The homify guide to porch lighting

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As you may or may not know, the common modern day exterior 'porch'—whether installed in the front, side or back of a domestic space or home—goes a long way back. As an element of home design, it's roots are ancient: the Old French 'porche' derived from the latin 'porticus' (or colonnade), derived in turn from 'porta' (passage). Its function throughout the centuries, and in particular more modern times, has fluctuated and differed, much of it dependent on location. In Britain, for example, porches came into vogue in the Catholic churches of the medieval era: constructed of stone, sometimes of timber, typically at the west or south side of the building, for both liturgical and practical (shelter) purposes. Owing to far less religious purposes, today the common porch is a frequent addition to interior and exterior household design, serving as both a functional and aesthetic feature to homes all throughout world. They come in all different shapes and sizes, styles and trends, but the one thing they all share in common is their mutual need to be lit up, and lit well.

Today on homify, we're taking a good look—not just at the art of the household porch—but the wonderful ways and styles we can light them up. Take a gander at these fabulous examples of well-lit porches, and take a few salient pointers on board.


When it comes to lighting, much of the balance comes down to the style of the fittings used and the context in which they're placed. However, before we even get to that stage, it's crucial to consider the strength and tone of the light source itself. What sort of globes are you using? Edison, fluorescent, LED or halogen? What level of wattage are we working with here? Wattage is such an important consideration: too low, and you're working with too dim a space; your porch will suffer from a lack of illumination. Too high? You'll be taking a leaf out of Corey Hart's book and wearing your sunglasses at night, my friend. Of course, wattage is contingent on the style of the porch you're working with: some deserve a higher burst, others respond to a more romantic treatment. Find what works for you, and go with it.

Style and design

But of course, we mustn't neglect the importance of style and design in the mix. Once you've considered the wattage of your light source, it'll be a fine idea to really weigh up what style of lighting your porch requires. In this example, we see the occupant has opted for a traditional wall lamp, evocative of the 'onion lamps' of the colonial 1800s: warm and inviting in the evening, bright, strong and characterful. 

It's worth also mentioning here that wattage and strength can be a rather difficult thing to discern independent of style and design—what works for a lamp like this, may not for a more modern, or less exposed, style. In this case, you may need to weigh up both your lighting style and wattage level in tandem, rather than one before the other. Keep it in mind.

Of course, if you are unsure about this, or which style or design to choose from, why not chat to a lighting professional to get a few tips and tricks?


While the common modern conception of a 'porch' is the one that greets us unobstructed at the front doorstep, or the rear veranda, many porches are closed in, either with netting, textiles or, as we see in this example, glass windows. One might view the porch in this context as a kind of semi-outdoor room: protected from the elements, yet by no means a part of the 'interior'. Neither in, nor out: how to dress with the right light accordingly? It can be a tricky prospect. Ultimately, it's a good idea in this context to size up the space you're working with, and the style of your enclosed porch too: as we see in this example, weather-resistant ceiling lamps that also look aesthetically pleasant and suitable for an 'interior' feel are a fine way to go. 


Here's a fantastic example of how a porch can be eco-friendly as well as aesthetically pleasant on the eye. This open-air setup provides an unobstructed, cosy and quaint outdoor porch area to the side of the home, accessible via sliding doors. Lush greenery and a comfortable wooden outdoor lounge greets the occupants. During the day, rich afternoon sun coats the westward facing space… and the night? A single scarab lamp affixed to the exterior brick wall creates a basic, unobtrusive light source, keeping things minimal, basic and neat. 


Just like how fast talking real estate agents like to mutter and preach, 'it's all about location, location, location', the same could be applied for porch lighting (or rather: 'position, position, position'). Finding the right porch lighting—the combination of bulb selection, wattage, style and design—will be let down if your positioning is ill-thought out and not weighed up properly. Get the reflections right and spill that good light where it should be spilled. As we see in this example, a wide, long and open air porch craves ample lightning, and it's well serviced by its centrally-positioned ceiling lamp: at the helm, showering down in a fixed, firm, aligned spot for maximum illumination when needed. Position simply can't be ignored!

Motion sensor

There really are so many tricks and tips when it comes to all facets of interior and exterior design, and the world of porch lighting is no different. Selecting the right style, wattage and positioning of your porch lights is key, but what of the lights' function? If you're looking for that extra element of security in your home or holiday house, why not consider adding a little modern technology to your lamps with a neat motion sensor addition? It's a neat way to shed light at night when you're not at home, giving the impression of a home well-lived in, occupied and secure, while removing the need to waste time all night flicking switches. 

If you liked these porch lights, check out some more inspirational lighting here: Lighting your kitchen

How do you illuminate your porch or entrance? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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