Style Guide: Outdoor Lighting

Decorating expert, Jennifer Berno, shares her solutions for lighting your outdoor space.


Hi, I'm Jennifer, associate decorating editor at Southern Living. Outdoor lighting is a curb side clue about what a house looks like on the inside. You should choose fixtures that brighten up the house, both literally and aesthetically. A well chosen front porch light is a stylish way to say welcome to visitors while a back porch light can turn a patio into an outdoor room. A pair of lanterns frames the front door and casts a soft glow for guests. Choose a style that compliments your porch aesthetic. There are so many styles available from classic to modern. A traditional style table lamp made with rustic looking wood is a great addition to a cozy seating area on a covered porch. Taking a step back, you can see that this covered porch combines multiple sources of light just like an indoor living room. A chandelier illuminates the dining area. [MUSIC] Lanterns cast a glow by the door and the table lamp rounds out the sitting area. To eliminate a simple sitting area for two, use soft vertical sconces that funnel the light up and down so it's not to shine too harshly. Outdoor lighting is an important safety measure but it shouldn't sacrifice style. Stone walkways must be lit at night so no one trips. An inset light serves the purpose subtly without distracting from the beautiful path itself. Another area that needs good lighting is the pool. A good choice are in ground fixtures which have a sleek design and use LED technology. For more energy efficiency. Creative outdoor lighting can really liven up entertaining alfresco. Try using candles. By clustering simple glass lanterns, you can give your landscaping a more festive look. Or try attaching hurricanes to windows for nice ambient light. A string of party lights is one of the simplest ways to create an outdoor party space in any corner of your yard. Be selective about your outdoor lighting so that your house just glows. For more decorating ideas, pick up a copy of Southern Living magazine and visit
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