How to Choose the Right Outdoor Hanging Light Fixtures

The lighting around your home plays a pivotal role in shaping its exterior aesthetic. Hanging outdoor lights on the front porch offer a glimpse of your style, while in the backyard or patio, they make entertaining more enjoyable.

Outdoor hanging lights should be as functional and they are beautiful. They are often the most visible feature on your property, so getting it right will create exactly the look you want. Here are some tips on how to choose outdoor hanging lights for your home.

Should All My Outdoor Light Fixtures Match?

Outdoor lights should be compatible with the style and lines of the house, but they don’t have to match. They need to work well together to create a cohesive look that goes with the home’s look. To do that, keep the following guidelines in mind.

Mix Finishes

Mixing finishes on the outdoor lighting will keep the area from looking bland and boring. Choose two to three finishes — any more than that will be distracting and feel muddled and confusing. They can be similar, warm finishes such as nickel and chrome or contrasting colors such as brass and black.

Mix Styles

Mixing styles will create a unique style but be strategic. Choose only two, any more than that can send mixed signals, and the home’s look will lack balance and cohesion.

Mix Textures

Mix the texture of the glass or the finish. For example, consider seeded glass paired with etched glass or a matte finish with a shiny finish. Mixing the textures creates visual interest.

Match Something

Mixing lighting fixtures can be fun and create a unique look, but don’t forget to match one trait. Whether it is the glass type, finish, color, or style, ensuring that all the lighting shares one of these traits will ensure the space doesn’t look unfocused and cluttered.

UL Ratings

Underwriters Laboratories gives lighting a UL Listing that can help you choose lighting appropriate for your needs. Look for lighting that is UL Damp rated or UL Wet rated. A damp location may be partially protected, such as a porch or patio. In a wet location, water or another liquid may splash, drip, or flow against or on the electrical components of the light fixture.

Whether you choose to mix or match, outdoor hanging lanterns are a great way to transform your outdoor areas.

Hinkley Lighting Alder 15 Inch Tall Outdoor Hanging Lantern

Boldly understated, the Hinkley Lighting Alder 15 Inch Tall Outdoor Hanging Lantern takes center stage in this casual outdoor dining area. The metal drum shade throws gentle light on the table below. The Weymouth 22 Inch Tall 3 Light Outdoor Wall Light by Hinkley Lighting offers a contrast with its straight lines and traditional style. The black finish on both fixtures brings the look together.

Where Should Outdoor Lights Be Placed?

The porch or patio should feel like an outdoor room – an extension of the living space. It should also be a welcoming, comfortable reflection of the home’s style. The front porch should guide guests in with warm light. A hanging lantern above the front door adds polish to the area, while outdoor-rated chandeliers brighten up outdoor entertaining.

A hanging lantern should be centered above the door and suspended high enough to offer enough illumination without impeding headroom. When it comes to hanging outdoor lighting over a dining table, it should be about 30-36 inches above the table, depending on your ceiling height. Experiment with the height that works for the size of the lighting. For outdoor living rooms, center the lighting and arrange the furniture around it.

Divergence 54 Inch Large Pendant by Hubbardton Forge

You don’t have to sacrifice style when choosing outdoor lighting. The interconnecting steel rods and pipes of the Divergence 54 Inch Large Pendant by Hubbardton Forge form a 3-D abstract light display perfect for this colorful, eclectic outdoor dining room. The elegant design with layered, lustrous offshoots brings a distinctly different look to outdoor entertaining.

Solaris 35 Inch Tall 6 Light Outdoor Hanging Lantern by Crystorama

Adding a warm glow to this outdoor room, the clear glass shades and drop crystal of the Solaris 35 Inch Tall 6 Light Outdoor Hanging Lantern by Crystorama are the ideal blend of form and function. Sleek and minimalist, the thin, swiping arms and sculptural, sphere-shaped wrought cage make the light as versatile as it is stylish.

How Do I Choose an Outdoor Light Fixture?

There are so many beautiful outdoor hanging lights that narrowing down the choices can seem almost impossible. But taking a few things into consideration can help you choose lighting that adds both function and beauty to your home.


Don’t be afraid to go a little bigger when choosing outdoor lights, especially on the front of your home. Bigger lights are easier to see from the street and enhance the home’s curb appeal.

Style & Color

Take cues from the home’s color palette and architectural features.


Take note of the wattage and number of bulbs the light fixture needs and the typed of glass it features. These traits will determine how much light it produces.

Hanging Lantern Light Fixtures

Available in various sizes and styles, hanging lanterns can dress up a front porch with warm, welcoming illumination. A hanging lantern offers beautiful ambient lighting when placed above an outdoor dining table. They set the mood for the living space and make it feel and reflect your style.


F. Chapman Darlana 18 Inch Tall 4 Light Outdoor Hanging Lantern by Visual Comfort and Co.

There’s nothing more inviting than a front porch that features stunning lighting like the E. F. Chapman Darlana 18 Inch Tall 4 Light Outdoor Hanging Lantern by Visual Comfort and Co. The lantern’s classic shape and simple lines highlight the warm, friendly feel of this front porch.

Lakehouse 32 Inch Tall 6 Light Outdoor Hanging Lantern by Hinkley Lighting

Could an outdoor room look cozier than this one featuring the Lakehouse 32 Inch Tall 6 Light Outdoor Hanging Lantern by Hinkley Lighting? The simple style is quietly satisfying. It’s easy to imagine relaxing with a book or sipping on a refreshing beverage.

Outdoor Rated Chandeliers

Chandeliers aren’t just for dining rooms and entryways. They can be installed in many outdoor locations. They add a dash of the unexpected to your outdoor area. However, as with any outdoor light, a chandelier must be damp- or wet-rated to ensure they stand up to the elements and are resistant to water.

Alford Place 24 Inch Tall 4 Light Outdoor Hanging Lantern by Hinkley Lighting

It is easy to imagine a twilight meal under the Alford Place 24 Inch Tall 4 Light Outdoor Hanging Lantern by Hinkley Lighting. Whether hosting a crowd, enjoying a family meal, or relaxing on your own, this chandelier-style hanging lantern creates a cozy vibe in an outdoor space.


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