What is the Best Lighting for an Entrance?
The best lighting for an entrance will be based upon a number of factors including what style or look you are going for, the type of light you want, and also the amount of space that needs to be lit.
Selecting the right lighting for your entrance may be one of the most important lighting decisions that you will make since it is helping to make that first impression when people approach and enter your home. The entrance lighting ideas below will help you with your decision making process.
When determining which is the best lighting for an entrance into your home, these will be the major decisions that you will have to make:
- The Type of Light
- The Style of Light
- The Finish of Your Light Fixture
*See below for a detailed explanation of these choices
Other Things to Consider When Selecting the Best Lighting For an Entrance
- Light Temperature – The light temperature you choose is extremely important and it can make a big difference in whether your entrance looks inviting or just ordinary. I suggest reading my article on the Kelvin Color Temperature Scale and then determine from there which light temperature you want for your entrance. This is as simple as selecting the right light bulb.
- Maintenance – The light fixture that you select will be outside. As a result, the maintenance aspect of your choice is also important. Especially if you do not want to deal with maintenance after the installation. If you want your fixture to be relatively maintenance free, then consider the following…
- Do not select a fixture that is made from a finish that needs to be polished like bronze.
- Do not select a fixture that has clear glass. You will quickly notice spots and a cloudiness that you will need to constantly clean on the outside and the inside. Such a pain…
- Try to find something that is completely sealed so that bugs and spiders cannot get inside. We have all seen exterior light fixtures that look horrible after some bug species has turned it into a hotel.
- Installation – If you are just replacing an existing fixture, then this is a job that you can absolutely do yourself. Every fixture will come with a wiring diagram that is easy to follow as long as you remember to cut the power first. If you are having to run wires to new locations, then you may want to hire an electrician.
- Moisture rating (damp rated or wet rated) – While searching for the best lighting for an entrance, the light fixture that you are selecting will be outside and therefore it needs to be rated for that if you want it to last. There are two basic moisture ratings and they are as follows:
- Damp Rated Fixture – A damp rated fixture is one that will be outside and exposed to the moist air, but will be covered and both rain and snow will not actually touch the fixture.
- Wet Rated Fixture– A wet rated fixture is one that will be outside and will also be exposed to rain and snow.
- Cost – In your quest to find the best lighting for an entrance, I put cost last because it should be the last thing that you consider. Like anything else, you can spend whatever you want. There is almost no limit to what you can spend if you really want to go crazy. If you want something that looks nice, then plan on spending anywhere from $200 – $300 for just the fixture. You can save some money on installation if you are handy. What you should do is determine what type, style and finish you believe would look best for your home Then, once you have determined that, shop for fixtures that fit that criteria but are within your price range.
Entrance Lighting Ideas – Light Types
- Pendant – A pendant light for an entrance will look great if you have a covered entry or porch that has a ceiling of at least 13 feet. You will need at least 3-4 feet for the pendant to hang from the ceiling and you also would like for it to be at least 8 feet from the ground. If you do not have the ceiling space for a pendant, then you should choose a different type of light fixture.
- Flush mount porch ceiling – If you have a covered entrance or porch with a low ceiling, you can select a flush mount fixture. For this, you will only need a ceiling height of 8 feet. If you already have a flush mount ceiling light fixture, then this will be an easy install for you. The only thing you could run into is if the new fixture is smaller than the old one, then you may see some areas where the existing paint does not cover where the old fixture was.
- Single sconce – This is your choice if you have little space next to your door or if your door is not centered. It may also be your choice if you have an existing fixture on one side of your door and do not want to run a wire to the other side. Most homes already have a single sconce.
- Double sconce – This is a nice option of you have a large entry or a larger door. You need to also have the space on either side of the door. If you currently have a single sconce and want to add another one to the other side, you will likely have to remove the door trim to run a wire from the current fixture over to where the new one will go on the other side.
Entrance Light Styles
When you are looking for entrance lighting ideas, this is a decision making process that is absolutely going to come down to your personal taste and choice. It should obviously match the look and feel of your home’s exterior, but it can also be one of those additions that help to make that statement for you.
