Are you overwhelmed by the choices you have when it comes to adding lighting to your home? Elegantly accent your home's architectural features with these tips.

Whether your home features Victorian embellishments or it’s an ultra-modern assembly of flat planes and harsh angles, it’s possible to highlight the architectural features you adore with the outdoor lighting you choose. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Practical versus Aesthetic Lighting

When incorporating new design elements, it is said that form follows function. In other words, you first have to take practical considerations into account before addressing creative aspects of your design. In terms of architectural lighting, this means providing needed illumination.

For example, lighting around entryways and garage doors can be functional insomuch as it gives you a clear path. However, it can also shine a spotlight on the beautiful, banded wood you’ve chosen or the recessed alcoves in which doors are placed.

When you plan out your landscape lighting, you need to think not only about shining lights up trees to create visual appeal, but also about ensuring that guests don’t trip on walkways. The same principle should be applied to your architectural lighting design.

Choosing Architectural Features

Your structure may have large, flat expanses of wall. It might feature recesses and alcoves. There may be columns, arches, a gabled roof, a sprawling porch, balconies, dormers, Palladian windows, or even a widow’s walk. At the very least you have windows, doors, and probably a front porch.

Which features should you highlight? This depends entirely on your purpose. If it’s functional illumination you want, your outdoor lighting should focus on entryways. On the other hand, you might want to add some up-lighting to tall walls for visual interest if the only features are boring, unadorned windows.

Your particular goals should help you to select the architectural features to highlight. In some cases, the choice is easy because you have specific features of note (like columns or an arched entryway). Just make sure you don’t go overboard. Make like Coco Chanel and pare down the adornments.

Lighting Levels

When undertaking residential landscape design and architectural accent lighting, most homeowners never consider that not every light has to be the same level of brightness. You can create some truly gorgeous displays by varying lighting levels between dim and bright when designing your architectural highlights.


So you’ve got a giant white wall staring you in the face. Certainly you could increase its stark appeal with a bright, white light, but you might also want to consider the use of color to hide imperfections and imbue the scene with mood and ambience.