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15 Different Outdoor Lighting Ideas for Your Home (All Types)

A collage of beautiful outdoor lights at home.
The way the outside of your home looks is the first overall impression of your home. Between outdoor furniture, gardening accessories and other types of exterior decor, it’s easy to have a stylish and presentable yard, especially in the spring and summer months. The front and back of your home are equally important, being that the front is the first thing seen and the back is where people tend to gather.

Just like decorations, lighting is significant as well. Implementing lights may sound obvious, but it seems as though many homeowners use them for one function only, light. While this is the most important function, they can be used for decoration at the same time.

Don’t just illuminate your yard to see, illuminate it for style.

Related To: Types of Wall Sconces

A. Outdoor Lighting Ideas by Placement

1. Front Door Lighting

Welcome yourself home with beautiful front door lighting options. Since it’s most likely the main entryway, these lights will not go unnoticed. Depending on the style of your home or the type of front entryway you have, there are different ways to go about choosing the most fitting option.

This includes style, size and placement. Whether you choose to hang lights, mount them to the siding or both, it’s important to choose a style that best suits you and the home. Although having proper outdoor lighting plays a significant role in safety, don’t let that be your only consideration.

This is the time to be creative. Hanging lights, such as lanterns and pendants, are ideal for tall entryways and porches. Without a hanging fixture, the space may look too empty.

Another idea is mounting the fixture on some kind of post. These are often referred to as pier mount lights, because they’re created for piers and columns. This light fixture makes the stone or brick pier stand out, potentially making it the accent piece of the yard.

Piers aren’t only placed near the front door, they can be placed in the walkway leading up to the front door, as well as the driveway. An illuminated walkway has the power to create a serene experience when walking towards the door.

2 different types of outdoor porch lights.

Front door with hanging light (centered).

Front door with two wall-mounted lights.

Front door with lights flanking both sides of the door.

2. Garage Lighting (Exterior)

Along with driveway lighting, garage lighting can make an impact as well. To illuminate the garage, add flood lights. Flood lights are typically placed higher up, which makes it acceptable to line them up with the highest point of the garage.

These lights can highlight an attractive garage or help to light up the outdoor basketball court.

Overhead garage lights

Garage door with recessed or pot lighting illuminating the garage door.

Garage lights

Garage with sensor-lights.

Garage lights through windows

Garage illumined with interior lighting through the garage door windows.

Transparent garage doors lit up

Luminescent garage doors emitting light. I love this effect.

Check out more garage designs here.

3. Landscape/Garden Lighting

Enhance your landscape with post lantern lights, path lights and well lights. Even during the day, when they’re not yet lit up, they add that something extra and bring attention to the green grass and/or garden. These lights bring curb appeal to the front yard and sophisticated style in the back.

With landscape lighting, you can enjoy the garden late into the evening, especially if you spend a great deal of time outside or host gatherings in the yard. Adding lighting beyond the typical one or two lights can provide extra security as well, especially if they’re motion sensored or automatically light up when the sun goes down.


Read more: Extensive garden lighting guide

Flower garden trough with short light post.

Flower garden trough with short light post.

4. Porch Lighting

Lighting can make time spent on the porch more enjoyable. For those cloudy days you’d like to spend outside or a beautiful summer night, let porch lighting provide the brightness that the sky lacks. One of the best options is an outdoor fan light, ideal for both cooling down and brightening the porch space.

Lighting has more of an impact than you may think. It’s no longer just a safety element, it’s a decorative element. With different styles, sizes, colors, and placements, lighting fixtures have the ability to make a difference in the home’s appearance.

Outdoor ceiling fan with light.

Recessed deck lighting.

Pot lights on backyard porch/deck.

White ceiling fan with light in porch area.Porch with fan light.

Covered patio with ceiling fan and light.

Porch with ceiling light and fan.

5. Patio/Deck Lighting

You have many options to illuminate your deck including lamp posts, lanterns attached to your home, hanging lanterns, string lighting, fire pits, candles, tiki torches, surrounding garden lights and more.

Wall-mounted deck lights. Gazebo lighting Patio lighting

Backyard pool lighting

6. Front Walkway Lighting

If you have a walkway from the street/driveway to your front door, it’s a good idea to illuminate it. Fortunately you have many options including low-to-the-ground lights and/or light posts.

Lantern perched on top of a post.Front yard stairs lighting and flush-mount outdoor ceiling lights

Fabulous lights built into concrete walls lining front walk steps to the front door.

Front home walkway lightposts

Front Home Walkway Lighting

Post lantern for outside. Decorative post lantern in front yard.

7. Pool Lighting

One of the most beautiful effects you can create in your yard is lighting for a pool. I think a lit pool looks fabulous. You have many options including lights beneath the water, on the surrounding deck and/or elevated posts.

Swimming Pool lights Pool lit up at night Outdoor inground pool lit up at night Uplight poolside lighting.

8. Home Exterior Lighting

I think a tremendous touch is to add lights in several places on your home exterior so that it lights up “like a Christmas tree”. Check out these examples… surely you agree they make the home look fabulous at night.

Front Home at Night Home Lit Up at Night

9. Outdoor Staircase Lighting

Photo of outdoor steps illuminated at night.

There are two main placement options for outdoor step lighting. They are:

  1. On the riser:  The lights are placed on the vertical portion of the steps illuminating the step below.
  2. On the side:  The lights are place on the side of the stairs illuminated the surface of each step.

Below are examples of both.

Outdoor steps with lights on the riser portion of the staircase.

This showcases outdoor steps with lights on the risers.

This showcases outdoor steps with lights on the risers.

Outdoor steps with lights on the side.

This outdoor staircases illustrates steps with lights on the side.

10. Railing Lights

Another location for outdoor lighting is on a railing. Here’s an example.

Outdoor railing with lights.

Source: Zillow DigsTM

11. Address Numbers Lighting

One final outdoor lighting consideration is illuminating your address whether the address is on your home, a post or on a mailbox. It’s very helpful that people be able to see and read your address at night. This lighting is often forgotten.

B. Types of Outdoor Lighting

1. Hanging Outdoor Lights

Outdoor hanging lanternThere are many types of outdoor hanging lights including the following:

  • Pendants
  • Lanterns
  • Chandeliers
  • Track
  • Ceiling fan

We have a dedicated article showcasing and explaining all the different types of hanging lights here.

2. Outdoor Wall Lighting

Outdoor house exterior wall lighting.

Wall lighting outside is very popular and as a result there are many options to choose from. For this reason we published an extensive article explaining and showing 19 types of outdoor wall lights here.

3. Outdoor Ceiling Lights

In addition to hanging lights (of which many technically fall under the “ceiling lights” category, there are two others you should be aware of. They are:

Recessed: Outdoor recessed lights are just like those used inside. They’re only possible with covered outdoor areas. Here’s an example:

Outdoor recessed light illuminating covered deck.

Flush-mount:  The flush mount light sits flush against the ceiling but the lighting fixtures drops down.

Outdoor ceiling flush mount light.

Semi-flush mount:  The outdoor semi-flush mount light attaches directly to the ceiling and then expands below (i.e. fans out).

Outdoor semi-flush mount ceiling light.

4. Landscape and Garden Lighting

Cool backyard landscape lighting ideasBecause landscape lighting alone has many types, styles and options, we published a massive guide on landscape lighting here.

C. Outdoor Lighting Power Sources

We discuss power sources for outdoor lighting here.

Author Bio: Valley Lighting is an electric supply and home decor company located in Ansonia, Connecticut, offering high quality products and great service to its customers for over 50 years.