Porch lighting, hung at the appropriate height, can deter burglaries, illuminate and highlight the architecture of your home and light your steps as you enter and leave. Lighting for your porch is available in a variety of styles and functions, and choosing the right height to hang them all is simply a matter of examining a few factors.
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Framing the Door
A wall sconce near the front door should be about one-third the height of the door. For a 9-foot door, hang the light at about 6 feet from the ground. If you're hanging lights on both sides of the door, hang them about one-quarter the height of the door. However, don't hang lights lower than about 6 feet from the ground.
An attractive porch lighting plan will also include ceiling lights in the form of recessed canned lights. These lights should be hung at even intervals, avoiding glare and hot spots, for an evenly-lit front porch area. If you're hanging decorative lights around the front door, you may want to add canned lights directly above the front door for added illumination.
Pendants and Ceiling Fans
Larger front porches may also feature a pendant light above the front door or exterior ceiling fans. Hang the pendant light so the bottom of the light is no lower than the top of the front door. Ceiling fans should be hung close to the ceiling unless your porch has exceptionally high ceilings. For 9-foot ceilings, use a 6-inch down-rod. Add 6 inches of down-rod for every extra foot of ceiling height over 9 feet.
For safety and to conserve natural resources, always follow manufacturer's instructions for bulb wattage. When purchasing decorative lights like hanging pendants and wall-mounted sconces, purchase lighting that matches the character of the rest of your home's exterior. Fixtures that shield the light source are preferred for exterior lighting to facilitate better night vision.