Size Matters: How to Determine Fixture-to-House Proportion for Outdoor Fixtures

Progress Lighting shows how to determine the correct fixture-to-house proportion, size, and mounting for outdoor fixtures in their outdoor lighting sizing guide.

outdoor lighting sizing guidelines

This post was originally posted on September 16, 2015, and updated on April 21, 2022

When selecting decorative outdoor fixtures, most people shop for lighting primarily based on visual elements such as fixture style and finish. While the fixture's design is an excellent place to start, another area of equal importance that is often overlooked is the fixture size in proportion to the size of your house. Fixtures can appear extremely large in a showroom, but they suddenly look small and insignificant when mounted next to a grand entryway. Outdoor fixtures should command a notable, attractive presence when viewed from afar - but should not be so overpowering that they take away from other focal points of your exterior landscape. Our design experts have put together a few tips for how to size exterior fixtures to enhance your curb appeal and beautify your home.

Entryway Lighting Sizing Guidelines

For entryway lighting, start by measuring the height of your front door. Exterior lighting used to illuminate front door areas should be sized in proportion to the door itself.

Barlowe outdoor lighting

Featuring Barlowe

The most common error is selecting lighting that is too small. Fixtures that are undersized will get lost when viewing the house at a distance. As a rule of thumb, fixtures should be sized to measure 1/4 to 1/3 of the front door's height because lanterns will appear around half the size from 50 feet away. If you have two different sized sconces or lanterns, the larger fixture should be placed by the front door and the smaller by the garage door.

Entryway Lighting Position Guidelines

In addition to size, the height of the fixture is another critical consideration. As a rule of thumb, outdoor entryway lights should be positioned at eye level. The center of the light source should measure 5-1/2 to 6 feet from the ground. Fixtures should also be mounted 8 to 10 feet apart.outdoor entryway lights

Featuring Boxwood

Garage Lighting Sizing Guidelines

As with entryway lights, fixtures surrounding the garage should measure 1/4 to 1/3 the height of the garage door. The number and position of the lights greatly depend on the garage door's size.

A single wall lantern may be sufficient to illuminate a one-car garage.

single wall garage lantern

Featuring Padgett

For a two-car garage, consider positioning lights on either side of the doors. For additional illumination, center a third light above the door - but be sure to position it high enough so it won't interfere with the garage door's function.

The third option for a two-car garage is positioning fixtures across the top of the door for even illumination.  

Post and Fence Lighting Sizing Guidelines

For post and fence lighting, bigger is most often better. Perspective will make these fixtures appear smaller from further distances.

Shop and browse our collection of outdoor light fixtures or learn more about sizing guidelines for your lighting.


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