How to choose exterior lighting

Make light of the short winter days by introducing a warm glow to the exterior of your property

At this time of year, a well lit home is just as important outside as in. A considered scheme will guide visitors safely to your door as well as highlighting your property's most attractive features. There are more choices than ever when it comes to stylish options so it's worth taking the time to consider the practical and aesthetic needs of your property.

Do your research

garden lighting

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There are several stylish and security-conscious designs that will help to create a welcoming exterior on dark winter days. As well as choosing a decorative wall lantern like one of these, bear in mind that flexibility is key. Having more than one circuit means that you can introduce layered lighting to your exterior, which is a much more subtle way of illuminating an entrance than relying on just one source.

Choose a standout piece

hanging lamp

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A centrally hung pendant like this is always a good starting point. ‘The trend is to create a restrained and much more considered scheme,' advises lighting specialist Charles Edwards, 'Instead of glaring light, or at the other end of the scale, feeble solar lights that don't really work in the winter when you need them most, there are now genuinely decorative pieces available which are still bright enough to act as a good security measure.'


house with white wall and plant pots and hanging lamps

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Thinking of your garden as another room will help create the right atmosphere. As well as fixed wall lights flanking a doorway or a decorative lantern on a dimmer switch, adding soft LEDs within planting and either side of steps will look welcoming as well as guiding visitors safely to the door. It's a good idea to put the door lights on a motion or time sensor so the light turns on as you approach - but be careful where you place the sensor so that it isn't triggered by wildlife. Spike lights offer great flexibility and are useful for moving the light around as planting grows and for adding to the scheme as your garden develops.

Light fantastic

ceramic pierced votives tealights

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Remember too that lighting can also be decorative and fun, whether you add frost-proof candle-lit hurricane lamps either side of your doorstep or opt for simple but chic paper lanterns or striking studded ceramic options like these. Lighting trees, sculptures or smaller plants like acers, box balls and olive trees will also draw the eye outwards and increase the sense of space to your home's interior. In the winter, opt for some extra magic with hanging candle lanterns suspended from bare branches and a simple string of battery-operated fairy lights entwined around a pair of tall potted plants. Finally, remember that ‘less is more' are the buzz words in lighting. Too much light can glare and flatten out the space, so exercise restraint.



Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.