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How to choose the right exterior garage lighting for your home

Lighting is a big part of your home’s aesthetics; whether you have contemporary track lighting, table, or floor lamps, your lighting choices can really enhance the look and feel of a room. But what about outdoor lighting? Not only does your choice of outdoor lighting help to illuminate your home for both safety and security, but it also helps to set the stage for your home’s unique personality and style. But when it comes to your exterior garage lighting, it’s often more about function over form. 

Purchasing or replacing your exterior garage lighting can be a big investment, and with so many more choices available today, it can also be confusing. That’s why it’s so important for you to know all of the options available so that you can make the right choice for your home.

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The 411 on exterior garage lighting

As its name implies, outdoor lighting illuminates your home’s exterior and helps improve vision at night for entryways, sidewalks, and paths. Your exterior garage lighting can also accent your home’s curb appeal, and most importantly, keep your home safer from intruders or break-ins. After all, a lit-up home is far less likely to be a desirable target for a burglar than a dark one. 

The right exterior garage lighting means everything when it comes to your home exterior. Here are some factors to consider to help you make the right choice:

Durability: Outdoor lights need to bear daily wear and tear and the full forces of nature. Be sure your outdoor lighting can withstand the onslaught of rain, wind, sun, and snow. 

Style: The style of your home should help dictate the style of your outdoor lighting. A modern home looks best with sleek, modern lighting, while a Cape Cod needs a more traditional lighting choice. 

Energy Efficiency: Solar is the most energy-efficient lighting option, but of the hard-wired varieties, you will find various levels of energy efficiency. Do your homework and choose a style that provides the features you want at the lowest possible energy cost. 

Type: The biggest decision you will face when selecting your exterior garage lighting is the type of fixture you choose. With different light bulbs, energy sources, and functionality, you have so many different options at your disposal. But, we’re here to help figure out which is best for you.

Common outdoor garage lighting ideas

LED lights

One of the most popular outdoor lighting applications, LEDs, is the most energy-efficient light on the market (by far), with the longest lifespan of any other type of lighting—two to ten times longer than other lighting technologies. LEDs emit a very high-quality light, and they don’t have some of the breakage or recycling issues with other lighting options, such as fluorescent lights. Once one of the costliest lighting options, LED pricing has come down over the years, and when you factor in the longer lifespan of LED lights, it’s easy to understand why they are a worthy investment. 

Motion sensor lights

Sensor-activated lighting adds another level of safety and security, as you’ll never need to approach a dark garage or fear tripping in the dark again. Motion sensor lights conserve power, as they shut off automatically when movement is no longer detected. They act as a deterrent by lighting up your property when someone approaches your home. That said, motion-activated lights are very sensitive and could light up when you don’t want them to—like when a raccoon walks through your yard, or a car passes by. There are often settings you can select to avoid unnecessary activation, so proper installation is crucial. 

Solar lights

If you’re trying to lower your energy bills, there’s no better choice than solar lighting. Extremely cost-efficient, they operate by rechargeable batteries powered by the sun and require absolutely no wiring, digging, or trenching. There is no need to worry about power outages; your solar lights will continue to work since they run on sunshine! Easy to install, cost-efficient, and environmentally friendly, it’s no wonder so many people are switching to solar fixtures for their outdoor lighting needs. 

Smart security lights

Smart security lights are basically surveillance cameras attached to light fixtures. When someone approaches your property, the camera will capture video footage — a great everyday precaution and crucial for reviewing the footage later in the event of a break-in or other disturbance. As per the name, these security lights are smart-home integrated and can be operated via your smartphone. In addition to lighting up when motion is detected near your garage or front property, these smart lights can also monitor your home while you’re away. For maximum effectiveness, be sure that the quality of the camera has strong night vision to capture details, even in complete darkness. 

Your outdoor lighting choices give your property extra style and security when it’s dark outside. Before making any outdoor lighting decisions, weigh your options and choose the one that suits your style, safety, and energy efficiency needs.

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Kim Renta
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kim has written for Bloomingdales, Movado, and various e-commerce wine sites. When she's not writing about wine and…
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