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Home Improvement: Lighting up Our New Patio

While we wait for the concrete to cure, I’ll tackle another issue in our patio repair/makeover.  I mentioned in a previous post that we need new lighting fixtures in the back. I think the ones out there are almost as old as I am. I am torn, so I’m turning to you interwebz. However, know that when I ask for your input, it doesn’t mean I’ll take it. No offense meant by that, it’s just that I’m a woman.

My first instinct when I open up the outdoor lighting sections of the Home Depot and Lowe’s websites is to look at the pretty brown lights. I adore brown. If I could wear brown every day, I would. I go over board on the brown. But, fortunately for me, brown is a nice simple decorating color. Then I realized that we’re getting white gutters. Overall, the trim of the house is a combination of white and blue while we also have some dark red brick and cream stucco. (Don’t ask, it’s hard to explain how all these textures and colors work.) Obviously, based on photos, you can see these lights will go up against the brick. The trim around the door will remain for a while until we pull out the door and replace it with a sliding door that will likely be white, possibly with some blue trim depending on our options at the time. So silver seems like a more neutral color choice in all of this.

That said, I’m not sure I’m 100% sold on the color and styles available for the budget. So, that’s where you come in, Interwebz.

choice1Choice 1: This is the first light I found that somewhat caught my eye. There is no “collection” so the same fixture would have to be used in the back and the front. There is no motion detection, a feature we would like for the front, but not for the back.

This sounds a little odd, but our house, when you look at it for a while, kind of reminds you of a boat.  It doesn’t look like a boat, but maybe because it’s the kind of house I would expect to see on a lake or near a marina.  This light, for some reason, speaks to that feel.  That may be a bad thing.

Click to enlarge all photos.

choice2Choice 2: The lamp on the left is the second one I found that caught my eye.  It has the perk of coming in a collection that gives us more choices for a different light for the front of the house.  The one on the right is the first of those two choices.  The larger light again does not have motion detection for the front, which kind of sucks.

I was not a huge fan of the lamp for the front.  It is much taller than what we have now, and I’m worried it will be too prominent for a relatively small  space.  (Most of the front of the house is a wall of windows with only a sliver of brick between them and the door.

choice3Choice 3: This is the same light for the back, but another of the collection to go out front.  Again, there is no motion detection for the lamp that would go on the front of the house.

The lamp for the front isn’t really a “match,” but it is from the same family of fixtures.  It’s about 3 inches shorter than what we have in the front now, so it would work.  It’s als0 a much cheaper combination than the last choice which makes me a bigger fan.  Yay for budget-friendly!

choice4Choice 4: These two don’t actually match.  One is from Lowe’s and the other Home Depot.  BUT…the lamp choice for the front comes with a motion detector – a plus.  Obviously, the fixtures will be on different sides of the house, so the match issue may not really be much of one since they do have some features which are somewhat similar.

So, this is it for the silver fixture options.  I’m still considering browns because there are some that I think are more the style I’d prefer, and I don’t think we should rule brown out.  Fundamentally, it’s still a neutral color that would work well with the brick.  I may also go back and look at some black fixtures.  I don’t think I want that much contrast out there, but I’ll take a look.  It’s the color of most lamps in the neighborhood that aren’t brass.

16 Responses to “Home Improvement: Lighting up Our New Patio”

  1. Stacy says:

    The only comment I have is that those door lights in general aren’t the greatest tool for making it bright and cheery out on the deck. If you’re going to have a roof (haven’t really followed so I’m not sure if you do or not) then you should really consider wiring up some can lights in the ceiling.

  2. Bitter says:

    We do have a roof over it, but it’s not really set up to take lighting. That would drive the cost of the project up quite a bit. However, depending on the furniture we choose, I have had my eye on some possible decorative lighting options.

  3. anon says:

    You do NOT want something that you need to disassemble just to change the bulb… especially with ‘affordable, buy it at the home center’ fixtures. Even when new it’s a chore, then the studs rust, the nuts get dropped in the mulch, they’re a serious PITA, trust me on this.

  4. Slowstdy says:

    Sebastian is going to hate me for this… But rope lights are cool, cheep and easy, better is white christmas lights interwound with plastic ivy. Gives it a nice warm light, with a country feel.

  5. Bitter says:

    Rope lights that can’t be easily hidden aren’t really my style. Unfortunately, there’s no where to hide the rope out there.

    As for string lights, we already have a set of these out on the front deck. I love them, but I don’t think they will work nearly as well out on the back patio.

