Entrance lighting is more than just placing a light near your doors. Be it the front, back, or side door, the correct type of outdoor lighting creates a warm ambiance and offers an extra level of security.

Gone are the days of a bare bulb spreading a harsh glare across your entryways. With the right entrance lighting design, you can turn a large patio into an extra entertainment spot or a porch into a cozy reading nook. A well-lit front entrance also helps improve curb appeal and can increase the value of your home.

So, how do you choose the right light for your entryways? Keep reading for creative entrance lighting tips and ideas.

How to Light Your Main Entrance (and Side and Back Doors)

Your external lights should be functional and aesthetically pleasing. With a covered porch area, you don’t have to worry so much about the elements. That gives you the freedom to experiment with your lighting.

Look at the overall architecture of the house, including the front door and front-facing windows. When choosing an outdoor entrance light, consider the entryway’s size and the space’s purpose. For example, directional spotlights directed toward the grand pillars in the image below make this home appear more majestic and appealing.

Entrance lighting to highlight grand pillars flanking the front door

If you have other entry points, such as garage doors or back and side entrances, ensure they are adequately lit as well. Keep in mind that light beams should illuminate only your property and not point toward neighbors’ gardens or windows.

Our CAST Classic Niche Light is perfect for mounting next to or above back doors and side entrances for glare-free directional light. With a solid cast bronze base and heavy-gauge copper shroud, it fits cozily under eaves or against exterior walls.

The Importance of Lighting for Safety and Security

If not correctly lit, outdoor steps and walkways leading to your front door can be a safety hazard. Visitors unfamiliar with your home may injure themselves going up and down outdoor stairways. Avoid accidents by ensuring entryway lights illuminate the whole step up to the edge, so everyone can see where they begin and end.

Entrance lighting also acts as a security measure as it discourages would-be intruders. Studies in New York show that developments that received outdoor lighting had significantly lower levels of crime.

Although you might be tempted to install the brightest light possible, we recommend directional lights with a shroud. These will offer enough lighting but without unnecessary glare.

You can install timers on your power supply/transformer to set specific times for your lights to turn on and off. This will ensure that your home and property are always secure and well-lit when the sun goes down.

Overhead Outdoor Lighting Fixtures 

If your entrances are covered or even boast a large deck or patio area, you can use an overhead light hanging from the ceiling.

There are numerous overhead outdoor light designs, but a major determining factor is the height of the ceiling. Hanging fixtures work best in spaces at least 10 feet high.

Use wall lights to highlight architectural features near an entranceway.

You can also attach wall lights to illuminate the outdoor space. For example, you can attach our CAST Classic Engineered Surface Mount Wall Light to illuminate an architectural point of interest or something nice that you have hanging on an outer wall.

Lighting Tips for Creating a Great Effect 

You don't want excessive lights around your house; instead, the lights should work to highlight the features of your home and the landscape around it. Look for eye-catching areas such as water features, front porch pillars, unique plants and trees, and attractive pathways to illuminate.

You can take full advantage of such places and turn them into welcoming chill-out spots to relax in the evenings. Here are a few ways to use outdoor lighting to create a beautiful effect.

Use Front Path and Stair Lighting

Take advantage of your natural foliage with tree lights, or place a set of Solid Bronze Ground Lights between smaller shrubs along the pathways.

Bronze ground lights placed in between low-lying foliage and external view of the bronze light.

Be careful not to direct the lights upward, as they can blind whoever is navigating the path or steps. Instead, you can use something like this solid bronze CAST Classic Small Mushroom Area/ Path Light with a compact design that provides sufficient light without a harsh glare.

Illuminated pathway leading to a house’s front steps and front door. The area is lit with small pathway lights, wall lights, and recessed ground lights.

Place area lights close to the pathway or the base of stairs. To create different effects and focal points, you can intersperse these with ground lights.


Illuminate Your Garage and Driveway

Lighting up your driveway can be aesthetically appealing and improve safety and security. When placing your lights, allow enough space from the curb or the pavement edge so passing vehicles don’t damage the lights.

Driveways often lead up to a garage, so this endpoint should be well-lit using fixtures that fit the architectural design. If you’re staking lights, ensure the staking post goes deep into the ground to keep the light stable.

A contemporary house with pathway lights and downward-facing wall lights next to the garage door in front of a well-lit main house.

In this photo, the unique garage design is turned into a focal point through the clever use of lighting outside the garage. The outdoor lights offer extra security and complement the dramatic lights in the main house.

If your home has large trees around the driveway, uplighting is a way to enhance its beauty. You can have fun experimenting with shadows and foliage.

A dramatic lighting effect created by uplighting and downlighting trees and shrubs on a circular driveway.

You can re-create this dramatic look using tree lights attached to the trunk about 25 feet off the ground using a CAST Tree Light Mounting Canopy to prevent mold or damage to the tree. You can also add directional bullet lights at the tree’s base.

Light Up Your Porch and Patio With Outdoor Wall Lights and Niche Lights

Many houses have a front porch, back patio, or both. If you are so fortunate, put these spaces to the best use. With strategic outdoor lights, you can make the area inviting after the sun goes down.

CAST Lighting’s range of deck and wall lights are the perfect way to turn your outdoor space into a livable area.

Simple overhead lights and a spotlight used to illuminate an outdoor patio area.

This deck’s simple yet distinctive style is even more striking with just a few overhead niche lights. The lights should be warm and inviting while allowing family and friends to see each other or locate their cocktail.

If your patio doubles as an outdoor kitchen area—maybe with a sink, grill, or bar—then under-the-counter lights are necessary. They will let you see what’s stored under the counter even when countertops and edges block overhead lights. Our CAST Classic Engineered Wall Light is specifically designed for surface mounting and works well as a flush-mounted fixture.

Summing Up

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The same goes for the visual impact your house creates for visitors. That first view will stay in their minds and can affect how much potential buyers value your home.

Keep safety and security in mind when installing outdoor lights, and keep all your entrance points visible at night. These lights should also illuminate stairs or pathways that can be safety hazards.

Overhead outdoor lighting fixtures and lights on patios, decks, and porches allow you to extend your living areas and merge the outdoors with your home. Place lights along your driveway and mount wall lights flush next to garage doors as an added security measure and a way to draw the eye toward the design of the house.

You may not be able to change the structure and design of your actual house, but using these lighting tips can dramatically change the look of your home.