Outdoor Entertaining: Light it Right

Warm weather calls for outdoor entertaining of all kinds. It’s easy enough to hang string lights and light some candles in hurricane style lanterns, but why not take it a step further and install some permanent outdoor lighting? There’s a wide selection of decorative lighting fixtures that are designed especially for outdoor use, adding just the right amount of light to make the outdoors come alive at night.

Just like inside the home, layering light outside is essential to create a welcoming atmosphere and the perfect outdoor living area. Light layering uses three layers of light: ambient, task, and accent lighting. Begin by selecting ambient lighting that provides a general, comfortable level of brightness. Try flush mount ceiling fixtures, hang a pendant or chandelier, or choose a lighted ceiling fan that provides a pleasant breezy atmosphere while lighting up the night.

Task lighting is necessary over grills, outdoor stoves, sinks, and bars. Several small pendant lights work well in these areas or install recessed lighting into the ceiling to provide direct light over work areas.

Finally, add accent and decorative lighting that accentuates the home’s architectural features and style. For entertaining areas, select wall-mounted fixtures such as sconces or lanterns. Outdoor chandeliers and pendants are a stylish way to bring the design appeal of indoor lighting outside. For a professional, pulled-together look, choose light fixtures with the same finish as the door pulls, fencing, and outdoor furniture.

As a final touch, control the lights with timers, dimmers, or motion sensors to turn on lights only when needed or turn them down as desired to create the perfect atmosphere.

Remember that any lighting for the outdoors must be rated for outdoor use, even in areas that are covered. A damp or wet location rating ensures that the fixture is waterproof and that dust and rain won’t interfere with the bulb or circuitry. Outdoor lighting must be durable enough to stand up to the elements. Browse Progress Lighting’s outdoor and landscape lighting collections here.