Find the front porch light placement and style that’s right for your home
1. Frame the Front Door
A porch light on each side of the front door illuminates the gateway to the rest of your home and creates symmetry for your home’s exterior. The porch columns and potted plants continue the balanced look on the exterior of this Minneapolis home.
Sometimes it takes some searching to find the right pair of front porch lights. Linda Banks, president of Banks Design Associates, selected these antique French gaslight lanterns for her client. The homeowner, whose birthday is Valentine’s Day, loved the red color. Banks ended up using this color throughout the rest of this Portland, Maine, home.
“Porch lights are a fun opportunity to offer a welcoming introduction to one’s home,” Banks says. “The entry lights are visible upon arrival, and they offer the opportunity to set the stage for the story of this home.”
When choosing entry lights, Banks says, she and her team keep in mind the home’s environment, exterior and overall aesthetic. They also consider how much light optimally serves the space. After those factors, Banks says her first choice is always vintage lights, and she feels lucky when they find a matching pair.
2. Extend the Light
A few additional lights provide more front porch light and lead people right to the front door. The lights on this retired couple’s home in Virginia invite guests inside to take in the views from the main living space.
3. Line the House
If you want more exterior lighting but don’t have a covered porch, consider lining the house with lights.
Edward Maestri, principal and owner at Maestri, drew these exterior lights onto the architectural plans. Maestri and his team wanted lights that would complement the architecture of the home and provide the needed lighting. They decided on lights with a midcentury style that would highlight the architecture.
“In this case, the lights shine both up and down, highlighting the vertical features of the facade and the architectural brackets,” Maestri says.
They also liked that these lights shone up and down, minimizing glare into the yard and toward viewers.
When choosing lights on your own home, Maestri recommends a light that complements the lines and scale of the home but does not compete. Lighting, he says, should be one of the final details that brings the overall style of the home together.
4. Use Overhead Space
Hanging lights make good use of the ceiling of a covered porch that wraps around a Connecticut farmhouse. This house uses six hanging lights, plus two mounted by the front door to illuminate the long porch. Suspended from above, they provide light throughout the space, as opposed to being mounted on the side of the house.
5. Illuminate the Steps
Here, lights built into the risers illuminate wide concrete steps. Uplights accentuate the art at the entry, and filtered light from above the door gives it a welcoming glow.
6. Tuck Lights Out of Sight
The designer of this Baltimore-area home chose to install six recessed lights to let the roof be the dominant element.
7. Set the Tone
“We consider lighting the ‘jewelry’ of the house,” says Kevin Kemper, principal at H3K Design. “The porch light is very important. It’s the first impression visitors have to the house.”
Kemper says his midcentury modern projects typically go one of two ways: Clients either choose a more contemporary look, or they stick to their home’s original midcentury vibe. These clients chose the latter and selected large globe lights for their remodel.