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A Homeowners Guide To Driveway Lighting: The 3 Areas To Light and Choosing Between Low Voltage or Solar Lighting.

Outdoor driveway lighting is important for a number of reasons. Safety – proper lighting makes it easier to navigate the driveway at night avoiding hazards along the way. Exterior lighting of your home also helps deter possible intruders. There is also the curb appeal, helping increase the value of your home.  When it comes to driveway lighting there are 3 areas to light: the entrance of the drive way, the path/driveway itself, and the end destination (garage/front door). You will then have the choice of low voltage or solar driveway lighting.

The Entrance

This is where your driveway meets the street. Lighting is important here as it guides drivers out, will help drivers on the street see you coming out of the driveway, and you will be able to see if there are any pedestrians crossing the path.

The most common lighting solution for driveway entrance lighting is to have 1 or 2 lamp post/tall pole lights installed. If you have a gate or a wall of some sort you can have lanterns placed on top of them. Or it is fairly easy to have short brick or stone pillars built on both sides of the entrance which then can have these lanterns installed on top of them – these piers can also act as a mailbox and address signage.

The Driveway Path

When planning on installing light fixtures on the driveway path, look for areas that pose as obstacles or areas where there is a change in direction. Most driveways are straight, so this should be quite simple. But some obstacles to highlight with lighting would be any slopes, trees, walls, flower beds, or curves in the path. A curved driveway will need to have the edges lighted as to be able to guide drivers at night.

Some of the driveway lighting ideas for types of fixtures to light up the path itself include:

  • Pole lights
  • Post lights (can be tall or short): these are shorter than pole lights so they are closer to the ground and will light the edges of the driveway.
  • Lanterns on posts – modern metal or traditional stone work
  • Recessed driveway lighting that are embedded into the path
  • Wall sconces if you have a wall on either side of your driveway
  • Downlights can be used to wash the floor with light

Be careful not to make the common mistake of over-lighting your driveway. This can create a runway effect. To avoid this, the lights should be spaced well out, on alternating sides.

Creating Focal Points And Adding Ambient Driveway Lighting

All the above has mentioned task lighting – lighting used specifically to help a driver see the path. You can also add some ambient lighting that will add light to the driveway. Trees, shrubs or flower beds close to the driveway can have an up-light or two highlighting them (possibly creating a focal point in the garden). This light will add to the driveway lighting.

Straight Lines In Landscape Design

Driveway lighting will also add to your curb appeal and property value. Driveways, especially straight ones, will create a focal point at the end of the drive way. This is because the eye will be drawn down the lines and lighting of the driveway. This effect also makes smaller spaces appear larger.

So a garage or front door will be the focal point as most driveways lead the eye here. If this is the case you will want to make sure that you have elegant front doors or garage doors, and these should also be well lit.

End Destination

The end point of the driveway will be a focal point as the lights of your driveway will lead people’s eyes down to this point. Here you will want to use warm colored lighting. You will want to make sure that your garage and or front door has elegant lighting by using either:

  • Wall sconces
  • Wall lanterns
  • Up-lights pointed at the walls (side of the door or garage)

These lights will also provide light for the parking area of the driveway.

Security Motion Sensor Lighting / Outdoor Flood Lighting:

These lights are not as elegant and appealing as having enough ambient/task lighting (lanterns, pole lights, etc.) But it will save money as they only come on when something is in the driveway. They also add to peace of mind being a security light that will deter potential intruders. Outdoor flood lights can also light the driveway path itself, if the distance from the house wall they are installed and driveway path is short enough for the light to reach.

Installing Low Voltage or Solar Driveway Lights

When it comes to choosing your driveway lighting fixtures you will have the choice between solar powered or low voltage. Each comes with their own benefits and draw backs.

Solar driveway lighting: These are easy to install as there are no wires. Most will just require you to stake them into the ground. There is also no added expense to your electrical bill. These lights will need enough sunlight in the day otherwise they won’t shine as bright as they could at night. So the light performance can be hampered in the winter months or during bad weather. If you do decide on solar driveway lights, it is best to find the highest quality possible. Cheap light fixtures will have lower quality solar cells that will not convert the suns energy as efficiently, therefore the lights will not shine bright or long.

