Front porch lights are often something we do not think about. We expect them to be there when we need them, and to illuminate the front door so we can see where to put the key after arriving home late at night. Front porch lights help keep us safe. How big your front porch light should be is a totally normal question to have. We've researched this topic extensively to provide you with the answer.
The average front porch lights are around 7 inches wide (give or take 1 inch) for the common door that is 6 to 7 feet tall. For bigger doors that are 8 feet or taller, the average porch light should be closer to 11 inches wide (give or take an inch).
Keep reading below as we answer plenty of other questions about porch lights to help you make the best decision in keeping your home well lit.
How Do I Choose An Outdoor Light Fixture For My House?
To make sure you choose the right light fixture, you need to take a few things into account. First, you must consider how much light shines through any windows you may have by your door. If the light from the windows is bright, you will want to complement it with fixtures that do not get in the way of that light. In other words, you have to examine the layout of your front porch in order to pick the best light fixtures.
Also, take into consideration the size of your door compared to your light fixture. Generally, your light fixture should be anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 the height of your door.
Look at the colors of your front porch and choose a light fixture color that complements the rest of your porch. Take these items into consideration: front door, the color of the house exterior, any molding around the front door, and the curtain colors from the interior windows that are visible.
Lastly, make sure you're buying a light fixture that matches the feel of your house. Don't spend an outrageous amount of money on expensive light fixtures if your house and front porch have a more modest look. Likewise, if the rest of your home is well-stocked with more luxurious items, don't buy porch lights that seem out of place and cheaper, as these light fixtures will be part of people's first impressions of your home.
Read more: 21 Cool Front Door Decor Ideas
Where Should Front Porch Lights Be Placed?
Porch lights should be placed around 5.5 feet from the ground to the middle of the light. They should be around 1 foot away from the moulding/trim around the front door. This, of course, is assuming there is room on the sides of your door for lights.
If your porch is much smaller and cannot fit lights next to it, then you can consider other options. Recessed or hanging lights from the ceiling of your porch is also good when necessary or preferred. Make sure they are centered on the ceiling. If they are hanging lights, you'll also want to make sure they don't hang too low. The lights should be no less than 7 feet from the ground, although a little higher may be preferred depending on your front porch layout.
Do You Need A Special Light Bulb For Outside?
Yes. Lightbulbs meant for indoors and lightbulbs meant for outdoors have a lot of differences. When you're dealing with nature, there are plenty of factors to consider. For one, rain is common. You need lightbulbs that are able to withstand rain. Most normal, indoor bulbs are not meant to withstand rain or wind.
Temperature is something else to consider. The outdoors will change from freezing to 100+ degrees throughout the year. Making sure your lightbulb works in both extremes is vital.
Luckily, you don't have to check all of these variables when purchasing a lightbulb. Most stores sell indoor lightbulbs and outdoor lightbulbs. As long as you make sure the bulb is an outdoor lightbulb, they will be weather and temperature resistant.
As a rule of thumb, most outdoor lights can be used inside, but not all indoor lights can be used outside. Incandescent bulbs are meant for both the outdoors and indoors. They are the most common type of light bulb. They are not always the brightest bulbs but are definitely the most accessible and last anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 hours.
LED bulbs are also a great choice and typically provide bright, white lights. They can be used outdoors in all seasons.
How Bright Should Outdoor Lights Be?
When it comes to measuring brightness, lights are measured in lumens. This is the standard measurement for brightness. Wattage is another form of measurement we will talk about, but since LED lights are starting to become the more popular light, we will talk about lumens as that is how LEDs give off brightness.
LEDs use way less power than watts and therefore are the more energy-efficient option. The standard bulb (which should be more than enough for a porch light) is about 400 lumens. If these are too bright for your taste, you could always get dimmer lights around 200 lumens.
There are other kinds of outdoor lights as well. These include floodlights, underwater lights, wall lights, and garden lights. Floodlights average around 700+ lumens. Underwater lights are around 300 lumens. Wall lights and garden lights are much dimmer, coming in somewhere between 50-300, with wall lights being on the dimmer side.
Check out the Luxrite A21 LED Bulb for a fantastic, all-around bulb.
Click here to see more on Amazon.
What Is A Good Wattage For Outdoor Lights?
Wattage is another way that bulbs are measured. When comparing it to lumens, you can be pretty accurate if you take a zero off of the lumens measurement. For example, A normal bulb at 70 watts will be close to an LED bulb at 700 lumens. So, based on the approximations presented above in lumens, just take off a zero and that will be the corresponding wattage.
A front porch light measured in wattage will probably be just right at around 40 watts.
What Color Should Outdoor Lights Be?
The beauty of LED lights is their ability to be just about any color. With that being said, certain parts of your yard look better in specific light colors. For lighting around the house or lighting that shines on architecture, you are better off going with warmer colored lights. This would include front porch lighting. Warmer lights tend to have a more yellow or golden glow.
For lighting involving anything related to nature or plants, cooler lights are the better option. Cooler lights are usually more white.
Underwater lights give you some creative flexibility in terms of color. A lot of people love to put multicolored lights in their pool so that it changes colors. You could also put these lights in your fountain or other similar areas.
At the end of the day, you can be creative with the colors you choose. If it looks great to you, then it's probably a winner. These are just general guidelines that are fairly standard when it comes to lighting.
Check out these Phillips Hue bulbs if you're interested in color-changing bulbs for your home.
Click here to see more on Amazon.
Should You Leave Your Porch Light On At Night?
No. Leaving your porch light on all night tells burglars you are gone. If you leave it on all night, criminals will probably see it as an invitation to break into your home because they will know that you left it on intentionally. Not all people will draw that conclusion, but there is a much safer way to make sure people know you are home.
Floodlights with motion sensors are the way to go if you are worried about criminals breaking into your home or messing around in your yard. Floodlights are typically placed all around a house. When they are turned on, they light up everything in the area. This provides a level of safety and visibility if you are outside of your house at night.
Floodlights with motion sensors turn on when they sense activity. This means if a criminal is prowling around at night, the floodlights will automatically turn on. They will remain on for a set amount of time or until they don't sense activity anymore. Having motion sensor flood lights creates the illusion that whoever is outside your house has been spotted, and it will more than likely deter them from continuing with any illicit activity.
Front porch lights are an essential part of homeownership because they combine decoration with functionality and safety. Making sure you have the right lights and fixtures in the correct places will ensure you can see your doorknob at night, help deter possible criminals from your property, and make your house look more like a home.
Be sure to take a look at these other guides -
How Much Does A Front Door Cost?