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The 5 Rules of Universal Exterior Lighting Design

The 5 Rules of Universal Exterior Lighting Design

Posted by Danielle Sherrer on Apr 25th 2023

Exterior lighting design is an important part of any home’s outdoor aesthetic and curb appeal. When done correctly, outdoor lighting is an easy way to create a beautiful and inviting atmosphere that enhances the design and feel of your outdoor space. To ensure your outdoor lighting is up to standards, consider the 5 rules of outdoor universal lighting design. These rules are designed to ensure that your outdoor lighting is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Universal lighting design is a concept that involves improving and accommodating a living space through the use of light. It is often used in task areas of kitchens and bathrooms, but its importance also extends to the exteriors of homes and buildings.

When it comes to exterior lighting, universal design is a top priority and the key to create a smooth transition between inside and out. This includes making sure porches, patios, steps, paths, and walkways are properly illuminated to ensure safety and make them inviting spaces.

When selecting lighting for the exterior of a home or building, the goal should be to ensure that the area is well-lit without creating too much glare that would distract from the architectural features of the space. Additionally, it is important to consider the type of lamps used and the color temperature of the light to make sure that the lighting is both attractive and functional.

Finally, special care should be taken to ensure that the lighting is energy efficient, using low-voltage fixtures and LED bulbs to reduce energy consumption and save money.  By using these principles, you can create an outdoor environment that is safe and welcoming for everyone.

Use the below tips to create an outdoor environment that is safer for everyone.

1. Create a visual destination with outside lights to highlight exterior architectural details and landscaping.

Exterior lighting design is an important part of creating an inviting and functional outdoor space. With careful thought and consideration, you can create a visually appealing outdoor area that is both safe and enjoyable. By creating a visual destination with exterior lighting, you can light up any space for ambient lighting or accent lighting purposes.

2. Clearly define outdoor "zones." Zones include areas like a pergola, patio, garden, or porch.

When designing your exterior lighting plan, it is important to clearly define the different outdoor “zones.” This includes defining specific areas such as driveways, paths, outdoor seating areas, gardens, decks, and other spaces. Doing so will help you to determine which type of lighting is best for each zone and how much light is needed. This will also help you to create a cohesive lighting design plan that works well to enhance the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space.

3. Enhance perspective by creating a plan for the light fixtures used for your home.

Exterior lighting design can be used to enhance perspective and create the illusion of depth. By using light and shadow to create contrast, designers can make a space appear longer or wider than it actually is. This can be achieved by positioning light sources at different heights and angles, playing with the intensity of the light, and using light to draw attention to certain focal points. Illuminate distinguishing features on your land like trees or structures with uplighting, so individuals can easily place themselves. Also, installing step lights on any outdoor stairways is always a great idea because stairways are some of the hardest areas to navigate in the dark.

4. Highlight resting places in the backyard with patio lights and uplighting.

Exterior lighting design can help to create ambiance and atmosphere in outdoor spaces. One way to achieve this is to highlight resting places, such as benches, seating areas, and decks. By strategically placing lights in these areas, you can encourage people to stay and enjoy the space. Consider highlighting safety railings with tape lights or rope lights, so those who need them can always keep them close at hand. If you have benches built into your outdoor areas, or have structural features that can double as seating, use uplights or downlights to indicate they are places for someone to rest.

5. Use dimmable lights for wall lights and accent lighting.

When creating an exterior lighting design, it is important to select light fixtures that are dimmable. This will allow you to easily adjust the brightness of the lights to achieve the desired effect. Dimmable lighting is also great for saving energy. By dimming the lights, you can reduce the amount of energy that is used, making your home more energy efficient.

How to design an outdoor lighting system?

When designing an outdoor lighting system, it is important to consider the type of lamps used, the color temperature of the light, and the direction and placement of the fixtures. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the lighting is energy efficient, using low voltage fixtures and LED bulbs to reduce energy consumption and save money.

When selecting lighting for the exterior of a home or building, the goal should be to create an inviting atmosphere while also providing adequate illumination and safety. To achieve this, it is important to consider the size and layout of the space, the architectural features of the building, and the type of activities that will take place in the area.

For walkways and paths, the lighting should be positioned to provide adequate illumination without creating too much glare. For areas with higher levels of activity, like patios and decks, the lighting should be positioned to provide for both task lighting and ambient lighting. Additionally, motion sensors, timers, and dimmers can be used for added convenience and energy efficiency.

How do you illuminate a house exterior?

Illuminating a house exterior requires careful consideration of the size and layout of the space, the architectural features of the building, and the type of activities that will take place in the area. Additionally, it is important to consider the type of lamp fixtures used and the color temperature of the light to ensure that the lighting is both attractive and functional.

When selecting lighting for the exterior of a home or building, the goal should be to create an inviting atmosphere while also providing adequate ambient lighting and safety. To achieve this, it is important to consider the size and layout of the space, the architectural features of the building, and the type of activities that will take place in the area.

What type of lighting is best for outdoors?

When it comes to exterior lighting design, there are numerous options that can be used outdoors. From wall-mounted lights, landscape lights, and lanterns to spotlights, low voltage, and solar lighting fixtures and everything in between, the right type of lighting can help to create an inviting and aesthetically pleasing outdoor space.

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