In a city like Toronto where the nights can seem endless during the winter your home essentially disappears for months at a time, save for whatever light it is being emitted from the windows. You put a lot of time and effort into the upkeep of your home so it’s only right to want to show it off a bit. Exterior lighting is the best, most cost-effective way to do that. You’ll not only get the satisfaction of presenting your pride and joy in the most flattering way possible, but exterior lighting can also provide a wonderful boost to the spirit, regardless of the time of year.
The Basics of Exterior Home Lighting
The night time is the one time of the day when you have complete control over how your home is presented. During the day you get what you get from the sun, clouds, and weather. But once the sun goes down it’s like wiping the slate clean. How your house looks are entirely up to you. Below are a number of tips that will help you devise an exterior lighting scheme for your home that will make it shine.
● Lay in the functional lights – The driveway, walkways, paths, and stairs all need to be lit well enough to provide safe passage. At the same time, this type of lighting provides you the opportunity to emphasize the major lines of the landscape design and drive the viewer’s attention toward the home itself. For the most part, you’ll want to keep it subtle because you don’t want it to overwhelm the more theatrical lighting that’s coming.
● Establish the volumes of the house – Now that you’ve established the lines within the landscape and lead the viewer’s eye toward the home you need to deliver. Employ uplights, downlights, and spotlights as though you were making marks on a piece of paper. These sketch in the lines of the house and establish fundamental shapes and volumes. This is the “theatrical” lighting we mentioned above and it’s your chance to infuse a bit of drama into the lighting scheme and provide your home with a bit of nobility it could not achieve on a cloudy, grey afternoon.
● Install task and accent lighting – You have used functional lights on the pathways, stairs and the like to establish a context for the house and draw the eye to it. Then you used theatrical lighting to establish the physicality of the house itself. Now it’s time to add some highlights in the form of task and accent lighting. These will be the brightest lights in your exterior lighting scheme but they’ll be concentrated on specific things. Task lights will include lights on or beside the front door, the front gate and over the garage door. You can also add a completely gratuitous accent on the highest point of the house to give the house a soaring feeling.
A Few Things to Keep In Mind
The style of the particular lights you choose should dovetail with the architectural style of the home. If you own a beautiful Victorian you’ll want to employ traditional lamps such as wrought iron carriage lamps. If yours is a more modern style home use simple, unadorned light fixtures to emphasize the clean lines and geometrical volumes.
Just as you create focal points with your interior lighting you’ll want to create focal points with the exterior lighting. The most obvious and important focal point should be the front door. A failed exterior lighting scheme is one that leaves the front door wrapped in darkness. It does not only fail to take advantage of the perfect opportunity to create a focal point but it’s anti-social as well. The exterior lighting should present your home as a warm, welcoming place. Toronto Electrician Hotwire Electric can help you to choose your home exterior lighting.
Common Outdoor Lights
● Wall lights – Wall lights are those that establish the volumes of the house. These are typically either wall sconces pointing up and/or down or floods embedded at ground level that wash the walls with broad brushstrokes of light.
● Pot lights – These are installed in the overhanging elements of the exterior such as the ceiling of the veranda or porch, or the soffits. Just be sure these lights don’t overwhelm the accent lighting and keep their number to a minimum.
● Pendants – A pendant over the front door is a great way to complete the focal point you should establish there. Pendants are also a great addition to an outdoor kitchen lighting scheme as they can provide it with a cozy, intimate feeling that isn’t always otherwise easy to establish outdoors.
The Bottom Line
When lighting the exterior of your home you need to think both functionally and theatrically. This is your chance to present your house exactly how you wish it to be perceived. Talk to your local Electrical Contractors to learn more about how to transform your home into the talk of the town.