How to Choose Outdoor Lighting for Your Denver Home - From Function to Flair

You know good outdoor lighting when you see it in your Denver neighborhood. The sun sets and lights turn on, and it seems like certain houses are complete transformed! But how do you create this effect on your own home? Think about it like this: darkness is your blank slate, and it’s up to you to use the right outdoor lighting to create your masterpiece! Compared to the daytime, you have the ability to paint the scene exactly the way you want it. You can highlight certain architectural features, add some color here or there to create drama, and even improve security with lights near entrances. It might be overwhelming if you’re starting from scratch. Not to worry! We’ve broken down outdoor lighting into categories, starting with the most important. When creating your own outdoor lighting plan, work your way through options and ideas in each category, starting from top to bottom. 

Safety Lighting

Exterior safety lighting is (obviously) chosen with safety as the priority. Start by coming up with a list of areas outside your home that are commonly trafficked at night, and where falls or injuries might occur. The list should include your front entrance, any pathways that lead to the entrance or around the home, side doors, and especially stairways. All of these areas should be well-lit at night for safety. But just because it’s safety lighting doesn’t mean it can’t look amazing, or enhance the evening view of your home! Garden pathways lit with Bollard lights will add some drama to your home, and stair lighting in particular has many options to improve your home’s nighttime curb appeal. For example, wall-mount step lights come in a variety of shapes and sizes that can make the approach to your front door feel both welcoming and extravagant. Once you have your safety lighting chosen, move on to the next category, security lighting.

Security Lighting

While safety lighting is intended to prevent accidental falls and injuries, the purpose of security lighting is to act as a deterrent to criminals. Any entrance to your home should be well-lit. Of course, that can be annoying to both you and your neighbors when it’s bedtime. That’s why security lighting isn’t just about the areas that are lit, but also when and why those lights turn on or off. We recommend using a combination of motion sensors and timers on the lights near all of the home’s entrances. Timer should turn these lights on around dusk, and turn them off around bedtime. Having the lights go on and off at the appropriate time consistently indicate to potential criminals that someone’s home. By using smart lighting, you can even program some variability to the on/off times, so that it looks more natural if you’re not home. The next step is to configure entrance lighting with motion sensors. Catching a criminal with a bright light to the face is usually enough to send them running! You’ll get security bonus points if you pair your security lighting up with clearly-visible security cameras. With security lighting in place, it’s time to move your focus to yard and garden features. 

Landscape Lighting

If you spend time, effort, and money on your landscaping, there’s no reason that you should only be able to enjoy it during the daytime. Lighting your yard and garden features appropriately can give you more bang for your buck! If you have beautiful trees in your yard, consider highlighting with some subtle uplights. Add some pops of light below shrubs to cast unique, textured shadows. Do you have a water feature? That’s a perfect opportunity to create some evening drama and movement to your outdoor lighting. When you’ve picked out lights to enhance your key landscaping or yard features, move on to decorative lighting.

Decorative Lighting

Lights as decorative pieces aren’t just for the indoors! As Coloradans, we love to spend as much time as possible outside, especially during our beautifully warm summers. Our outdoor spaces are important to us! That’s why decorative lighting is the most exciting part of any exterior lighting plan. Nearly all your exterior lights provide some type of function, but the decorative pieces are where you make statements about your style and space. Every outdoor space where you’ll spend significant time should have decorative lighting elements included. For example, if you have an outdoor dining area, consider an outdoor chandelier. Install a dimmer switch to add flexibility to your space; a dimmed chandelier sets the scene for an intimate dinner with friends, while a bright chandelier is perfect for a family board game on a warm summer evening. String lights, especially those with vintage filaments, can add enchantment and emotion to nearly any outdoor space. Does your home have a modern style? Try LED illuminated cubes or spheres that can be placed throughout any outdoor space for some contemporary compliments to your home’s modern architecture. Decorative lighting is where you get to be creative, so don’t hesitate to express yourself! Lights can be changed as easily and as often as your own personal tastes require, so experimentation is encouraged. 

Energy Conservation

While energy conservation is not a lighting category, it’s certainly something to consider when creating an outdoor lighting plan. If you’re worried about your energy use as you light your outdoor spaces, you don’t have to be. Outdoor lighting today is far more efficient than it used to be with energy efficient fixtures and LED bulbs. Plus, many types of outdoor lights (especially Bollards) can actually be charged during the day and run entirely off solar power. Mention that energy efficiency is important to you when speaking with our exterior lighting experts, and they can help steer you towards appropriate choices. 

If creating an outdoor lighting plan seems intimidating, don’t worry. Just bring a basic sketch or photo of your home into either of our Galleria Lighting locations. Our outdoor lighting experts can help you craft the perfect outdoor lighting plan for your Colorado home. Better yet, fill out the form below to set up an appointment with one of our outdoor lighting experts, and they’ll help you craft the perfect outdoor lighting plan, covering all the bases from function to flair!