Exterior Garage Light Placement: Comprehensive Guide & Great Recommendations!

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Exterior Garage Light Placement is all about ensuring that the garage door is well lit. The best exterior garage door lighting will enhance the architectural beauty of your home. At the same time it will make your home more secure.

The best exterior garage light placement rule of thumb is to position the light fixtures:

  • 5 ½ to 6 feet high from the ground, when on the side. (The distance is from the ground to the center of the light source).
  • 6 to 12 inches above the garage door and centered, when above. (The distance is from the top of the garage door to the bottom of the light fixture).
  • 8 to 10 feet apart from each other, when more than one. (The distance is between the centers of the light sources).

For good aesthetics, side mounted (armless) light fixtures should be between 12 to 24 inches in height. Ones with arms can be somewhat bigger. The overhead singular light fixture, with arms, can be considerably larger.

Good Design is a Balance of Form & Function

Thumb rules are thumb rules and they must be tweaked to suit your garage door and home style.

Design is all about finding the right balance between form and function. Exterior garage lighting placement strives to do the same.

The choice and placement of outdoor garage door lights must ensure that the area around the garage door is adequately and safely lit.

At the same time they should be aesthetically pleasing and in harmony with all the other outdoor lights and the house style. 

Exterior Garage Light Placement

Benefits of Exterior Garage Door Lighting

There are many benefits to well designed and perfectly executed exterior garage door lighting that includes:

  • Enhanced Security: Deters potential intruders and provides increased visibility around the garage area.
  • Safety: Helps prevent accidents and trips in poorly lit areas, especially during nighttime.
  • Curb Appeal: Adds aesthetic appeal to the home exterior and improves property value.
  • Convenient Access: Eases the process of entering/exiting the garage at any time.
  • Energy Efficiency: Choose LED fixtures for cost-effective and eco-friendly lighting solutions.

Here is how you can make sure that your exterior garage light placement is perfect in each specific case.

Single Car Single Door Exterior Garage Light Placement

A single car single door garage presents us with a few options. You can match the garage door color with the garage light fixture color, for example.

Gooseneck for Coastal Home

A goose neck style light fixture placed above the garage door center lends a quiet elegance to a coastal inspired home.

KICHLER Hampshire Light Large

KICHLER Hampshire 19.75 inch 1 Light Large Outdoor Wall Light in Textured Black

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The Hampshire 19.75 inch 1 Light Outdoor Wall Light in Textured Black finish provides a beautiful, exterior illumination. Its bell design works well with coastal-inspired homes and is made of resistant composite material to withstand the elements of mother nature.

Go for The Hampshire 19.75″ 1 Light Outdoor Wall Light in Textured Black finish, from Kichler for the garage door and continue the look by installing a smaller size (15.25”) above the front door.

This simple yet elegant light fixture, provides a beautiful, exterior illumination. Its bell design works well with coastal-inspired homes and is made of resistant composite material to withstand the elements of mother nature.

Wall Lantern for Country Home

A traditional light fixture with muted ornamentation would look right in place in a country home. One light would be enough to light up the garage door frontage, but you will need sufficient clearance above the door.

For a muted ornate look suitable for a country home choose a Kichler Forestdale 18.5″ Outdoor Wall Light in Olde Bronze.

The Forestdale 2 light outdoor wall light features an Olde Bronze finish and clear seeded glass. Inspired by a vintage rain collector, the design showcases a curling arm detail in Olde Bronze finish and seeded glass that mimics the look of rain cascading down a window.

Kichler Forestdale Exterior Wall Sconce

Kichler Forestdale 18.5″ 2-Light Exterior Wall Sconce with Clear Seeded Glass in Olde Bronze

The Forestdale 2 light outdoor wall light features a classic look with its traditional arm curling detail and Olde Bronze finish. The clear seeded glass mimics the look of rain.

Wall Lights for Contemporary Home

Two geometric rectangular flush mounted Wall Sconces placed on each side of the garage door of a contemporary home will light up the area around the garage.