There are options such as colonial, contemporary, modern, classical and Victorian just to name a few. Below are a few examples of what I am talking about. You can see how these all look every different from one another.
Entrance Light Finishes
While you are deciding on your entrance light style, you should simultaneously decide what finish you would prefer. In some instances, the light fixture that you prefer may not be available in the finish that you want. So, it is a good idea to have a backup plan here. You should consider a second finish that would look good or select a second fixture that may come in the finish that you prefer.
Below are the most common finishes that will be available when shopping for the entrance light fixture that is best for you. What you will find for the most part is Oil Rubbed Bronze, Copper, Nickel, Aged Brass, Polished Brass and Matte Black. There will be others, but these are the most common. Pay close attention to how they are made and whether they will last outside in the elements.
- Oil rubbed bronze – Oil Rubbed Bronze is a finish that has been finish has been darkened to look more like an aged bronze. It uses safe chemicals to get that darker bronze finish. Although there are various shades of oil rubbed bronze, the industry has essentially aligned to one where the consumers know what to expect when shopping for a light fixture. Below is an example of an oil rubbed bronze fixture.
- Nickel – A Nickel finish is really nothing more than brass with nickel plating over it that has a dull coating. It is also sometimes comes in the format of brushed nickel which has a similar look to other brushed metals like stainless steel. Below is an example of a fixture with a nickel finish.
- Matte Black – Matte black is the most simple to describe in that it is black but with a very dull finish. There is no shine or gloss at all to it. Below is an example of a matte black lighting fixture.
- Copper – Copper can come in two formats, the polished copper and also brushed copper. One is shiny while the other is dull. Both will give you a different look. If you use real copper then you are going to have to do some polishing multiple times per year to keep it shiny. It is usually something that most homeowners do not want to do which is why most of the fixtures come with a coating that has a copper finish or look to it. Below is an example of a copper lighting fixture.
- Aged brass – Aged brass or sometimes called antique brass is one that was darkened using chemicals to create that older look to it. Below is an example of an aged brass light fixture.
- Polished brass – The polished brass finish is similar to the copper in the sense that if you use a solid brass fixture, then you are looking at spending the rest of your life polishing it. So, for the most part the fixtures come with a lacquer coating which will prevent the tarnishing or the need for polishing. Below is an example of a polished brass light fixture.
What is the best entrance light finish?
The best entrance light finish is something that comes down to personal choice and taste. It all depends upon the look you are going for. My only recommendation is to choose one that is maintenance free. Do not get a finish that requires polishing or you will be a slave to your lighting fixtures.
What is the best lighting for an entrance?
The lighting that is best for an entrance is something that is all about you and what your tastes are. There is no “best entrance light fixture” since the answer is subjective. There may be one that looks best for your home, but may be the worst selection for your neighbor’s home.
How much does an entrance light cost?
You can spend as much or as little as you want on lighting for your entrance. However, what I recommend is that you take a lot of time to figure out what style, finish and type of lighting that you want for your entrance. Then, once you have all of that determined you can begin to shop for the one that fits within your budget.
Do I need an electrician to install an entrance light?
If you are simply replacing a fixture that is in the same location, then you can follow the wiring diagram on your new fixture yourself. Just make sure that you cut the power before you do anything. However, if you need to run wires to complete your installation and you are not comfortable working with electricity, then I recommend that you hire an electrician.
Which is the best entrance light style?
The best entrance light style will have to be matched to the exterior style of your home. If you have a colonial style home then you will need to look for a style of light that is colonial in nature. Meanwhile, if you have a contemporary style home then you will be searching for something that matches that instead by looking at examples of contemporary lighting.
Upgrading your entrance lighting will absolutely help to improve a home’s curb appeal. Spending some money in this area will not only make a great first impression for your visitors, but improved lighting will increase your home’s value at the same time. Hopefully these entrance lighting ideas helped you with your decision making process.