4 Types of Decorative Outdoor Accent Lighting for Your Home
Decorative outdoor accent lighting is a popular way to improve your home’s curb appeal. It is one of the more affordable methods you can use to decorate your home and create welcoming outdoor spaces. Selecting the right type of lighting can be difficult – there are so many choices available and each has its own unique list of ideal uses.
Do you want a permanent, programmable light feature you can use all year long? Or would you prefer a more versatile feature you can put up and take down seasonally, like colored LED lights or whimsical fairy lights? We’ve compiled a list of four outdoor decorative lighting options that work great for homes, plus tips on how to use them safely. Check it out!
1. Traditional Christmas Lights/Twinkle Lights
Twinkle lights, most commonly referred to as Christmas lights, are a timeless way to create colorful, decorative lighting that is moveable and temporary. Long corded strands of coated wiring power small lights positioned intermittently along the line. They are sold in several types, including incandescent and LED. Programmable LED Christmas lights have become the preferred choice for outdoor lighting due to their safety features. While the bulbs do get hot, they are not nearly at the level of their incandescent cousins.
Multi-colored lighting is most commonly used at Christmas time. However, many homeowners use white or yellow twinkle lights to decorate their homes and landscape all year long.
Where to Use Twinkle Lights
- Decorate trees and landscape
- Outline your home
- Drape like garland to create a festive atmosphere
- Light up a porch or deck
- Celebrate holidays
Flow Right Pro TipS:
- Use color-changing LED lights over traditional incandescent lighting. Any savings on electricity are negligible in comparison to the safety and flexibility of LED multicolor lights or soft white/yellow LED lighting. It is also important to ensure your outdoor outlet is capable of handling the power output required. Do not plug strand upon strand in one outlet. When in doubt, add another outdoor outlet. It is surprisingly affordable and much safer.
- Use LED versions to save electricity and minimize heat. Don’t use extension cords or stack multiple plugs into one outlet. Make sure your outlet is GFCI rated and protected.
2. Programmable Outdoor LED Strip Lighting
Programmable outdoor LED strip lighting is a trending way to add color-changing lights to your home. Programmable LED lighting also comes with some pretty cool features you won’t find with most types of stranded twinkle lights. For example, some lights can be operated by an app to allow you to change colors, dim and brighten, set timers or even tune to music.
Outdoor LED lighting is coated in silicone to protect the lights from water damage. Most is also UV-protected to keep the harsh Southern Colorado sunlight from destroying the integrity of the protective coating. Many strips can even be cut and re-connected to allow you maximum flexibility for decorating. The most annoying drawback is that the adhesive used to attach the lights has to be replaced in order to move them. That makes them less mobile than other types of lighting.
How to Use Programmable Multi-Color LED Lights
- Create a colorful glow along eaves and awnings
- Add LED accent lighting under deck railing
- Attach color-changing lights along fencing
- Warm up a gazebo, porch or arbor
- Use as party lighting by connecting lighting to music
Flow Right Pro Tip:
- Only utilize LED strip lighting that is rated for outdoor use. Affix to your surface with care. Dangling strips are at risk of becoming damaged, creating both electrical and fire safety issues. Be careful where you purchase your lighting. Some online retailers do not vet the safety of the products they sell. Check reviews when in doubt to learn if other customers have had issues. Make sure your lighting is plugged into a proper outdoor GFCI outlet.
3. Festoon Lighting
Festoon lighting is popular for creating beautiful backyards, welcoming porches or warming up any other outdoor space you can imagine. Unlike Christmas lights, festoon strands use much larger bulbs, although not nearly as large as a common light bulb. For an idea of the average size, think of the bulbs you see attached to an old-fashioned carousel.
This type of lighting is most often hung like garland. It can be draped from poles attached to fencing or decking or hooked to other points in the yard to create a festive feel. These lights are typically sold in whites and yellows and have lower lumens. Don’t worry! That lower lighting will still light up your yard quite nicely. You want ambiance, not a surgical theater.
How to Use Festoon Lighting
- Drape across the yard in a festive fashion
- Attach to your home to create semi-permanent soffit lighting
- Use poles to hook across your deck or porch
- Create an arbor of crisscrossing lights (popular for wedding dance floors, parties and other events
Flow Right Pro Tip:
- Use proper fixtures to hang your festoon lighting to prevent fire danger. This is especially important if your selected lights are halogen or incandescent. Make sure they are outdoor-rated. You don’t want your lights exploding during a Colorado rainstorm. Watch your electric bill, as some versions of festoon lighting can be real power drains. Consider upgrading your outdoor outlet if you plan to use these on a regular basis, as they can pull a lot of power when using multiple strands.
4. Soffit Lighting
If you want home accent lighting that is permanent, skip the LED multi-color light strips, the festoon lights and the twinkle lights altogether and consider outdoor soffit lighting. Recessed soffit lighting is extremely popular in Pueblo and Colorado Springs. You can find it adorning homes from downtown Pueblo and Pueblo West to south Colorado Springs through Monument.
Soffit lighting is wired into your home like a porch light or a flood light. It’s practical, in that it lights up your home and increases safety. It’s also fun because it has the capability to change colors. With soffit lighting, exterior decor is as simple as changing the color from white to whatever color you choose. Exterior soffit lighting is commonly installed along soffits (hence the name), awnings, roofs, eaves, gables and any sort of overhang or inset you want illuminated.
How to Use LED Soffit Lighting
- Light up your home exterior to deter theft and vandalism
- Decorate your home and add curb appeal
- Decorate your home for the holidays
Flow Right Pro Tip:
- Hire a professional to install this type of lighting to ensure it is safely wired into your home’s electrical system. Add a programmable light timer switch indoors to allow you to control the lighting safely and help you save money on electricity. Take care when considering exterior soffit lighting placement. You don’t want to feel like you live next to a neon sign in the city.
Need a Little Help with Your Outdoor Lighting? Flow Right Has You Covered!
Are you excited about adding color-changing outdoor lights or other programmable exterior lighting to your home? Call Flow Right today for help with new exterior outlets, soffit lighting installation or wiring or any other outdoor electrical needs you might have. We promise that using our professional team of licensed electricians to get your lights working safely will be an illuminating experience.