    Right now, depending on how the furniture looks out there, I’m thinking either something really simple like these solar uplights to go around the patio or something a little bigger and more decorative like this, this, or this. I also spotted some pretty candle lanterns at Wal-Mart that I would be happy to light up when we are using the patio at night.

  6. I’m out with the flu for a few days, and come back to find you’ve built a patio.

    Go with the cheapest one. That’s my advice, anyway.

  7. RAH says:

    The first choice since the glass is easier to clean. Brass goes well against brick, brown and cleans easily. Motion dector go in the peak with a spotlight not a coach light. You want strong and obnoxius light to show up danger. Coachlights are to help you find the correct key.

    Get a floor lamp for relaxing on the patio or use sunlight and get inside when dark.

    The solar lamps work well for walkways and look nice.

  8. Bitter says:

    There’s no need for a spotlight. We’re in a nice neighborhood where there really hasn’t been any kind of trouble. So, yes, the motion detection is just to light things up from the car to the deck and then again at the door to get in.

    And there’s no way we’re getting brass again. I hate brass and it doesn’t look good with the colors of blue and white.

    As for forgoing wall-mounted lighting options in the back, it’s not really an option. There are already lamps back there that have to be replaced. They are already mounted and wired into the wall and have been for years. They need to be replaced, and there will be wires sticking out of the wall when they come down. So something is going to be put up regardless.

  9. Bitter says:

    BTW – I just found out we have another day of curing to go until they remove the frame. So since we won’t have an update tomorrow, I can post some potential brown lamp choices or show off the furniture we decided upon. Have I bitched about the price of patio furniture yet?

  10. John A says:

    Don’t worry too much about whether or not the fixture includes motion detection. There are after-market devices that are less difficult to add than than opening a flashlight to replace batteries. Probably listed under “home security,” or at least that is where Radio Shack and some others have them.

    Another option is the X10 (forgive them for being the first to have “pop-up” ads way back when) site. For my own use, I had the porch light controlled by a module that screws into the fixture, then has the bulb screwed into it, and which can be turned of and on by the key-chain controller – instead of by dogs, racoons, skunks… Drawback: it adds about 3/8 inch to the base, so be sure that without it the fixture extends at least 1/2 inch beyond a light bulb.

  11. Kristopher says:

    I think a set of these might work.

  12. DirtCrashr says:

    We have a couple-three strings of little tiki grass-shack lights – but they are in our dining room. With enough of them up they provide sufficient illumination through the palapa umbrella – but we can’t hang them outside on the deck per the CC&R’s.
    I like the house-boat idea and nautical embellishment. I like the nickle better than antique bronze. But similar outdoor lights at my sister’s house in Boulder Creek have become a dense nest of nasty cob-webs, stickier than a can of Aqua-Net…

  13. FatWhiteMan says:

    The lights on the left are superior because they will not fill up with dead bugs.

  14. RAH says:

    Actually I always though on front door wher you need to see the keys should be sensor that detect sunset and then turns on. So much of the year we leave in the dark and come back in the dark and leave the door light on all day.

    I personally dislike motion detectors since cats set them off and wake me up. I have set off the neighbor’s when walking on the sidewalk with the dog.

    I think solar lights help to light from car to door since they light the walkway. Not super bright either. IF you hate brass go with what you like, white fixtures are common.just get dirty easy.

    Home Depot and Lowes have small selections. A lighting store has more and so do catalogues

  15. Bitter says:

    The front is where we want the sensor, as well as the motion detection. Ideally, it would come on at dusk on a low setting and then brighten when it detects motion. It isn’t a problem for waking us up since the bedrooms are all at the back of the house. The only place that could happen is in the back – where we don’t want motion sensor or sunset detection. Those we’re fine leaving on a regular old switch.

    I went to a light store today and was underwhelmed. The selections at Home Depot and Lowe’s were actually bigger. The prices were higher. And more importantly, if they have catalogs they can order from, they didn’t bother to tell me about them because not a single staffer would talk to me. At those prices, you’re paying for the help and the service. They were unwillingly on both fronts, so I left. I will check out one more today or later this week just to make sure we’ve made the best choice, but I’m not hopeful.

  16. I’ve been in the market for some new motion lights too, and I figured I might as well post things as I learned them. My recommendation would be this light by Designers Edge, but feel free to consider me biased, since I serve to profit. I’m a bit unclear as to which light you intended to put in the front and the back, but this one has a styling very similar to your #3, and has both motion lighting and dusk till dawn function, and can be controlled by light switch as well.

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