State-of-the-Art Outdoor Lighting Trends for Residential & Commercial Properties | The Home Lighter, Inc.

State-of-the-Art Outdoor Lighting Trends for Residential & Commercial

Backyard lighting fixtures highlighting sidewalk and trees.

Everyone wants to get the most from their property, and you can achieve that with the help of strategically placed outdoor lighting. Whether you’re a homeowner who needs to illuminate an outdoor living space for special soirees or you’re a business owner who wants to accent signage after hours, you’ll want to learn how these seven outdoor lighting trends can transform your outdoor space.

#1 Lighting Walkways and Entryways

Curb appeal doesn’t begin and end with a manicured lawn and some well-placed shrubs. A property that has true curb appeal signals to family, friends, and visitors that they are welcome and safe even at night. This atmosphere is a must for homeowners who do a lot of at-home entertainment.

Instead of having your guests and family members drive up to a darkened home, you can greet them with an entryway or porch that’s bathed with warm light. Besides creating a welcoming environment for guests, lighted entryways show off some of your home’s distinctive architectural elements.

Installing lights in entryways and walking paths also make businesses look good within their communities. The lights serve as both a welcome mat and security guard for businesses that operate during evening hours.

#2 Dark Sky Compatible Lighting

One of the great things about living in Monterey County is the region’s clear night skies that are unspoiled by harsh, big-city lights. Even if you’re not a member of the MIRA Astronomy Club, you can appreciate viewing the galactic skyscape from your balcony or patio. Installing dark sky compatible lighting helps you to highlight walkways and other areas of your yard without compromising the night-sky views with light pollution.

Light pollution is misdirected or excessively bright artificial outdoor lighting that competes with light that emanates from the moon and stars. Dark sky lighting solutions use fixtures that point light downward where it’s needed. Besides avoiding splattering light upward towards the sky, dark sky lights use bulbs that give off lower intensity light than the bulbs used in traditional outdoor lights. The International Dark Sky Association recommends outdoor lights that have color temperatures of no more than 3000 Kelvins.

At higher color temperatures, your outdoor lights deliver too much of a contrast between illuminated areas and the surrounding darkness. This creates places of unwanted concealment for burglars or dangerous wildlife. Besides making your property safer, dark sky lights minimize light pollution’s impact on nature. When birds and other animals encounter the glaring, bright lights of traditional outdoor lights, they can become confused and disoriented.

#3 Solar LED Outdoor Lighting

Saving money is always on trend, and building professionals are forever on the lookout for ways to reduce the public’s reliance on the electric grid. When it comes to outdoor lighting, solar LED fixtures fit the bill. LED lights have been industry favorites in residential and commercial settings for their long lifespan, durability, and low power usage. Solar LED lights add to the benefits by capturing free energy from the sun to power outdoor lights. Since they don’t require wiring to electric outlets, solar LED lights are also fairly easy to install.

Solar LED lights use small photovoltaic panels and batteries to soak up the sun’s energy during daylight hours and to emit light during the night for about 10 hours of continuous use. Where are solar LED lights best used? Start with the driveway. Driving up an unlit path at night is a recipe for marred landscaping or worse.

Avoid hitting forgotten toys, bicycles, or tools that are left in your driveway by installing solar LED lights along the sides of your driveway. Give your deck an upscale makeover with solar LED lights. Apply the lights to walls and stairs to make the space safer to use and to add an inviting glow to evening gatherings.

Solar LED lights work well as parking lot lights in retail settings. Parking lots often get full, direct sunlight that’s not obscured by a lot of big, shade trees. Solar LED parking lot lights shine for hours at night delivering added security at minimum costs to you.

#4 Exterior String Lights

You’ve got the house, car, and job that indicate adult responsibilities, but you’ve never quite grown up in every respect. Let your inner child out for some evening fun by installing outdoor string lights to patios, pergolas, or shrubs. String lights help to create a joyous atmosphere for any backyard special occasion.

String lights come in both traditional and solar varieties, and they enhance nearly every type of outdoor decor. Whether you have sleek modern outdoor furnishings or country cottage-style seating, you can count on string lights to shine pleasant ambient light on the area. String lights use warm color temperature bulbs that cast a soft glow on partygoers and make outdoor living spaces more usable. You can get solar LED string lights that give the warm look of vintage incandescent bulbs without sacrificing the efficiency of modern LED lights.

String lights are a flexible outdoor lighting choice that can be installed in a variety of outdoor spaces. You can string these twinkle lights across posts that surround an outdoor kitchen and dining area. Restaurant owners can create the ultimate al fresco dining experience by stringing the lights above patio seating areas.

Here are some other places to install string lights.

#5 Smart Lighting

Affordable, efficient outdoor lighting isn’t the only thing that designers are serving up to today’s property owners. Modern lighting solutions come with convenient automation features that put you in the driver’s seat. Smart lighting ranges from lights that are set on timers to ones that can be activated remotely via smartphones.

Lighting automation isn’t a new concept, but it’s gaining more traction with energy-conscious property owners. You have a series of garden lights that illuminate key areas of your yard such as walking paths and driveways. You don’t want to waste money by turning these lights on too early, but you have a tendency to forget to turn them on after the sun goes down.

You need an outdoor lighting system that operates on a timer. Set the timer to turn on your lights at sundown each day. These systems are especially beneficial for busy facility managers who are responsible for lighting several properties.

Some outdoor lights are so sophisticated that they come with sensors that detect diminishing sunlight and turn lights on based on the sensors’ data. Just as the sun disappears across the horizon, these lighting systems trigger lights to dimly shine. As the evening sky grows darker, the system turns up the brightness.

Smart lighting solutions are highly customizable, and they tie easily into home and commercial security and surveillance systems. These outdoor lighting options use motion detectors to turn lights on in certain areas when people walk by them. Besides deterring crime, motion-triggered lights offer a degree of safety for a homeowner who wants to check out a situation in a dark backyard or a restaurant worker who must walk through a dark area to remove trash from a 24-hour diner.

#6 Color-Changing Lights to Set a Festive Mood

Children see the world in vivid color. If you have little ones, you’ll want to indulge their penchant for color by installing color-changing lights in your backyard. These fun lights come in a variety of colors that range from red, white, and blue to green, pink, and purple. Depending on the setup that you choose, you can program the lights to show one color, a combination of two colors, or a multi-color presentation. They’re great for displaying favorite sports team colors during game-day parties. These color-changing lights come in durable LED models, and some are solar powered.

Colored lights don’t just delight children. Install color-changing LED lights near water features such as ponds or fountains to create a beautiful outdoor focal point.

#7 Low-Profile Fixtures, High-Drama Lighting

Mature trees that are paired with elegant architectural details deserve to be placed in the spotlight. When you want the focus on the item instead of the light, choose hidden fixtures that emit a soft glow to uplight trees, shrubs, or distinctive stone siding.

Low-profile light fixtures also help business owners to build their brands within the community. These lights display a well-maintained property long after stores have closed for the evening. They’re also used to light signs that show a company’s name, logo, and slogan.


When it comes to spending time outdoors, Monterey County boasts some of the best climatic conditions in the world. The Home Lighter’s state-of-the-art outdoor lighting solutions can boost your residential or commercial property’s function, safety, and curb appeal. Contact us today to get started. Our talented lighting consultants are standing by to assist you with your next outdoor lighting project.