Thinking of adding a copper wall lantern or other wall mount lighting to the exterior of your home? If so, your first thought might be to go for a new porch light but wall lights offer flexibility in design as they can be used many places in your yard to combine form with function, which makes designers look beyond the most popular use.
What Wall Lights Do
Sconces are light fixtures attached to the wall so that light can be projected in any direction. Originally, they were torches, candles, or gas lights set in a brass or silver bracket supported by the wall. Now, while they might look like candles, they are electric light fixtures with glass coverings, especially when used indoors. These wall lights might be used to brighten a long hall, wall surface, or passageway. Since they lighten a small area, sconces are often used in multiples, such as on either side of a door, framing a fireplace, or symmetrically placed along the wall.
Whether use indoors or out, wall lights can serve three functions:
- Ambient lighting that provides overall light to an area and increases ambiance
- Task lighting that illuminates a specific area
- Accent or decorative lighting that enhances the style of the home or calls attention to what’s on the wall
Every wall light will primarily perform one of these functions, so it must be properly sized and properly placed to do it job.
Adding A Copper Wall Lantern To Your Home‘s Exterior
Exterior lighting serves several important safety functions as it illuminates your house number and provides safe access to your porch or entryway for yourself and guests. It is a deterrent to crime as vandals and home invaders prefer to strike in darkness. Well-selected fixtures on your front, side, and back doors that coordinate also enhance the architecture of your home.
Many homeowners have a porch light by their door; if there is enough room, placing a light on either side of the door is popular. While you want plenty of light, you should consider the size of your door in selecting fixtures. Wall-mounted lights should be about 1/4th the height of your door, while hanging fixtures should be 1/3rd the height. Getting a slightly bigger fixture is better than an undersized one as lanterns appear to be half the size from 50 feet away. The fixture should hung so that the light source is 5.5- 6.0 feet from the ground – eye level for the average person. This is true even if you have a taller-than-average door where you might want to hang the fixtures higher for balance. Bigger fixtures placed at the suggested height are usually a better alternative
According to Wayfair’s Guide to Outdoor Lighting, you should balance proportion and light output. For porches and outdoor dining areas, you should multiply the length and width of your fixture by 1.4 to obtain the wattage you need; for LED lights, divide the product by 4. To avoid “overlamping,” or making the area too bright, use lower wattage if you have multiple lights.
Going Beyond The Porch Light
In addition to a porch light, many homeowners also install lights on the garage. One light may be enough for a one garage, while for a two-car garage, you might position one on each side or several above the door. These lights should coordinate with entryway lights but be of smaller scale. Having proper lighting on your garage offers security when you come home late, while lighting the driveway area for sports in the driveway.
If you have a home with a patio that spans part of the back of your house, you might want additional lamps to brighten the area and make the space more usable. These wall lanterns should be mounted about 8-9 feet from the ground as their purpose is to provide security or general light to the area, while sticking to the 5.5-6 feet height for task lighting to illuminate activities.
In installing outdoor lights, the height of your lights might affect your neighbors. To make sure that your lights will not disturb them. checking with them before installation is the courteous thing to do. You might want to opt for Dark Sky compliant fixtures that reduce glare, while minimizing glare. Also make sure that you are in compliance with any municipal codes or environmental policies.
Since gas lights expel heat up to 500 degrees, you need to place them high enough that they will not present burn hazards. If you need the light lower on the wall, go for electric options.
Choosing The Proper Fixtures For Your Exterior
Installing exterior lighting requires good planning and professional installation, especially when you are adding new lighting rather than replacing old fixtures. Your installation must satisfy local codes and conceal wiring. Wall lamps can go anywhere, but the way to install them varies based on whether you are installing them on wood or aluminum/vinyl siding vs. on a brick wall.
Your goal is to install quality lamps that meet UL requirements for outdoor use. Dry-rated lamps should not be used outdoors; select those rated for damp or wet usage, which have appropriate electrical parts, drain holes, seals, and gaskets to withstand the weather they will be exposed to. On covered porches protected from storms and excessive moisture such as salt air, you can use damp-rated fixtures, but most other outdoor locations where rain, snow, hail, fog, and salt air will come in direct contact with the fixture, you need a wet-rated model.
Because exterior fixtures take more abuse than those intended for indoor use, buying quality fixtures is worth the extra expense. Quality brass, bronze, and copper wall lanterns last indefinitely, while those made of spun aluminum, PVC, and composite materials wear out in as little as three years while powder-coated or marine-coated aluminum might last 3.5 to seven years.
Quality Copper Wall Lanterns
Developing a plan for your exterior lighting will ensure that your lighting needs are met in an attractive, cohesive manner. The bigger your yard, the more you might benefit from a landscape designer. If you are looking to select outdoor lamps yourself, come to Lantern & Scroll, makers of copper wall lanterns that architects and designers engage for their clients.
We offer styles of quality solid copper lanterns in styles to bring out the best in any home. Our collections offer the same fixture in multiple sizes of wall mount, flush mount, hanging, and post/column mount lanterns properly scaled for various places in your yard. If you do not see what you like on our website, we will be glad to work with you to create a custom fixture that will maximize the beauty of your home. Contact us today.