Wall lighting plays an important role in transforming the look and feel of an outdoor space and ensuring that your guests have a safe and pleasant arrival. From dust to dawn, illumination in residential exteriors should be sufficient to provide a visual cue for designating building entrances. At the same time, your living space deserves to be admired not only during the day but at night too. Distinctive, well designed wall lighting can enhance the intrinsic charm of exterior architectural features. Decorative wall sconces create a decorative, artistic touch and take your outdoor decor to a whole new level of beauty. Get style, convenience, and security with wall lighting, whether you need to brighten up your front door, accentuate the texture or surface dimension of walls, or lend dramatic allure to your exterior decor with the decorative qualities of the fixtures.
A Bridge between the In and Out
Outdoor wall lighting bridges residential lighting with landscape lighting and blends functionality with an opportunity for artistic expression. Too often, people associate wall lights with a wayfinding light source while landscape architects take these lights as a design element for adding a layer of depth to the exterior landscape. The introduction and development of LED technology blurred the boundary between form and function. Recent trends in outdoor wall lighting bring professional interior design principles to the exterior of your home with inspiration from landscape lighting. While interior lighting places an emphasis on creating a visual sparkle, landscape lighting focuses on creating layers of light than can envelop an architectural structure like a second skin with the light sources blending unobtrusively into its setting during the day. Outdoor wall lights are designed to provide a smooth transition of decorative perception in daytime and impart a logical ambient adaptation in nighttime from outdoors to indoors.
The main starting point when considering outdoor wall lighting is to specify the primary design goal: are the luminaires to be used for illuminating building entrances and perimeters or for creating interest and ambience into any exterior space along brick or rendered walls?
Wayfinding and Area Lighting
Outdoor wall lighting was initially intended to provide a pool of ambient light around the lighting fixture for safe navigation in the vicinity of front doors, garage doors, porches, patios, walkways, driveways, back yards and more. These wall mounted fixtures typically have wide light distributions for the purpose of maximum light coverage. The wall light usually has an arm that extends out to provide a setback distance for increased forward illuminances. These wall lights most often use light bulbs as the light source mainly because of their omnidirectional light patterns.
Security lighting is installed to provide a clear view of an area from a distance, thus helping protect people and property from criminal activities and meanwhile creating a perception of security. Lighting has an impact on the incidence of crime because it not only provides nighttime visibility for video surveillance systems but lighting its self can be a deterrent to criminal activities. Wall mounted security lights are required to provide sufficient vertical illuminance for facial identification at distance at least of 9 m (30 ft). Good lighting alone cannot guarantee security. Wall mounted security lights are usually integrated into preventive surveillance systems which may consists of a security camera, PIR motion sensor, remote panic alarm, and 2-way communication speaker and microphone. A security light generally takes form in a floodlight.
Architectural wall lighting places emphasis on the architecture instead of pedestrian illumination. Make a welcoming statement to your guests and add the perfect amount of detail to the exterior area of your home with the inviting glow of wall lights. By creating captivating shadows on walls or aesthetically highlighting architectural details such as fine stone or wood work, your home distinctively stands out amongst neighboring houses. This style of lighting utilizes various techniques such as wall grazing, wall washing and shadowing. Accentuating the texture or surface dimension of walls adds a layer of depth to your beautiful exterior landscape.
Recessed wall lighting provides unobtrusive illumination for safety on walkways and stairs. There is no unpleasant glare as these light fixtures are typically engineered to produce a downward light distribution. Recessed installation ensures a clean architectural visual.
Types of Outdoor Wall Lights
Outdoor wall lights come with a huge variance in appearance, design and function. Indulge in design aesthetics exuded by functional yet visually appealing pieces crafted in the industrial, minimalist, traditional, transitional, contemporary, or rustic style. Illuminate your outdoor steps and porch entries with delicately designed lantern sconces that make a welcoming entry. Lift the ambiance of your outdoor space and bring undeniable charm and character to your decor theme with a subtle glow of accent light fixtures. Enhance the safety and security of your building perimeters with area luminaires or floodlights.