Kichler Lighting Mercer Large Outdoor Wall Light

Kichler Lighting Mercer 20 inch Outdoor Wall Light with Clear Seeded Glass in Black Finish

The Mercer 20 inch outdoor wall light features clear seeded glass and black finish. Crafted from Kichler’s Climates material, each fixture is designed to withstand harsh outdoor elements, like saltwater spray and UV rays, for a beautiful and long-lasting finish. The Mercer outdoor wall light is perfect in several aesthetic environments.

Go for The Mercer 20 inch 1 Light Outdoor Wall Light with Clear Seeded Glass in Black Finish from Kichler and then make a cohesive design statement by using two smaller ones (12”) on the sides of your front door.

The Mercer 20″ 1 Light outdoor wall light features clear seeded glass and black finish. It is crafted from Kichler’s Climates material. Each fixture is designed to withstand harsh outdoor elements, like saltwater spray and UV rays, for a beautiful and long-lasting finish. 

Two Car Single Door Exterior Garage Light Placement

The garage door for a two car garage is typically 16’ wide and 8’ high. The large area needs at least three light fixtures for adequate and safe lighting.

Classic Lanterns for Modern Farmhouse

Use three classic lantern style light fixtures, all in a neat row just above the garage door for a historic small town ambiance. Place one on the left side, one in the center and another on the right side of the garage. Space them evenly above your garage door.

Kichler Tangier Light Outdoor Wall Mount, Old Bronze

Kichler Light Outdoor Wall Mount, Old Bronze

Like something from a Dickens novel, the Tangier Collection is classically elegant. Not flashy nor boring, it’s just right.

Tangier Collection’s time-honored design extends your rustic, country or lodge style to your home’s exterior.

The Tangier 17″ 1 light outdoor wall lantern from Kichler looks absolutely gorgeous in a traditional colonial or modern farmhouse style home setting.

Pair it with two smaller ones (13.5”) along the top corners of the front door to complete the look.

With a classic lantern look, this Tangier 17″ 1 light outdoor wall lantern picks up style cues from lighting found in historic town-squares. The versatile outdoor design features a crisscross pattern and traditional detailing that’s always in style.

Vintage Looks for Traditional Homes

For traditional home styles such as Craftsman, Farmhouse, Colonial, Tudor or Ranch, lighting fixtures that look and feel vintage will add a lot of authenticity.

Progress Lighting Brookside Outdoor Light

Progress Lighting Brookside Outdoor Light

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The Brookside Wall Lantern Collection will inspire you with its vintage styled undertones. These are perfect to upscale an outdoor or interior scene. Available in Solid Copper, Antique Nickel and textured Gilded Iron finishes that will complement a wide range of home styles.

Brookside Collection One-Light Small Wall Lantern from Progress Lighting is genuinely inspiring. The vintage undertones are reminiscent of early 20th century train depots.

Create a “Harry Potter” look by placing three large ones evenly spaced above the garage door. They will be the highlight of the two car single door garage in a craftsman or farmhouse style home. Carry over the look to your front door by using two small or medium ones on the sides.

Two Car Two Door Exterior Garage Light Placement

Two car two door garage door allows you to place either three lights on the sides or two overhead light fixtures on top of the doors.

Two Overhead Lanterns

Two Overhead Gooseneck Style lanterns, one above each door, is a great way to light up the Garage front area. The Allenbury Collection from Kichler is specially designed for coastal inspired homes. Hang one above each garage door.

Kichler Allenbury Outdoor Wall Sconce, Olde Bronze

Kichler Allenbury Outdoor Wall Sconce, Olde Bronze

Kichler Allenbury Olde Bronze Outdoor Wall Light gets Kichler’s Climates treatment, assuring the rich Olde Bronze finish withstands any rough exterior weather conditions.

Solid Brass for Carriage House Garage

Do you have a real mahogany wood carriage house style two car two door garage? With such a cultural and visual asset you have to light it up in style.