Low voltage driveway lighting: Choosing to go down this route you will have more reliable, durable and effective lighting. But they are much more expensive to buy and install, due to the added wiring. They will need to be connected to a timer or motion sensors. They are low voltage so they are cheaper to run than your standard household lights but not as cheap as solar lights. The most beneficial part of low voltage lighting is that they shine bright in all conditions. Also they add more value to a home as they are permanent driveway lighting fixtures that a homeowner has invested in.

Home Lighting Guides: Deck Lighting Fixtures, Ideas and Finishing Touches

Outdoor living areas are quite popular today as families use their decks and patios to extend their living space into the backyard for entertaining, grilling or just more family fun. The deck area of today’s house becomes an extension of the interior decor of the home as deck use becomes more important to everyday family life. Whether you are building a new deck or planning on improving an existing one, you will want to pay special attention to a carefully thought out plan for deck lighting to enhance your deck.

The Importance of Outdoor Deck Lighting

Lighting not only illuminates the deck space to provide safe and well-lit use after dark, ward off intruders, but also serves as a way to carry the interior decor of the inside of your home through to your outdoor living space, making them flow together seamlessly.

A solar post cap light

A post mounted light

Outdoor lighting fixtures are available in a wide array of choices and designs that are appropriate for any budget, installation and needed ambiance. Basic deck lighting ideas include post mounted lights, post cap lights, wall sconces, recessed floor lights, stair tread lighting, outdoor lanterns, and umbrella lights. These fixtures may be hardwired by an electrician on house current with regular wattage use, be installed as LED deck lighting designs, or save money and electricity with solar deck lighting choices. It is easy to mix combinations of these different lighting sources to create the perfect solution for your needs.

A wall sconce is attached directly onto a wall

Recessed floor lighting is installed flush with the deck flooring

Constructing A Deck With Lighting

If your deck is currently or will soon be under construction, now is the time to plan and install any fixtures that need to be hardwired by an electrician.  Wires can be run up through deck posts now for post cap lights and post lights mounted higher up the sides of the post. Wall scones also can be installed now. The construction period is also a great time to install LED lighting so the low voltage transformers on which they operate can be placed out of sight. LED lighting can be added to an existing deck also where you find a way to place the transformer in a safe location.

Improving An Existing Deck

Adding decorative outdoor lighting can be a simple task with the right light fixtures. When improving an existing deck, solar lights are your best option as they do not require any wiring. These sensible light fixtures come as post caps, wall and post mounted sconces that compliment or match the post caps, and there are even solar mosquito killer light options. They enhance your deck with a soft, inviting glow.  Solar LED table top light fixtures in many decorative designs are also available for that more romantic touch.  Water proof wall mounted outdoor solar landscaping fixtures are also available that use ultra bright LED bulbs.

LED Deck Lighting

LED lights are another excellent choice for lighting your deck.  Recessed LED solar deck lights can be added in the floor of the deck to illuminate where you step without blinding you as you walk over them. These up-lighters are one of the most widely used deck fixtures and their kits come with twenty to a set, making them an economical choice.  LEDs last much longer, use significantly less energy, will not burn a bare foot, and come in solar or low wattage options.  They are also perfect for recessed lighting on stairs. Deck lighting kits for floor and step options are available for do-it-yourselfers, as well as other designer kit choices.

Led candles mimic the real thing but are easy and safe to light

An Easy Luxurious Touch

Eternity candles are great portable lights that you can store indoors and bring out when you are on the deck. With a small LED inside, they mimic the look and feel of a candle and there is no hassle in lighting it or keeping an eye on a flame. (Read here for our full article on flameless candles, from remote controlled to scented: Flameless Candles: Easy And Hassle Free Lighting With Just As Much Elegance As The Real Thing)

Finish off your deck with decorative outdoor string lights or “fairy lights” around the rail or a solar umbrella light to illuminate without attracting bugs to the table. Whether you design your lighting for safety, security, a more intimate atmosphere or a combination of any or all of these, a lighting scheme that is well planned and implemented will be an asset to the value and enjoyment of your deck and your home.