Lantern wall sconces
Inspired by vintage European fashions, lantern wall sconces have a prominent presence in the outdoor wall sconce family. Featuring a sturdy design and rustic appearance, these sconces lend your home's exterior a feeling of old world elegance. Lantern sconces have a die cast construction with a weather-resistant finish. Clear, seeded or frosted glass shades enhance the weathered look of the fixture. Among them, the seeded glass shades showcase the beautiful look of the vintage style LED bulb and create a diffused effect when illuminated.
Gooseneck barn lights that replicate industrial lights found in the early 20th century are a class of lighting that never goes out of style. This type of fixtures has an elegantly curved arm and a classic metal shade with a bare bulb beneath it and white interior to maximize reflectivity. Blending wonderfully in any contemporary or transitional decor, the beautiful and alluring accent reminiscent of the warehouse and barn style living brings character to the exterior space it occupies.
Flush mount wall sconces
Flush mount sconces do not have arms or extending designs and are usually fully encased to provide a clean, sleek visual aesthetic. These luminaires are available in a variety of optical designs that provide general illumination or architectural lighting. Architectural wall sconces play with beams that radiate upward, downward, or/and from the sides. Wall grazing, which is achieved by placing a light source close to the surface, is the most used lighting technique in architectural wall lighting. Underlined with grazing light, the texture of a vertical surface is enhanced and the wall is given a new dimension.
A wall mounted flood light is part of a complete security system in which it provides security lighting for a controlled area. A security light is required to provide 5 to 8 lux vertical luminance at a distance of at least 9 m from the viewer or video camera. By establishing clear zones of recognition, flood lights provide a sense of safety and security and facilitates the proper use of other security devices. They can be swiveled and tilted to ensure the best lighting angle. Flood lights for security lighting are usually motion activated.
Recessed wall lights
Recessed wall lights are designed for lighting applications where protruded fixture would be visually obtrusive in terms of architectural integrity. Not only these fixtures are very unobtrusive or concealed, their light source is often regressed or shielded to produce downward asymmetric light distribution and therefore the luminance of these fixtures is inoffensive to eyes.
Design and Construction
Wall lanterns and barn lights continue to use light bulbs as these fixtures have been aesthetically designed around the classic appearance and ambiance of light bulbs. Other types of wall lights that use LED technology embrace an integrated architecture in which the LED module and accurately paired driver electronics are mounted into the luminaire housing. The benefits of integrated architectures include customizable light output, precise optical control, unprecedented fixture design freedom, and better thermal management. The housing or frame is mostly constructed from aluminum alloy which boasts high mechanical properties and good processability. High pressure die casting (HPDC) makes it possible for the aluminum housings to achieve excellent dimensional accuracy, smooth surfaces and improved thermal conductivity.
Outdoor wall lights are engineered to deliver years of maintenance-free operation in exterior environments. The cast aluminum housings are typically polyester powder coated for superior weatherability and fade resistance in extreme weather conditions. The lenses or diffusers are made of either glass or impact resistant, UV stabilized polycarbonate or PMMA. These luminaires are sealed to protect the interior components from dust and water ingress with typical IP ratings including IP44, IP54, IP65 and IP66.
Most outdoor wall lights are hardwired whereas solar powered wall lights that harvest energy from sunlight offer an environmentally friendly solution to outdoor lighting.
Outdoor wall lights can incorporate various lighting controls to support energy efficient operation. Occupancy control strategies use motion sensors to detect occupancy in a space and accordingly signal a controller to turn a light on. When target zone is absent of motion activity for a preset period of time the light is switched off or programmed to stay at a low dimmed output. Dusk-to-dawn photocell sensors provide daylight harvesting by automatically turning light on at dusk and off at dawn. Adding wireless connectivity to a security light allows you to control the light from anywhere in the world via a smartphone app.