The Bay Shore Collection from Kichler does just that. The luxurious look of gone by days is captured in solid brass. The Bay Shore collection takes the classic lines of outdoor lanterns and dresses it up in style. Clear beveled glass panels complete the outdoor lanterns’ timeless profile. 

Kichler Bay Shore Outdoor Wall Light, Polished Brass

Kichler Bay Shore Outdoor Wall Light, Polished Brass

The Bay Shore collection takes the classic lines of outdoor lanterns and dresses it up in style. Each piece in the collection features Kichler’s exclusive LifeBrite Polished Solid Brass, which is guaranteed for a lifetime to look fantastic while being capable of withstanding the harshest elements no matter where you live. Clear beveled glass panels complete the outdoor lanterns’ timeless profile.

Place three of these Solid Brass light fixtures at eye level, one on each side of the two doors and one between them. They will really boost the curb appeal of your Craftsman style home!  

Go splurge! You have the most amazing home in the area. The Bay Shore Collection has front door light fixtures and driveway lamp posts too!

Wall Lanterns for Modern Farmhouse

For a home that is built in modern farmhouse style and has a two car two door garage, it would be best to use three medium size light fixtures; two on each side and one between the two garage doors.

Gibbes Street Collection Outdoor Large Wall Lantern Light Antique Bronze

Gibbes Street Collection Outdoor Large Wall Lantern Light Antique Bronze

Incorporate a flawless lighting experience that infuses your home with rustic charm with the Gibbes Street Collection Antique Bronze Three-Light Traditional Medium Wall Lantern. This farmhouse-inspired masterpiece cradles clear beveled glass panes that add a hint of modern flavor to the wall lantern’s timeless traditional design.

Use two of the smaller sized ones on the sides of your home’s front door for aesthetic harmony. Gibbes Street Collection Antique Bronze Three-Light Traditional Large Wall Lantern is the right choice.

The Gibbes Street Collection Wall Lantern incorporates a flawless lighting experience that fills your home with an understated elegance and rustic charm.

This farmhouse-inspired masterpiece cradles clear beveled glass panes just right for offering a warm, welcoming glow. A traditional lantern frame with a beautiful antique bronze finish houses the light bases in this timeless design. 

Rectangular Wall Sconce for Contemporary Home

How about if your home is in contemporary style with sleek clean lines? Then your light fixture needs to be geometric in a rectangular shape with sharp defined edges. 

Kichler Sedo Collection Contemporary Modern Outdoor Wall Mount Light

Kichler Sedo Collection Contemporary Modern Outdoor Wall Mount Light

The Sedo LED outdoor wall light features a sleek contemporary look with its clear polycarbonate diffuser and Satin Black finish. The Sedo wall light works in several aesthetic environments.

Consider installing Kichler Sedo Cast Aluminum Outdoor Wall Sconce Lighting LED, Satin Black; two on each side and one between the two garage doors. And of course smaller sized ones on the sides of your front door will give your home a new dimension in styling.

This vertical one-light outdoor LED wall sconce is 24” high and comes in three industrial finishes; Satin Black, Platinum & Architectural Bronze. The Sedo™ collection brings a sleek and contemporary style to your outdoor lighting.

UL Fixture Rating for Exterior Garage Door Lighting

In addition to aesthetics, you have to ensure that you make the correct choice when it comes to UL fixture rating for exterior garage door lighting. 

UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, an independent organization that sets safety standards for products. UL tests and evaluates products to ensure they meet safety standards.

UL ratings for light fixtures are based on the degree of moisture and other environmental hazards the fixture is designed to withstand.

