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10 genius (and gorgeous) garage lighting ideas

Ask any home designer if exterior garage lighting is important in establishing curb appeal, and you’ll get a resounding ‘absolutely!’ Proper lighting can give your home its own unique style and set the tone for your interior aesthetic as well. It’s like the calling card for your decorating style.

Beyond the aesthetic appeal, there is also a matter of safety. After all, having a well-lit exterior deters break-ins, prevents falls, and makes it easier for you to enter and exit your home. 

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Picking the right lighting fixture is overwhelming, to say the least. You have to determine the brightness, color, number, and design of the appliances, not to mention you also have to wire them correctly. We’ve made it simpler by selecting some of our favorite outdoor garage lighting ideas, walking you through a host of styles for every taste from understated and traditional to eclectic and modern. 

What to look for in outdoor lighting

The right outdoor garage lighting for your home must balance two things: design and mechanics. Here are a couple of important factors to consider when choosing exterior lights for your garage:

Durability: Outdoor lights take a lot of punishment — rain, wind, sun, snow, just to name a few. Make sure your lights can take it on and keep shining through it all. 

Energy Efficiency: With so many choices including, but not limited to, solar, LED, motion sensor, and smart lights, how will you choose? We recommend sticking with the most energy-efficient option. Solar is the obvious winner here, but many hard-wired styles offer great energy ratings, too. Do a bit of research and pick the lights and bulbs that provide all the features you want at the lowest possible energy cost.

Exterior garage lighting ideas for every decorating style


For a traditional look, flank either side of your garage doors with a pair of sconce lights, and pull the whole house together by mimicking the same lighting style on the front entryway. This is an ideal look for traditional and farmhouse-style homes. These fixtures offer soft accent lighting, all while providing ample brightness to your outdoor space. We recommend investing in LED bulbs because they are among the most energy-efficient, lasting 2-10 times longer than other bulbs.

If you want your fixtures to be as much of a factor as the light they give off, go for a dramatic, wall-mounted sconce boasting strong lines, rich fabrication, and a distinctive style. This also ensures you maintain the design element even when the feature is unlit.

When you need a well-lit outdoor area but want to reduce the busyness of the fixtures, partially recessed lighting is the best choice. By interspersing these lights between a few wall-mounted sconces, you can maximize your lighting and keep the number of visible units to a minimum.


Give a run-of-the-mill garage some ‘wow’ factor by affixing an antique-style lantern to the exterior. It will add the right touch of character, all while providing the warm-lit glow that’s a necessity for any garage area.

Gooseneck lighting not only gives a cool, vintage vibe to the front of your home but also gives you the ability to direct lighting where it’s needed most. 


Do you have structural corbels as part of your home’s architecture? Take full advantage, by adorning them with pendant-style lights to give your home a sleek, yet fun, style.

For a minimalist, ambient vibe, opt for fully recessed lighting. The lights themselves will essentially be hidden, so all the drama comes from brightness emanating from the shadows. It safely illuminates the area all while keeping the focus on the architecture, not the bells and whistles of the accents.

If you’re a fan of these hidden lights, consider installing uplights directly into the driveway beneath the doors. This provides the perfect amount of light without hampering the visual appeal of a modern home’s simple lines. Additionally, for homes with lots of windows or metallic elements, the reflection is out-of-this-world dramatic.

The primary purpose of outdoor lighting is to provide safety and security. But who said functional can’t be stylish too? By playing with light, shadows, colors, and textures, you can create a truly jaw-dropping entrance to your home that greets your guests with a burst of your own personality.

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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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