It’s officially that time of year again; the days are getting longer; the weather is getting warmer; and the landscape is becoming greener, and it seems as if every chance you get, you opt to take whatever you are doing to the glorious outdoors.
At KingsHaven, we suggest to our clients and customers the importance of a beautifully lit terrace. Although outdoor furnishings, lighting and accessories can often take a back seat to their interior counterparts, we believe a terrace’s aesthetic style and functionality can be just as expressive as any interior light fixture or cocktail table.
To help you prepare your terrace for those spring and summer cocktail parties, group dinners, graduation parties, weddings, family time, and various other social gatherings and activities that take place outdoors, our design team has comprised a list of the top five things you need to know about terrace lighting.
Pictured: KingsHaven Agincourt Lantern Sconces, installed at different heights, create design harmony for this alfresco dinning room.
1. Use only what you need – it’s okay to be stingy with the amount of light for your terrace. Sure, one could argue the purpose of terrace lighting is to safely light a home’s outdoor space after the sun goes down. While this is not incorrect, we believe terrace lighting is ultimately in place to provide a tranquil and intimate setting. This ought to be the case whether you are spending warm summer nights on the terrace reading your favorite book or entertaining others alfresco.
There are lighting levels for comfort and basic use of outdoor spaces, and then there are lighting levels for safety and security purposes. Let’s start with our first must-know tip on the topic of lighting spaces for comfort, style and general usage.
But, no fear; we won’t leave you in the dark. See our ideas about lighting levels for the safety and security of your home in this blog’s final tip.
Our general rules of thumb for determining how dim, or how bright, a terrace should be:
If you can’t easily read the words in a book or on the label of a bottle of wine in the evening, your terrace is obviously too dark for pleasant use. Conversely, if you’re having to squint or look away from the light fixtures while outside at night, your lights need turned down to a degree.
One of the best and most apparent ways to find the sweet spot between too light and too dim is to install light dimmers for your terrace lighting. This provides light-level possibilities for different times of the evening or night.
However, creating just the right amount of light for comfort can be achieved by understanding the concept of dispersing light through the strategic installation of light fixtures. Depending upon the space conditions and its elevation, we find it essential to install outdoor and terrace light fixtures at different levels of height, so illumination across the space is more even. Besides, affixing lights in outdoor spaces at varying locations can also complement your home’s architectural elements.
See the photo above of an inviting dining terrace designed by our KingsHaven founder Lauren Wylonis. Notice how Lauren installed these regal KingsHaven Agincourt Lantern Sconces wall lanterns, one centered above a door leading out to the terrace and another closer to eye-level adjacent to a bay window of the home. The result is well-thought lighting with understated elegance you and your guests will love.
Pictured: KingsHaven Tudor Chapeau Lantern Sconces set the stage by flanking this outdoor room fireplace.
2. Create an outdoor getaway in your own backyard, using a mixture of indoor-style and outdoor lighting. With indoor lighting plans, you would likely never use outdoor lighting to say, flank a bathroom vanity. However, with outdoor lighting design plans, it is not uncommon to use light fixtures that are styled as if for the indoors. Outdoor room lighting should be just as stylish as the lights you place in your indoor rooms.
Terrace lighting gives you the freedom to craft unexpected lighting combinations. Be imaginative when planning which light fixtures you select for your exterior terrace or porch. Though, stylishness is only half of the equation. Where you place your lighting is also important.
At KingsHaven, we like to think of lighting outdoor rooms with the same placement positions as seen inside. For example, consider chandeliers to light and adorn covered patios, much like hanging a chandelier in an interior dining room or family room. This draws the eye upward to the light as a focal point, which literally serves the space as a piece of art. After all, it probably goes without saying that lighting should never be chosen for function alone.
However, it’s a wise idea that whatever lighting you choose for your outdoor oasis, make sure it can withstand the elements, especially if you live in a region with cold, wet winters. This is easy enough to do simply by picking lights that have been designed and manufactured for outdoor-use.
Our lighting designers handcraft artisan lighting specifically for exterior spaces. They do this by only using the highest quality materials to make our outdoor lights. The unyielding construction of the fixtures makes them outdoor-ready.
Easy as 1, 2, 3…
- Make sure there is some sort of glass or protective outer surface shielding the actual light bulbs and electrical sockets from the outdoor elements. At KingsHaven, we design all our outdoor fixtures with glass casings to protect the electrical components and to add a sense of élan.
- Your outdoor light fixtures should be made from all-weather materials. Because of its properties, we like hand-forged iron when it comes to our outdoor, terrace-ready fixtures. Avoid outdoor lights with wood and other materials that absorb moisture, especially if they aren’t sheltered by a canopy or an awning.
- Like our head lighting designer Lauren has been known to say, “Put as much energy and thought into your outdoor light fixtures as you do your indoor light fixtures. Make sure your outdoor light fixtures are sturdy and can hold up to the elements in your region but make sure they’re beautiful enough to add a sense of style to the space."
Pictured: This outdoor KingsHaven Agincourt Lantern Sconce makes a bold, telltale statement about the homeowner’s chic taste.
3. Add personality to your terrace or entryway through the installation of inspired light fixtures. Although exterior lighting is primarily purpose-driven, it also needs to add some sort of personality or distinction to your home’s exterior.
Exterior terrace lighting, especially above entryways, is a great way to express to you neighbors and friends your keen sense of design style. If your front entry appears too much like every other home on the street, or the lighting beside or above your front door was a quick afterthought when your home was built, this is the place to evoke some incredible “wow” factor.
If you frequently entertain guests, an inspired outdoor light fixture on your front walkway or veranda could become an unanticipated conversation piece. For example, if you were to install a KingsHaven Agincourt Lantern Sconce on your terrace, like the homeowner did as seen above, you could explain to your guests the intricacy of the lantern sconce’s artisanship, and how it was inspired by English Gothic and antique turn-of-the-century design. Design that leads to engaging conversation is one of our favorite trends and pursuits.
While you should be creative with your lighting choices, remember that unique and out-of-place are not the same. Adding light fixtures that reflect your own sense of personal style is a shining example of what to do. Though, be mindful your lights correspond with, or support the style of, your actual exterior to what we might call a reasonable design degree.
If unsure, the KingsHaven design team is always willing to work and consult with you to choose light fixtures that will add to the aesthetic value of your outdoor settings, or wherever our lights are intended for installation.
Send us photos of your outdoor spaces and your phone number, and we can walk you through the steps of measuring, planning and selecting options for your own lighting plan.
That’s 3 of 5, the first installment of our “5 Things To Know About Terrace Lighting” blog.
But, as we said above, we’d never leave you in the dark! Stay tuned to our blog (are we in your RSS feed?) for Part 2 next week!