L&L Design Guide: Outdoor Porch Lighting Ideas

The front porch is going to be the first thing people see when looking at your home. Therefore proper lighting is needed for a number of reasons: security, safety, creating an inviting home, and curb appeal (boosting your property value). Below you will find outdoor porch lighting ideas that cover all of those reasons.

porch lighting ideas

motion sensing lights

Motion security lights

Motion Lights – Motion lights adds in improving the security of a home.  They are also great for when you arrive home they will brightly light up the area making it easy to get around. When installing a motion light, make sure the light doesn’t spill into anyone’s house. If you plan on using one of these, it would be a good idea to install at least one more light on the porch so there is still some light when the motion lights are not on.

Flush Mount – The most common form of porch lighting would be a flush mount light. These are the kinds of lights that are fitted close to the ceiling. There are a number of styles to choose from, from the standard flush mounts, to lanterns and outdoor fans that have a flush mount light integrated into it (meaning you’ll only need one electrical outlet to install a fan and a light).

flush mount porch light

A flush mount porch light

Pendant Lighting – Pendant lights are a more elegant form of outdoor porch lighting. As they hang they bring light closer down to the porch surface. You wouldn’t want to use these lights in really windy climates though. You can find an easy DIY outdoor pendant lighting guide here: DIY Outdoor Pendant Lighting Using String Lights and Basket Frames.

fairy light outdoor pendant light

DIY fairy light outdoor pendant lighting

Or check out this related article: Design Guide: Ideas for Outdoor Pendant Lighting Fixtures.

Wall Lights -These can come as lanterns, sconces (where the light comes out of the top and bottom), or wall washers (the light just comes out of the top). These can be placed all around the house, but a simple idea is to have one on each side of the door.

front porch lighting

A wall light by the side of the front door

Recessed Lights – If you have a modern styled or newly built home, recessed lights would be a good front porch lighting idea. These lights will be fitted into the porch ceiling so all the parts will be hidden away creating a clean, sleek look.

Step Lighting – If you have steps leading up to your porch they would need some form of lighting. A few ideas include: using string lights and wrapping them around railings or lights can be fitted into the steps. For more ideas and pictures have a look at our guide here: outdoor stair lighting.

Decorative Porch Lighting – Here are more decorative lighting ideas that you can use to light up your porch:

String lights can hang down to make a curtain of lighting, or hung overhead to create a ceiling of light

Solar jars can line the edges of the floor and provide electricity free lighting at night. They can be bought on Amazon or there are DIY tutorials like this one: Simple and Easy Decorative DIY Solar Jar.

Uplights can be placed at the base of the porch columns, shining light upwards.

porch lights

Uplights lighting up a porch

solar cap light

A solar cap light

Path Lights – If you have a path leading up to your home, then it could do with some lighting. One of the simplest lighting solutions would be to use solar stake lights. These are simply planted into the ground – no wiring needed. Another idea would be to use solar cap lights that can be fitted on top of posts, or uplighting nearby trees or flower beds can provide indirect path lighting. For more ideas have a look at our post here: path lighting ideas.

One Light Bulb – It is surprise the impact one light bulb can have. In Stockton California there was a high rate of crime, so councilwoman Diana Lowery campaigned to get one light bulb onto everyone’s porch with the backing of the Police Chief. Having just one light on all night helps in deterring crime, hence the slogan: “Light up the night, Crime hates it bright”. Therefore it is a good idea to have lights fitted to the outside of the house all around, including on the porch.

Note: If you want to leave a light on the whole night, which is a good idea, then have a look at using energy saving light bulbs like compact florescent lamp bulbs (CFL). Or go a step further and install solar porch lights.

More Porch Lighting Photos

porch string lights

String and wall lights lighting up a porch

recessed porch lights

A porch using recessed lights

image credits: Mayce Hodges, dreyboblue, Photo Dean 2, Christian, Leia, Greg

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