The front of your house is the main attraction to your home. It's what those driving or walking by first notice, and without the proper outdoor lighting, your entryway could go unnoticed.
Exterior lighting is tricky, but it's certainly not impossible. Outdoor lighting can complement several things, such as your landscaping, hardscaping, porch steps and the architectural design of your home. Simply put, you want this lighting to flatter your home, but also to give you and your guests a way to navigate to your front door.
Choosing a Style
If you truly want your front door to stand out, you need to decide what lighting fixture would work best for your home. For starters, if you have an enclosed porch or a covered porch of any sorts, this gives you the opportunity to hang a light fixture or even choose a pendant.
A pendant light fixture will accentuate the area around your front door, but if you don't have something overhead, wall sconces might be most efficient. These types of fixtures will illuminate your front door and the wall around it.
Additionally, you want to choose something rustic, contemporary, casual, modern, or a Southwestern style of light. For temporary or newly built homes, rustic or Southwestern might not fit so well. However, using a casual style of fixture could mesh perfectly with your home's décor and overall aesthetics.
Picking a Fixture Size
Typically, you want your front porch light to be between 5 and 9 inches wide when you're dealing with a standard 6- to 8-foot doorway. However, you can go a little bigger to 10 to 12 inches for doorways exceeding an 8-foot entryway.
If you're hanging the light, you want to ensure your porch is not only wide enough, but also tall enough for the fixture. You don't want to create an orb or ball of light that is too large. During the night, light fixtures that are too big will definitely stand out and detract from your home's other features.
You also need to consider this if you decide to add multiple lights. Remember that too many light fixtures can simply overdo it. Think minimal when you're choosing your outdoor light fixture.
Lastly, you'll want to know where to place your light fixture(s). If you're trying to be more modern with your design, a simple overhead light pendant above the door gives enough light to see the door and keyhole when you arrive home. For traditional homes, a single wall sconce light fixture can provide just enough light for guests approaching your doorway.
But, if you're enclosed porch is long enough, you can get symmetrical with your lighting design. There are no true rules on how to design your front door lighting, but matching the size of the light fixture with the design of your home could be a good start on finding the perfect fixture.