Kerb appeal: using outdoor lighting to make your home more inviting


Lighting sets the tone for your home – and not just on the inside. Here’s how to use stylish outdoor lights to make your front door the envy of the street…

When we’re buying or selling properties we often talk about ‘kerb appeal’ – but making your house look attractive and inviting isn’t just something to think about when you’re in the market for a new one.

Lights can make you happy, and when your front door looks warm, welcoming and beautiful, coming home every day can give you that little dopamine hit of domestic joy and pride. Lighting can cheer up a gloomy winter’s evening, make a style statement, and it can put your guests in a good mood, too.

We’ve compiled five ideas for creating true kerb appeal with outdoor lights. But first, an important question…Do you need to use waterproof IP44 rated fittings for outside lighting?

In a nutshell, the answer is yes. When using lighting fittings in the garden and other outdoor areas, you need to ensure that they offer sufficient protection against the elements. Outdoor lighting has an IP rating, which refers to how much protection a light fitting offers against the ingress of moisture and foreign particles, such as rain, snow, dust and salt air. (But don’t worry, it’s simpler than it sounds!)

For areas that are less exposed to the elements, such as a sheltered porch, you can normally use a damp-rated IP44 light fitting. Meanwhile for more exposed areas, including open style porches and canopies, you will need a wet-rated IP65+ light fitting. In very exposed locations, such as coastal regions, we recommend choosing a light fitting made from a robust material such as brass or copper, which will withstand the ravages of the great British weather.

(And remember, you should always use a qualified electrician when installing any new lighting.)

Now, on to the tips…

1. Create a warm welcome with an outdoor lantern

cromer lantern

Cromer IP44 exterior hanging lantern in antique brass

There’s something very comforting about the classic lantern shape – perhaps because it reminds us of Victorian gas lamps or Dickensian London or Harry Potter. Anyway, an outdoor lantern is a guaranteed way to create a warm welcome.

The Cromer IP44 exterior hanging lantern, combining traditional antique brass with bevelled glass sides, is a great example: place one on an external wall or inside the porch and it will give you that lovely cosy feeling whenever you come home.

(See more tips in our post How to light a porch.)

2) Frame the front door with a pair of matching wall lights

harlyn wall light

A set of matching outdoor wall lights on either side of the front door is a fabulous way of framing and accentuating the entrance to your house, giving it a bit of gravitas, even grandeur. The Harlyn IP65 slim up and down light in aged brass is all about stylish simplicity, with its minimalist design creating a beautiful soft light wash up and down the wall.

Incidentally, here's an expert tip for positioning outdoor wall lights: in general they should be placed so that the top of the light sits at eye level, to avoid any glare from the lightbulb.

3) Illuminate the way with a set of path lights

mousehole light

Mousehole IP65 path light in aged brass

Path lights are a magical way of highlighting the route along a garden path, a boundary wall, a driveway or a set of steps. A row of gently glowing lights can instantly give you that holiday feeling, conjuring warm nights in the Med or the chirping of cicadas. Our Mousehole IP65 path light in aged brass is a lovely robust little creature, which will happily guide the way while adding oodles of charm.

4) Shine a spotlight your garden’s best features

zennor light

Zennor IP65 garden spotlight in bronze with adjustable bracket

With garden spotlights and recessed decking lights you can create highlights and accents, showcasing the best bits of your front or back garden.

The Zennor IP65 garden spotlight with adjustable bracket (above) is a versatile and moveable little light that's perfect for lighting up foliage, sculptures or architectural features like natural stone walls. Simply pop the spotlight in a handy flowerbed or planter, or attach it to a wall or walkway, and adjust it to the right angle.

5) Create an outdoor-indoor flow


Curlew ip44 wall light in antique brass

Many of our lights work beautifully both indoors and outdoors, and by choosing similar styles and materials you can create a natural flow between the two. The Curlew in antique brass is a great example: with its Art Deco-style concentric rings it will be equally happy in a bathroom, a hallway or – since it has an IP44 rating – outside your front door.

Pooky's range of stylish IP rated outdoor and garden lighting is weatherproof, hard-wearing and fully tested for outdoor use.  View our full range of beautiful outdoor and garden lights here.

See also:

How to light a porch 
Outdoor wall lights: 6 tips for bringing style and atmosphere to your garden space
How to light balconies and verandas 
Indoor to outdoor lighting - a guide for home and garden lovers