitional outdoor lights offer an excellent solution and are universally accommodating.

Traditional outdoor lights

Elaborate details characterize traditional outdoor lighting fixtures, which echo the style of vintage lanterns and exude a nostalgic allure. Adorned with classic design elements and often finished in bronze, these decorative lights infuse elegance into any outdoor space, underscoring their dedication to timeless beauty through illumination.

Contemporary outdoor lights

Modern outdoor lights present a contemporary look, characterized by:

These lights not only illuminate your space, but can also function as practical artworks, providing inventive structures that give your outdoor area an exclusive flair.

Transitional outdoor lights

Outdoor lights of the transitional variety merge components from traditional and contemporary designs to create a cohesive look. Their adaptability makes them suitable for complementing numerous home architectures.

These exterior lights come in an assortment of finishes, ensuring they can coordinate with diverse outdoor decorating schemes.

Considering Technical Specifications

Prior to settling on your choice of outdoor lighting, consider key technical aspects. The protection against water and dust ingress is determined by the IP rating, while the energy efficiency is influenced by the type of light bulbs used.

Comprehending these details will help you optimize your investment in outdoor lighting systems.

IP ratings

The IP rating system is used to specify the level of protection offered by electrical enclosures against solids and water. For outdoor light fixtures, it’s advised to use ones with at least an IP65 rating, which guarantees defense against water jets from various angles.

Ensuring your outdoor lighting has a suitable IP rating will help maintain the durability of these fixtures.

Light bulbs and energy efficiency

Selecting the appropriate bulbs for your outdoor lighting can greatly influence energy efficiency. For example, LED light bulbs are exceptionally energy-efficient, using up to 90% less energy compared to traditional incandescent bulbs and have a lifespan that is up to 25 times longer. Consequently, they have become a favored option in modern designs of outdoor lights.

Lumens and brightness

The lumens metric quantifies the amount of visible light that a source emits, with light emitting diodes being one such example. Lumens are crucial for determining the brightness level of various lights and assessing their ability to illuminate outdoor spaces.

Take solar lights as an example. Their luminosity can vary significantly depending on their intended use.

how to choose the best outdoor lights

Installation and Maintenance Tips

If outdoor lights are not correctly installed, their performance will suffer regardless of their quality. To maintain their efficiency and extend their lifespan, it is crucial to carry out regular maintenance. It’s important that when you’re undertaking the installation yourself or having it done professionally, insulated tools should be used and adherence to the manufacturer’s guidelines is a must.

Ensuring light fixtures are routinely cleaned and inspected for any signs of water penetration can help prevent rusting and additional problems, thereby maintaining the integrity of your lighting setup.

Professional vs. DIY installation

Choosing whether to have outdoor lighting professionally installed or to tackle it yourself often depends on the intricacy of the project and your knowledge of electrical systems. Opting for professional installation guarantees that the work is performed safely and accurately, yet taking a DIY route could be feasible if you possess some electrical know-how, particularly when dealing with low-voltage lighting setups.

Cleaning and upkeep

Maintaining outdoor lighting fixtures is crucial for ensuring they provide the best possible light. This maintenance should involve cleaning the glass parts of these fixtures with a mixture of mild soap and warm water to preserve their brightness, as well as ensuring that debris does not accumulate around them. It’s also important to routinely inspect all outdoor lighting fixtures to verify that they remain in good condition and operate safely.

To safeguard electrical connections against corrosion, it’s advisable to use gel-filled wire connectors specifically created for external applications. These can help maintain the integrity of the connections over extended periods.


Choosing the right outdoor lighting may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By understanding your lighting needs, considering power options, selecting the right fixtures, choosing the right style and design, considering technical specifications, and ensuring proper installation and maintenance, you can transform your outdoor spaces into welcoming, secure, and aesthetically pleasing havens. The perfect outdoor lighting solution is within your reach!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose an outdoor light?

When selecting a light for your outdoor space, it’s essential to take into account the style of your home’s exterior and any existing fixtures. Ensure that the new light complements your home’s trim as well as its outdoor decorations.

What is the best rating for outdoor lighting?

When selecting outdoor lighting fixtures, it is optimal to choose those with an IP66 rating or above, which ensures they are safeguarded against heavy rainfall.

If there’s a chance your lighting could occasionally be submerged due to flooding, you should think about opting for fixtures rated at either IP67 or IP68.

What are the different purposes of outdoor lighting?

Lighting for outdoor spaces fulfills various functions, including improving safety by illuminating paths, deterring potential intruders, and elevating the visual charm of your residence through emphasis on its structural design. Beyond these practical applications, outdoor lighting also plays a pivotal role in the celebration of occasions, adding a festive flair to your home for holidays and special events, thereby contributing to a secure environment while fostering an inviting and celebratory ambiance.

What are the different power sources for outdoor lighting?

Solar energy, batteries, or direct connection to the electrical system can all serve as power sources for outdoor lights, offering a range of flexible solutions tailored to various requirements.

Can you get themed outdoor lights for different occassions?

Yes, themed outdoor lights are available for different celebrations, such as ChristmasHalloween, and other occassions, allowing you to add a festive touch to your home’s exterior during these special times of the year.