Cheap Lighting Ideas For The Home: Indoors and Outdoors

With the right placement, cheap lighting ideas can bring sophistication and a warm ambiance into any room. The right light can bring out the best in any room and can provide the exact atmosphere and ambiance that fits a particular space. However, these lighting fixtures need not break the bank. There are affordable options that provide the right light and are energy efficient at the same time.

Cheap Lighting Ideas for the Indoors

There are more options for inexpensive indoor lighting since there are different lightning needs of specific parts of the house such as the kitchen, the living room, or the bedroom. The most important thing to keep in mind when providing lighting in various rooms, is looking for the optimal placement to get the most illumination in the room without using excessive lamps and bulbs. However, it is also important to consider the ambiance that one wants to achieve in the room. For example, kitchens need to be well lit so that cooking can be done with the best possible light. The living room can be lighted by conventional bulbs wrapped in colored transparent paper to give the desired color for the room. This is a fun tip when preparing the room for a Christmas party or some other gathering where a change in the lighting of the room can help set the mood.

Compact fluorescent bulbs produce a warm, soft glow that will be perfect for bedrooms and living rooms that need warm and soft illumination. They are also more energy efficient compared to incandescent bulbs and last ten times longer, making them one of the most affordable options for indoor and cheap kitchen lighting. These are also great for cheap bathroom lighting.

Led candles mimic the real thing but are easy and safe to light a room

led candles

Led candles can be controlled with a remote control

There are nifty and unconventional ways to light up the bedroom or the living room to get that ambiance that works to make living rooms and bedrooms cozy and relaxing. Candles are the traditional way of adding an instant glow to any room but they can be dangerous, high maintainable and costly. A cheap alternative is eternity flameless candles. These led candles which look like real candles but are powered by small coin batteries. They do not melt, so there is not clean-up of molten wax required after every use.

Cheap Lighting Ideas for the Outdoors

Elegant and inexpensive globe solar string lights

There are various ways to illuminate the outdoors on a budget. Solar lighting, the use of reflector lamps, and the use of standard incandescent bulbs are great cheap outdoor lighting options. Solar lighting can be achieved using solar panels, or the more common battery powered light fixtures. Panels are a more complex option but can be bought from hardware stores and even online and they are very easy to maintain. Outdoor solar lighting can easily be bought online at such places as Amazon. There is a whole range of outdoor solar lighting, from decorative outdoor sting lights, outdoor lanterns, tiki torches, to recessed deck lighting. The only disadvantage to using solar lighting is that there may not be enough stored energy during overcast days so the bulb may not be as bright compared to conventional lighting. The light given by solar power can be used as a warm accent to the backyard for short evening parties or barbecues.

Tiki torches are a cheap outdoor lighting idea

Reflector lamps are great alternative of cheap lighting fixtures to solar lamps. These are designed to disperse light beams over a large area, making it perfect light sources for patios and backyards. Bulbs for these lamps are also inexpensive and they offer great color rendition. Another cheap option is low-pressure sodium lighting. This is one of the cheapest types of lighting because it is very energy efficient. Up to 90 percent more efficient than the standard incandescent bulbs, this is suited for outdoor lighting since it can stay on for several hours before heating up.

There are various ways to light a room or a space up using these cheap lighting ideas. Compact fluorescent lamps, solar lights, and other unconventional lighting fixtures can help illuminate the room without costing a fortune. Knowing the right kind of lights and where to place them can help homeowners take advantage of the space they have and the lighting options available to them in order to set the mood of the room without breaking the bank.


Related Posts:

Bathroom Lighting Ideas

Deck Lighting Ideas

Home Lighting Ideas: From The Living Room To The Bedroom, The Kitchen To The Outdoors