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Lighting your Entryway for Safety

by Jessica Ackerman on Jun 8, 2010

Having appropriate lighting for the entryway is important for any home. Strategically placed and adequately bright, entryway lighting can deter burglars from breaking and entering and provide you and your family with a sense of security. When you have guests visiting in the evening, entryway lighting can direct them safely to the right house.

Where to place lighting

Lighting fixtures that illuminate the front porch, including the front steps, house numbers, and keyhole, are the first areas you should consider. Illuminating these places will help you enter your home quickly without having to fumble around in the dark. Mount one or two light sconces by the door that will cast light onto the area and bring out the textural and architectural details in the surrounding wall. A wide-shaded sconce that protrudes from the wall will direct light downward, over the front steps. Craftsman-style lanterns and traditional colonial-style lights are popular styles for porch lighting.

Post and rail lights as well as path lights brighten the walkway leading to the porch. They are very helpful for providing a safe path to your home from the curb. Guests will feel welcome and secure when they are making their way to and from your home at night. Also consider lighting for stairs along the walkway or up to the porch. They can be recessed into each step, or installed on the wall or posts and directed downwards onto the steps.

Lighting fixtures should also be placed at other entries to your home, like the back door, sliding doors, and the garage. If you have a large outdoor space, you may want to think about installing motion-sensor flood lights, which will increase security by providing enough light to deter a burglar. When selecting your entryway and outdoor lights, avoid creating excessive glare from unshielded light sources, which can cause irritation for neighbors and add to light pollution.

Some lighting safety features

Motion sensor lights: A motion activation system detects movement within a fixed distance from a sensor, and will automatically switch a light on. It is useful for anyone trying to make their way to your front door.

Automatic lighting: When the sun begins to set, lights that are fixed with timers or photocells automatically switch on. It is a convenient feature to have, since you will have one less thing to remember to do each day. Lighting that is activated by a photocell will switch off only at dawn, so you may want to consider using an energy saving compact fluorescent light bulb.

Remote controlled lighting: Another convenient feature to enjoy, remote controlled lighting can allow you to adjust the intensity of your entryway lights from indoors. Adjusting the lights lets you determine the ambience and mood you want to create around the exterior of your home.

Lighting for indoor entryways

When your guests enter your home, you want them to feel just as welcome and oriented as they were walking up to your front door. The lighting for your indoor entryway should therefore be soft and pleasing, while bright enough so they can clearly see the layout of your home. A few accent lighting sources should do the trick.

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