The three types of UL ratings for light fixtures are:

  • UL Listed for Dry Locations: These fixtures are designed for use in indoor or outdoor areas where they will not be exposed to moisture or other environmental hazards. Examples of dry locations include living rooms, bedrooms, offices, and covered patios.
  • UL Listed for Damp Locations: These fixtures are designed for use in indoor or outdoor areas where they may be exposed to occasional moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and porches. They are also suitable for use in outdoor areas that are protected from direct rain and snow.
  • UL Listed for Wet Locations: These fixtures are designed for use in indoor or outdoor areas where they will be exposed to direct rain, snow, or other moisture. Examples of wet locations include swimming pools, hot tubs, and outdoor walkways.

It is important to choose a light fixture with the appropriate UL rating for the location where it will be used. Using a fixture with the wrong UL rating can create a safety hazard, such as the risk of electrical shock or fire.

Having the correct UL fixture rating also ensures compliance with building code and insurance requirements.

Exterior garage door lighting must use wet-rated fixtures as these are exposed to the elements. Moreover, look for fixtures with a UL rating that matches the anticipated temperature range in your location.

Do You Need Any Special Garage Door Lighting?

Exterior garage lights serve following functions and needs:

  • Safety and security: Exterior garage door lights can deter burglars & trespassers. They also make it easier to see your way around your property at night.
  • Aesthetics: Exterior garage door lights complement the style of your home and garage door.

In addition, the lighting technology has evolved so that you have the choice of a few options to increase functionality, reduce energy costs and improve convenience. Here are some special garage door lighting options:

  • Dark sky-compliant lights: These lights are designed to reduce light pollution and are required in certain areas. They typically use low-brightness bulbs and shine light downwards in a contained area.
  • Bug-repellent lights: Yellow compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs offer decent illumination with fewer bugs. These can be a good option if your garage doors are close to your front door.
  • Dusk-to-dawn lights: These lights start to brighten at dusk and reach full brightness when it’s dark out. They then gradually dim at dawn and shut off when the sun rises. Dusk-to-dawn lights are convenient and energy-efficient.
  • Motion Sensor lights: These lights come on if they detect a motion within a preset range. They are excellent to scare away burglars as well as light your path, without having to turn on a switch.
  • LED dimmable lights: LED lights are more energy-efficient and last longer than incandescent bulbs. LED dimmable lights give you the flexibility to adjust the brightness to your needs.
  • Lights with timers: These lights allow you to set a schedule for when they turn on and off. This can save you money on your electric bill and eliminate the need to turn the lights on and off yourself.
  • Solar-powered lights: Solar-powered lights are energy-efficient and can be placed anywhere that gets good sunlight.

Combine the above with the advances in Wi-Fi and smartphone technology to have full control of the exterior garage door lights at your fingertips!

DISCLAIMER: What Is the Safest Way to Handle Electrical Wires?

This post is for information only. I strongly recommend that all electrical work should be entrusted to licensed professional electricians. In case you do decide to do some of the work yourself, make sure that:

“Treat all electrical wiring, even “de-energized” ones as if it is live, unless it has been locked out and tagged”

You must follow the basic safety guidelines, as under:

  • Use protective eyewear, especially when drilling or grinding metal
  • Wear insulated rubber gloves when working on any circuit or branch circuit
  • Always use insulated tools while working with electricity
  • De-energize the electrical wires on which you will be working. Tag the circuit breaker to prevent someone from switching it on accidently
  • Electrical wiring in wet or damp locations or underground must be within a PVC conduit
  • Underground wiring conduits should be at least 18 inches below grade as per code
  • All receptacles for equipment that could be in wet or damp locations should be equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
  • Never use old frayed cables, damaged insulation or broken plugs
  • High voltage equipment should be properly grounded to insure electricity flows directly to the ground and not through the person in contact with the live wire 

Bottom Line

So the bottom line is that to get the maximum aesthetic benefit from your exterior garage door light fixtures and their placement, you must match the color and style with both your garage door style and your home style.

Marry aesthetics with security. Choose the right light fixture and ensure exterior garage light placement follows good design principles.

Use the guidelines but do not be restricted by them. Feel free to use your creativity and spirit of adventure!!

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.

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