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Patio at night with a lantern on a coffee table with couches on either side.

Outdoor Living Guide

Outdoor Living Tips

Today’s outdoor spaces are extensions of our homes with kitchen equipment, dining spaces, lounging areas and more. Here are a few of our favorite lighting tips to help you enjoy these spaces - day into night.

Make a Plan

Man with clipboard walking on an outside garden path with a smiling couple

Whether you’re hiring a landscape lighting contractor or doing it yourself, it’s a good idea to think through any restrictions or future plans you have for the space. Think short and long term:

  • Where is electricity available?

  • What is the function of the space you want to illuminate?

  • Do you anticipate expanding the space or adding additional lighting in the next two to three years?

  • Do you live in a community that has lighting restrictions? Dark sky? Sea turtle protection?

Mix and Match Fixtures & Styles

Find the right mix of style, product type and lighting combination to create a comfortable space outside your home.

  • Use a combination of outdoor and landscape lighting to create layers of light and the atmosphere you desire in outdoor spaces.

  • Use an outdoor ceiling fan or general lighting outside, light task areas with a hanging pendant or chandelier and create a relaxing conversation area with a portable lantern. Different fixture types can be used to create a beautiful holistic lighting plan.

  • Combine styles and finishes for an eclectic design or choose fixtures from the same collection for a unified whole.

Advice from our Experts: Use a pair of pendants over a dining area instead of a chandelier, or cluster three pendants over a seating area for a different look. You can even use a chandelier over a seating area; simply center it over the coffee table and hang it with 7-feet of clearance underneath.

Get the Damp or Wet Rating You Need

Outdoor ceiling fans and lights feature hardware and finishes that are designed to withstand tough weather conditions and are typically classified two different ways: Damp or Wet Rated. Your space will determine what you need:

  • A damp rated fixture must be used under cover and not directly exposed to the elements, even in a storm. Think covered porches or patios. Kichler Lighting offers more than 1,200 damp rated products.

  • A wet rated fixture can be exposed to direct precipitation. Kichler Lighting offers more than 1,600 wet-rated products. For particularly harsh conditions — such as coastal saltwater areas or extreme cold, heat or sun —Kichler Lighting offers our Climates™ Outdoor line. These wet rated fixtures are designed to stand up to the worst Mother Nature has to offer.

Advice from our Experts: Just because a light or fan is rated for outdoor use doesn’t mean you can’t use it indoors. If it is the style you are looking for, go for it. Wet or damp rated wall lights, pendants, chandeliers and ceiling fans can work great in an indoor setting. However, landscape lighting (path, accent, and deck or hardscape lights) is not designed to be used indoors and shouldn’t be.

Light for Safety and Security

Front porch with two black capanna sconces on either side of a white front door.
12 Volt LED Path Lights lighting outdoor stone steps
Outdoor stone steps with step lighting

The right outdoor lighting allows you, family and friends to move around safely and easily after dark. A landscape lighting professional can help you design a lighting plan that includes lighting for spaces around your home:

  • Light steps, decks, paths and walkways using:

    • Step lights

    • Hardscape lights

    • Path lights

    • Post lights

  • Illuminate entrances with decorative lighting, including:

    • Outdoor lanterns

    • Outdoor ceiling lights

    • Outdoor hanging lights

    • Address lights

Advice from our Experts: Illuminated address lights make it easy for guests and emergency vehicles to find your home. They’re low voltage and easy to install.

Consider LED Energy Efficiency

Outdoor LED offers several benefits over traditional halogen or Xenon fixtures.

  • The bulbs last a long time: meaning less maintenance.

  • They’re highly energy efficient: high quality LED lights not only last longer - they also use less energy.

  • The potential for fewer bugs: high quality LED fixtures and bulbs produce less heat and UV light, two things bugs are attracted to.

  • Better color control: the color of the LED you use in your outdoor spaces can help set the mood and bring out the beauty of furnishings and plants.