exterior lighting for a front entryway
Photo: Courtesy of Progress Lighting
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Front Door

Lighting at the front door serves several purposes: to act as a beacon that shows people where to enter; to prevent tripping on the steps; and to help locate the doorbell or keyhole. It also lets those inside see who is at the door.

"To minimize glare without sacrificing safety and convenience, two line-voltage (120V) lanterns on either side of the door, with low-wattage bulbs, are preferable to one fixture with a high-wattage bulb," says Ed Scofield, president of Period Lighting Fixtures in Clarksburg, Massachusetts. A 40W incandescent lamp or a 15W compact fluorescent will do the job. Compact fluorescent bulbs last about 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs and use about one-third of the energy to produce the same amount of light.

Lanterns with frosted or colored lenses are easier on the eyes than those with clear glass. If you want a sparkling look, flank the front door with a pair of cut-glass fixtures fitted with incandescent lamps.

Because wall or post lanterns are seen from relatively far away, choosing the right-size fixture can be challenging. Try tacking up a shoebox as a starting point from which to judge how large the fixture should be. Mount wall lanterns along the upper third of the front door.

Shown: wall lanterns should be mounted along the top third of the front door.
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