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If you really want to make your home feel like it belongs to you, updating it with exterior lighting can be a great renovation! It’s also one that doesn’t normally require as much time, effort, and money as some more intense home renovations, and it’s something that can be really personal to you and your family, and the things that you enjoy most about lighting. Whether you’re looking to increase the security of your home by adding additional illumination, or you want to make it look nicer and increase its value, here are some things to consider for your own exterior home lighting:

How do you illuminate a home’s exterior?

First, let’s talk about some of the different ways in which you can use outdoor lighting around your home. There are a lot of different ways and places you can illuminate your outdoor spaces

We’ll discuss landscape lighting first. Landscape lighting can be largely decorative, largely functional, or a combination of both traits. Lighting up your landscape can help you bring attention to different features around your home, such as gardens and trees, and can also illuminate walkways or other outdoor features that you want to be visible at night. There are ways to install permanent landscape lighting wired to a generator or your home’s power, or you can purchase small, solar-powered lights that you can stake into the ground wherever you want without having to worry about wiring. Different colors of landscape lighting can also be a lot of fun to play around with-maybe you could outline your sidewalk with one color, and the side of your home or fence with another, for instance. 

Roof lights are another options that can make a big difference for your home’s exterior. These kinds of lights could line your rooftops, like traditional Christmas lights or other decorative holiday lights, or you could have roof lights that shine down to illuminate your yard, front porch, or any other areas of your home that need some additional lighting. Either way, our track lighting’s color-changing light bulbs can adapt to any style—and they’re downlit, meaning less light pollution and more energy efficiency.

Does exterior lighting add to a home’s value?

One reason outdoor lights can be a smart addition to your home is that good exterior lighting can add to your home’s appeal and possibly even to its market value. Good landscaping can greatly increase the outside appearance or “curb appeal” of a home, and exterior lights are a big part of that. Though it’s hard to estimate how much exterior lighting could increase the value of your home, it’s clear that well-lit areas are generally considered to feel safer and more inviting, and that appeal is a big part of how valuable your home is judged to be.

What are some of the best lights to use? 

When you’re working with exterior lighting, you’ll obviously want to make sure that the hardware involved is designed to resist the elements as much as possible; having outdoor lights that fry up in the first rainstorm isn’t only wasteful, but also dangerous. Make sure that any lighting you include can get wet, snowed on, or stand up to the heat, cold, humidity, and other outdoor conditions common in your area. LEDs are also a good idea for exterior lights, because they tend to require fewer replacements and less maintenance.

Where should exterior lights be placed?

This really comes down to what it is that you’re looking for from your lighting. Once again, you might be trying to make your home easier to see at night, or you might be trying to brighten up your property for security purposes, or you might be more focused on making sure that everything looks pretty at night and makes your property an attractive place to live.

There are a couple of ways to think about your exterior lights; they can be there mainly for illumination, or they might be accent lighting designed to draw attention to parts or features of your property. Of course, many exterior lighting plans will utilize both of these approaches, or a mix of the two.

One of your main goals with your outdoor lighting installations should be fitting them to make sense with your home and yard’s appearance. For instance, many people will install upward-facing lights underneath trees or other large features of their yard; placing these lights in the middle of an open area, with nothing to illuminate, won’t quite have the same effect. You’ll want to place outdoor wall lights in areas that look intentional, so that your home’s yard and exterior are clearly planned out, not just thrown together at the last minute. That sense of deliberation and planning is another thing people look for—even if it’s unconsciously—when deciding how valuable they think a property is. 

So, when deciding where outdoor wall lights should go around your home, pick places that need illumination (like porches, doors, gates, and walkways) and places that would look nice as a focal point (gardens, trees, pillars on a porch, water features, and so on).

What is downlighting and uplighting? What are the pros and cons of each?

When you’re working on planning the lights for your home’s exterior, you might run into the terms “uplighting” and “downlighting.” Fortunately, these terms mean exactly what they sound like: uplighting is when a light is installed shining mainly upwards, illuminating whatever is above it. An example of this might be a small light installed underneath a flagpole, which shines upwards onto the flag to keep it lit during the night. In a similar way, downlighting is a term that refers to putting lights up high and having them shine downwards onto things below, in much the same way as a flood light might be installed.

Uplighting is an excellent strategy for accent lighting because a light installed facing upwards can easily be focused on points of interest in your yard or outside your home. However, uplighting won’t do very much in the way of illumination for the space around it, because the light tends to get scattered into the air more than it actually shines on the ground. You can highlight your home’s walls with uplighting to provide some illumination, but in general, uplighting is not going to be as effective if you want to light up driveways, doors, and so on. 

On the other hand, downlighting is pretty much the opposite. Downlighting is excellent for providing the maximum amount of illumination: a light placed above a front porch, for example, could potentially illuminate the entire porch on its own, if you get it in the right spot. Downlighting is best used for areas where you want to stay lit for security purposes, as well. Lights shining down onto your driveway or into your backyard will give much more light than uplighting would, and fewer places where you can’t see what’s going on. However, downlighting won’t work very well for areas that are farther away from your home or fence, since there won’t be as many good locations to install them high up. Downlighting can also sometimes be too extreme; if you want to draw attention to an exterior feature, downlighting it might make it stand out so much that it loses all subtlety or makes it hard to see details.

How much does it cost to install exterior home lights?

Although the installation cost will vary widely depending on your home’s size and lighting style requirements, we’ll try to give a general idea of what could be expected. A full exterior home lighting system installation in the United States tends to cost between $2000 and $6000, depending on the size of the system, the complexity of the system, and many other factors.

Does it cost extra to install controllable lights?

It is likely to cost you a little bit more money if your exterior home lighting is controllable, but the additional price will not make that much of a difference in the big picture. In many cases, the control can be done through a smart device or home controller device, so if you already add one, you’re not going to need to add very much to your purchase of an exterior home lighting system.

How can JellyFish Lighting help me? 

If you’re looking to personalize your home’s exterior with a modern outdoor lighting system, you don’t have to take on that upgrade all on your own. We’ve created track lighting fixtures that hide along the eaves of your roof and exterior surfaces, letting you enjoy year-round discrete, color-changing lighting. Contact JellyFish Lighting for professional help with designing and installing an LED lighting system that helps your home and yard look beautiful and safe.