It is easy to get confused and overwhelmed when shopping for outdoor lighting fixtures. There are really two must have outdoor wall lights that every home needs. The first is an outdoor sconce and the second is outdoor lanterns. Sconces are perfect for the front door and/or garage area. Outdoor lanterns are perfect to compliment the back yard.
Finding the perfect outdoor sconces isn't always easy. Sure there are hundreds of styles from dozens of manufacturers, but which one is right for you and your home's decor? Let's start with where you put the sconces and work from there. One sconce, placed on either side of the door, is the classic positioning. So the obvious question is how big is your front entry way area? Is it large? Then you can choose larger outdoor sconces for the scheme. If you have a small area around the front door -- as so many condos and town homes do -- then you may, quite honestly have to forego the sconce idea and install an overhead light. The key with any wall sconce, and it is important to understand the difference between indoor sconces and outdoor sconces before we go any further -- an outdoor sconce has heavy duty wiring inside. The wires are coded for extreme temperatures and wrapped and sealed to keep out moisture. Could you install an indoor sconce outside? Of course! It is a fire hazard? Yes! So don't do it.
Finding the right lantern for the back yard can be more tricky. Outdoor lanterns come in many varieties and the right one for you depends on how much lighting you need and how often you will be using the yard as another room of the house. I can't answer those questions for you. But if you only use the yard occasionally, say a handful of times over the summer months, then you can easily use candle-lit lanterns for your back yard illumination. Candle light is lovely and cheap to install. You could, depending on the layout of your patio area, even use a few strategically placed candle sconce arrangements for close-in lighting. Of course, you could use outdoor sconces in front and back. That is perfectly acceptable.
The most important thing for you to take away from this article is that an outdoor sconce is a perfect and inexpensive way to light your front door entry and outdoor lanterns can give you the light you need while entertaining in the back yard. Everything else about outdoor lighting fixtures -- the shapes, size and price -- those things are the details that make shopping fun. So as you shop the lighting super store, relax because you know where to look and what to buy.