Easy update: New porch lights

Where I live, there seems to be a trend to forego traditional porch lights in favor of can lights. I’m guessing there are a few reasons for this:

  1. Can lights wash a house’s façade with light, illuminating the property (and the address) better at night.
  2. Can lights cost less than buying exterior lights for the front door, back door, side door, and garage.
  3. Exterior lights can date a house. Choose something trendy and you’ll probably want to replace it in a few years, which can be expensive (see b).

But the opposite can be true too. Installing new porch lighting is a great way to update the exterior of a house without costing as much as, say, revamping your landscaping or painting your siding. Here are a few houses with boosted character thanks to attractive exterior lights:

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via—I am obsessed with these gas lanterns

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via—don’t overlook hanging lanterns as an option! My mom suggested we buy one for our back portico, and I’m so glad she did.

via—this barn light is so cute, and you can find fixtures like these for not a lot of cash

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One caution: Steer clear of too-small lights that will look dinky on your house. Before buying or ordering, take a tape measure on a walk around your neighborhood. Find a porch light that has attractive proportions on a neighbor’s house and go measure the light. You might be surprised how big it is. When Lonnie and I were buying lights for our porch, we planned on 12-inch fixtures, but after measuring a friend’s lights, we decided to order 16-inch fixtures, which look better for our house. •

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