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How To Choose Outdoor Lighting Fixtures for Your Home

Dagmar Hemp  |  May 02, 2012  |  3 Min. Read

Outdoor Lighting

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front door lightingEvery day a customer will come in and look at our display and ask the question, “How big should the lights be for my house?” With the ever growing number of styles of homes being built and remodeled every day here in Massachusetts it's not always the easiest question to answer. We have cute cottages all the way to multi-million dollar homes. 


Today’s new construction and remodeling of homes often will not fit exactly into one “style” or “type” of architecture. There are all sorts of equations to assist you; however they do not always apply to different types of construction. The correct formula for a 2 story colonial style home will not work for a Craftsman style home with a wrap around porch. Different styles require different lights.

General Formula

Front door lights should be about one fifth the height of the door. Most people do not know these dimensions when they are shopping for fixtures. So how does the average person start? Using the guideline of about 20% of the height of the door will be an adequate scale as a comfortable start. Front door heights are usually about 6 ½ feet or taller, so 16“ height would be someplace to begin.

Common Problems

Clients tend to undersize the fixture and overwatt the light output. Often new home owners settle for size of the installed lights from the previous owners. If you are not sure you may want to go a bit larger then you think you should and remember to look at it from the street or several yards away from the house.     

Many of today’s manufacturers offer 4 different sizes of wall mounts as well as complete families of ceiling, hanging and post lantern styles to allow consistency around the entire house. When in doubt go BIGGER!!! 

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If you need help email a couple of pictures of your home and I can certainly advise you accordingly.


Eddie Jacob

Nick Paternostro has 20+ years of lighting sales experience currently works in the lighting department at Yale Appliance + Lighting. In his spare time Nick enjoys cooking, gardening and spending time with his family.

Read more about Nick here.


A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Dagmar Hemp

Dagmar Hemp is a ALA Certified Lighting Specialist for Yale Appliance + Lighting. She has many years of lighting design experience including attending Sylvania school as a lightbulb geek. Her trademark line is “I’ll remember the part number of every light in your house, but not always your name.” We can absolutely vouch that this is accurate and only emphasizes that she is, in fact, a total lightbulb geek. In her spare time, she loves decorating (especially adding pink sparkly things to our holiday tree) and enjoys cooking with her new stove. If she could, she would live at the beach or someplace very warm

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Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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