There's an incredible array of options that provide a wonderful accent to your landscaping or offer welcome presentation and added security for your outdoor spaces. Not sure where to start? Kick off with our collection of best outdoor wall lights from top lighting brands and lighting designers. (Disclaimer: We're not affiliated with any beneficiary of the external product links in this article.) This is a continuously updated list. We welcome product suggestions from those who take pride in building compelling value into their products. (Owners of products listed here are authorized to use our badge to promote your achievement. Please include a link to this page for listing verification.)
Trophy is a wall lighting which comes in standard versions with 3-5 LED profiles. The construction of Trophy consists of Y-shaped modules which allow the creation of a number of different shapes and combinations when placed on top of each other or fixed under a free angle. Throphy features Keha3's aluminum profile with LED lighting called Wannabe which has a ball joint connecting the profile to the head.
Louis Poulsen Flindt
Flindt emits an asymmetrical non glary, downward directed light distribution. Softly illuminating its cut-out shape while providing an efficient horizontal illumination on the ground or floor. This wall light is distinguished by a light egress from an opening in the top that emits light down the front of the fixture, creating a subtle, glowing ring of reflected light on the transition between the concave and convex shapes. The oval shape is lifted off the mounting surface, giving the fixture a floating appearance.
The Lutec Tona PIR LED wall light makes a great addition to contemporary patios and porches. Streamlined disk profile gives it a modern look with depth and style. Accenting the sleek look is a circular Fresnel diffuser which softens the direct downward beam with exceptional uniformity and glare-free illumination.
Origami blends light functionality with an opportunity for artistic creation. With just two pieces, designers can create infinite compositions. With a single connection point between the pieces and simple surface mounting installation, you can make as many configurations as you desire.
A progressive array of gradient pinholes in a variety of patterns permits illumination to penetrate the surface of the luminaire. This illuminated art radiates light in small micro-doses that individually reduce the glare of direct illumination but in unison with the hundreds of others produces a bright yet comfortable glow. Dotwave's incredible patterns are rendered on circles, squares, and rectangles.
Louis Poulsen PH 3-2½
The fixture is designed based on the principle of a reflective three-shade system, which directs the light downwards. The shades have a matt white painted interior surface, diffusing the light in a comfortable way.
IDEO is a wall lamp with a minimal and sinuous shape, characterized by a unique interpretation of indirect lighting, enriched and enhanced through the refractive effects generated by the pyramidal plexiglass. The special positioning of the LED light source within the product allows for the total disappearance of specific light points. The product can be easily customized thanks to the use and combination of different colors in body of the lamp.
Micro is a Ramos & Bassols design for Vibia. The Micro wall light is characterized by its reduced dimensions with a diameter of just 13.2 cm diameter and 5 cm in depth. Ideal for use anywhere and especially for narrow corridor situations. The Micro wall light provides a pleasant indirect illumination with an excellent glare-free diffusion. The light is produced by Vibia in two finishes: lacquered white and oxide (rust). Vibia uses LED technology for this light fitting which confers a high degree of energy efficiency.
Hubbell Cypher creates a new standard in application versatility and design consistency with a convertible design that enables an infinitely configurable array of solutions. The wall sconce is designed around a robust LED light engine which can be paired with interchangeable optics and fascia panels to deliver an unprecedented level of design flexibility. Cypher brings a new level of sophistication to the wall sconce.
Cornet has a personality strongly rooted in nature and it brightens the space it is in. It is a lamp made of polyurethane, which is a hard and resistant material that is perfect for public spaces. Cornet includes a dimmable LED source that distributes light through the lamp’s undulating layers, creating an atmosphere that is natural, slightly broken, but never dominant.
Built to last with a die-cast aluminum housing and impact-proof clear polycarbonate diffusers, the Lutec Unite Series LED wall lanterns bring sophisticated LED technology to the elegant metalwork and create a warm, inviting ambience. This timelessly charming design adds style and safety at patios, porches, entrance ways, and garages.
Sonneman Cape: A solid aluminum shade drapes softly over an optical acrylic diffuser that directs LED illumination down and to the sides of these elegantly simple outdoor shapes.