Outdoor spaces are no longer afterthoughts in a home’s design and decor plan. The outdoors set the stage for the rest of the home, create a welcoming ambience, and provide a space to relax, gather with friends and family, or steal a few quiet moments away in the midst of a hectic day. An outdoor area, whether it is a small porch or a large patio, needs to be styled and decorated to match both the functional and practical requirements of the space, as well as the cohesive design aesthetics that tie it in with the rest of the home.

When it comes to choosing exterior lighting fixtures, here are five key things to consider:

1. Function:

The primary purpose of exterior lighting is to make outdoor areas safer and more easily accessible after dark. In some cases, there can also be a secondary functionality. For instance, this South Hope Lantern from Kichler has a Bluetooth speaker built into its base. Its modern portable Bluetooth technology allows you to bring light and music to any space. Indoor/outdoor use Bluetooth wireless with 30Ft range 5hr battery life at maximum volume and 100% light.

2. Durability:

Outdoor Lights feature hardware and finishes that are designed to withstand tough weather conditions and are typically classified two different ways: Damp or Wet Rated. Your space will determine what you need:

  • damp-rated fixture must be used undercover and not directly exposed to the elements, even in a storm. Think covered porches or patios. Kichler offers more than 1,200 damp-rated products.
  • wet-rated fixture can be exposed to direct precipitation. Kichler offers more than 1,600 wet-rated products. For particularly harsh conditions — such as coastal saltwater areas or extreme cold, heat or sun —Kichler offers our Climates™ Outdoor line. These wet rated fixtures are designed to stand up to the worst Mother Nature has to offer.

Is the fixture wet rated? Does its finish hold up against the elements be it harsh sunlight, humidity, rain or snow? Will it resist fading and rusting?

3. Style:

Does the fixture complement the architectural style of the house, the type and color of the exterior walls and the overall mood of the space? Advice from our Experts: Use a pair of pendants over a dining area instead of a chandelier, or cluster three pendants over a seating area for a different look. You can even use a chandelier over a seating area; just make sure there are several points of light, using something like 2-3 lanterns like this.

4. Compliance:

Outdoor fixtures need to comply with HOA guidelines. Fixtures that produce a harsh glare, cause excessive light pollution or deviate from the community’s architectural and aesthetic style are not ideal choices.

5. Convenience:

Over time, fixtures will tend to collect dust, may need bulbs replaced or glass cleaned. How easy is the fixture to clean and maintain? Does it have a door to access bulbs or an open base that minimizes dust collection?

These tips and ideas are provided by Kichler Lighting. Find stunning, durable fixtures like the South Hope Outdoor Lantern from Kichler Lighting pictured here in the Hermitage Lighting showroom. Our experts at Hermitage Lighting can help ensure your outdoor fixtures meet all of your needs.