20 Ways to light your front door

Bright color and flowers say "Welcome". The wall lantern is a perfect fit.Lovely entrance with

That bright red door and the bold flowers cry a cheerful “Welcome”.
The wall lantern fits the architectural design well, but two of them flanking the door would add symmetry and a more even light distribution.


Generally we recommend lights on either side of a door,  but this front door is just so charming that this faux-pas is easily overlooked. I’d just change out the glass in the lantern for water glass or a more opaque glass that obscures the bulb and/or use a nostalgic clear filament bulb , now also available as LED.
(But what is with the manhole cover collecting leaves at the door step?) Details, details…

Large-Pendant-LightOne can only hope that it’s the angle this beautiful front door was photographed at. That pendant light looks overwhelming!

Small-Mission-Style-sconceBe bold, my friend! That little Mission Style sconce really doesn’t cut it! The scale of the pendant light is more like it!
Rule of thumb: If you have just one wall light on one side of the door its height can be up to 1/3 of the height of the door. If you have two of them flanking the door, its 1/4 of the height.
Front-Porch-no-LightsThis front porch is so inviting, but I see no wall lights, so the lighting must be coming from above.
Not ideal, since it creates the dreaded “flashlight-under-the-chin effect” that makes everyone over 12 years look old at the flick of a switch.

Spectacular entrance to a beautiful contemporary dwelling. The two wall lights add drama and provide light for the entrance. The recessed light above the door fits the minimalist design, but unfortunately, just like the example above)  also adds harsh facial shadows to anyone entering.

White-Walls-with-Carriage-LanternsJust wanted to add this for good measure: Nice choice of the lanterns both regarding design and scale.

Warehouse-shadeI don’t quite know why, but there is just something about the good old industrial warehouse fixtures that is intriguing to me.


The little decorative ceramic light over the door probably doesn’t shed a lot of light, but with that abundance of color – I could live with it and carry a flashlight.


The light does look like a shower head, but I’m still in awe with the boldness of this color combination.

Red Barn Lights

Love the red barn and the crisp white barn doors, but would have preferred to see traditional barn lights.
These contemporary sconces (nothing wrong with them per se) are hung too high. As a rule of thumb, outdoor sconces or lanterns should be mounted with the center of the light source about 5’6” to 6’ from the ground and 8’ – 10’ apart.

Let-Your-Outdoor-Lighting-Set-the-Stage-14Am I repeating myself? – Recessed lights look nice and minimal from a design perspective, but the lighting itself is is unflattering and harsh, since it is directional, shining down illuminating everyone from above.

Lanterns flanking a front door - traditional and beautiful

Nice! This is how it is done!

Welcome-homeWho looks at the lighting when you have this guy welcoming you home? But FYI: even that is perfect.

Sconces should not be too smallOne of the most common mistakes we see are outdoor sconces that are too small. Be bold!!

Contemporary entranceWell lit contemporary entrance.

Yellow-Front-PorchSoooo inviting in spite of the undersized wall light. Sigh!

Oh-WellOh well! No comment.

rock-wallGorgeous stonework, undersized wall light way too high over the door.


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