The entrance to your home is the place where you en-trance your visitors. It should never be just another deadly dull, matter of fact presentation of a door. Nor should be so theatrical it rivals something from the Paris Opera. The key is finding that middle ground and creating a slowly building experience that leads to a front entrance that is warm and inviting. One of the best ways to do so is with exterior lighting. Exterior lighting around the entrance not only sets the stage for the transition from outdoors to indoors, it also plays a huge role in elevating the night time curb appeal of your Toronto home. Let’s look at some ways outdoor lighting can be used to make your home entrance more inviting.
Use Outdoor Lighting to Devise a Stunning Home Entrance
The following are some tips on how to best upgrade the look of your front entrance using outdoor entryway lighting.
- Employ lanterns – Any experienced electrical contractor can tell you that lanterns go a long way toward enhancing the experience of your entryway. Most people have a single overhead light illuminating their front door. And while that’s better than nothing we want to aspire to something higher. A lantern on either side of the entrance turns the door into a focal point.
- Install ambient lighting – With lanterns framing the door and turning it into a focal point you now need some ambient lighting to create context and to act as a lead-in. Ambient lighting provides safe passage and helps the visitor transition from the outside world to the world of your home. Ambient lights are often embedded along the edge of the walkway and sometimes in the stairs.
- Choose appropriate styles of lamps – Make sure every light fixture you install at the entrance to your home dovetails stylistically with the rest of the house. For a Victorian house you’ll want to consider wrought iron lamps or carriage lamps on posts. For an aggressively modern Toronto house you’ll want simple geometric designs with little embellishment.
- Always seek proportional balance – The size of the fixtures you choose is also important. They should be in proportional balance to other components of the entryway like the door, the side lights, the transom, the overall size of the porch and more.
- Keep things balanced – If you intend to install down lighting in the entryway or in the area leading up to or surrounding the entryway, make sure you balance it out with a bit of uplifting. Remember, the goal is to guide the eye toward the front door, not down into the ground or up into the sky.
- Choose a qualified Toronto electrician – Lighting outdoors is a different ballgame than indoor lighting and brings with it its own set of rules and guidelines. Make sure you hire a qualified electrical contractor to do the installation work for your entryway lighting.
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Don’t Forget the Driveway
When guests arrive for holiday get together, birthday parties and more they don’t just magically appear at the door. In many cases they park in the drive then saunter up the walkway to the front door. As such driveway lighting is crucial in setting the tone for their arrival at the front doorway. The exact style of outdoor lighting you choose will depend on the kind of lights you’re using in the entryway. You want both areas to work in harmony, with the driveway/walkway setting the stage for the entryway. That said, when it comes to driveway lights keep the following in mind:
- Low profile lights negate the dangers of tripping and won’t blind your guests.
- All driveway lights must be specifically designed for the outdoors.
- Double sided lights can be used to light part of the driveway and lead the way toward the door.
- Any embedded lights must be able to handle the weight of the largest vehicle.
- Don’t overdo it. Driveway/walkway lights should be a prelude, not the main event.
Before You Buy Consider the Following
There are a number of considerations that go into lighting the entryway of your home. They include:
- The kind of lights that are available – Unless you are designing and producing your own custom lights you need to work within the parameters of what’s available. That would include ceiling lights both flush and semi-flush, hanging pendants, recessed lighting and sconces. In most cases you’ll want to use a mix of different types that work off each other.
- The amount of light you’re after – Certainly you don’t want to light your entryway like Times Square. Yet at the same time you don’t want it to be Gothic gloomy either. Remember, when it’s dark out a little illumination goes a long way. And setting up complementary, discrete zones of illumination can be an effective way to create atmosphere and even a touch of drama.
- Protecting your lights from the elements – Any outdoor lights must be able to withstand the ravages of nature: water, wind, dirt and time. Don’t ever install a light outdoors (even in the comparatively cozy confines of the entryway) that wasn’t designed to be an outdoor light. Material-wise this typically means fixtures of solid aluminum, brass, plastic or glass.
- Familiarize yourself with lumens – An increasing number of lights these days are LED (light emitting diode) lights whose brightness is measured in lumens, not watts. In the most general terms watts measure how much energy is needed to activate a certain bulb. By contrast, lumens measure how much light is actually produced. So the more lumens produced the brighter the light. A 40 watt bulb for instance typically produces about 450 lumens. A 100 watt bulb, 1,600 lumens. And so on.
The Bottom Line
Just because the sun has gone down doesn’t mean your front entrance can’t look great. Outdoor lighting installed by a highly qualified Toronto electrician will give a significant boost to the curb appeal of your home while also making it safer and more inviting. Talk to the pros at Hotwire Electric to find out more about installing exterior entryway lighting on your property.