Illuminate Your Landscape: A Guide to Outdoor Lighting

You’ve gone hammer and tongs to make your home and yard look out of this world – that’s alright! So, why let the nightfall hide this hard work? With a click on a switch and some well-placed landscape lights, you can put it all back on display again. When done right, outdoor lighting can be a fascinating way to show off the breathtaking architecture of your home, expand usable space, and revitalize your yard. Here’s an in-depth breakdown of everything you need to know about outdoor light systems.

An Overview of Landscape Lighting

Currently, most exterior lighting systems are low voltage – probably because their installation costs and energy uses are down. For instance, the systems we install for our clients use about 10V to 15V alongside LED technology for long-lasting life. Although low-voltage systems operate at a fraction of the power used in a standard 120V system, they achieve a full-range visual effect.

All of these go into building a memorable exterior lighting solution to highlight your home’s architectural features and draw attention to prized trees and plantings. Looking to show off your Monterey property with landscape lights? You can trust us for all your lighting solutions in Pacific Grove.


Components of a Low-Voltage Outdoor Light System

Lighting systems typically work with a stepped-down power. Thereupon, a low-voltage system features a transformer that reduces the 120V household power to a safe 12V. The system also comes with a fixture housing and a bulb. The housing determines the shape of the light beam and protects the bulb from elements. Other components on the system include a stake that holds the fixture in place and a cable to connect the system to the power in your house.

Landscape light systems ought to withstand elements. Since water conducts electricity, an ideal system should protect you from shocks and electrocution. Make sure to invest in a system with a good IP rating. IP stands for Ingress Protection – an assessment of how a product is resistant to water and other particles.

It’s worth noting that bulbs are not waterproof. Regardless of the bulb used, investing in a waterproof fitting is paramount. Perhaps you’re wondering how to evaluate the best fitting to invest in. Don’t panic, the IP rating gives information on how waterproof a system is.

Recommended fittings for outdoor lights range from IP44 onwards with the IP65 being the most ideal option for fittings exposed to dust, direct rain, and low jets of water in all directions. The highest level of rating is IP68 which works well with underwater lighting.


Types of Landscape Lights to Install

While most individuals invest in landscape light systems to simply accent their lawns or gardens, others use varied lighting setups for safety and security purposes. Whether you’re looking to guide cars into the driveway, highlight scenic trees on the compound, or shed light on your property, there’s an outdoor lighting system to suit your needs. Here is a list of options to select when investing in exterior light systems.


Strategic Landscape Lighting Locations

Depending on the layout and size of your outdoor area, you’ve got to pick strategic points to install the systems to achieve appropriate lighting without creating a flood-lit look or over-lighting the area. Make sure to put adequate attention on the following points.

  1. Entrance lighting
    You’ll want to create a welcoming impression with a well-lit entrance to your home. An excellent entrance lighting is a great way to improve security since you can easily identify at your door after nightfall. However, you might want to avoid glare at the entrance with fluorescent tubes or shrouded bulbs.
  2. Patio Lighting
    Since patios and decks are areas where you spend a lot of time entertaining and relaxing, ambient lighting is paramount. A well-lit patio feels like an extension of your home. Try out a few task lightings along with spotlights for reading areas and pendant lights for dining and BBQ areas. Also, consider adding a few accent lightings.
  3. Driveway and Walkway Lighting
    Combine aesthetics and safety when selecting the systems to install on your steps, walkways, and driveway. Ideal lights for these areas ought to project pools of light towards the ground to allow people to see the surface they’re walking on, without dazzling them. Avoid creating a landing strip effect with too many lights since it might feel a little unnatural.
  4. Focal Point Illumination
    Use warm hues on manmade statues as well as cool hues on natural focal points such as trees to create a dramatic background. If you’re looking for an experience a little out of the box, try accenting the shadow of a statue or plant on a wall.    For water features, use fittings that are rated above 7.

Best Landscape Lighting Solutions in Pacific Grove

If you’re a homeowner looking for the best exterior lighting contractors Pacific Grove has to offer, The Home Lighter, Inc. offers fantastic outdoor bullet, well, flood, up, down, and wash lighting installments. We are committed to giving you an impeccable mixture of value, style, and durability. We pride ourselves in the following approach to come up with the most ideal installation, planning, and design.

First, we’ll assess your property for a clear insight into the outdoor space, entrance, and the house. We’ll want to make sure that you get an ideal outdoor light system that suits how you typically intend to use the space. We’ll also engage in a dialogue to understand exactly how you want the work done.

We’ll carry out a reconnaissance tour to your premises to pinpoint features such as trees, outdoor space, driveways, and walkways, to mention a few. We’ll then give recommendations on how best we can carry out a proper outdoor lighting installation.

The Home Lighter, Inc. aims at offering clients with smooth, quick outdoor illumination installation. You can trust us for professional installation work that is both aesthetic and durable. We are also thorough and use the best products available.

Investing in the best outdoor lighting solutions Pacific Grove has to offer is certainly a major decision. Homeowners in Monterey can opt to hire our team of lighting experts and enjoy a hands-on involvement with experienced professionals all through the process. Remember, there’s much more than just purchasing and installing these systems. You’ve got to carefully consider factors such as power source, placement, foot traffic, to mention a few. How about you hire us, sick back, and let professionals handle the rest of your lighting work?

While design themes vary, great lighting is one thing that custom homes have in common. Lighting comes in these three main types: ambient, task, and accent. Ambient lighting is called general lighting, and it is the main source of soft light that permeates a room. Task lighting, which is often a little brighter than soft ambient lighting, is used in work areas. Accent lighting highlights special areas or objects in a room. Using only one type of lighting in a room is nearly always a rookie mistake. 

Consider some of the latest trends in layering lights, light brightness, sizing, and position that make each room in your home stylish yet approachable:

Foyer Lighting

When you aim to impress, great foyer design and decor should be high on your list of priorities. Architectural details such as vaulted ceilings and arched doorways allow you to set the tone for the rest of your home. Here’s how the right lighting can make this area into the statement piece that you desire.

Foyer Lighting – Lighting Layers

The most common lighting layer combination that you’ll find in today’s high-end entryways is one that includes ambient and accent lights. Top designers love to create drama in foyers with high ceilings by hanging pendant lights overhead. Low-ceiling spaces strike an appealing pose with decorative flush-mount ceiling lights and welcoming table lamp accent lighting. Dimmers are also popular in entryways, and they give you the option to change the mood of the room by raising or lowering light intensity in the space.

Foyer Lighting – Brightness

When replacing light bulbs around your home, you’ve likely noticed that there are different variations of light. These differences reflect the bulbs’ color temperatures. Soft white at 2700 degrees Kelvin (K), bright white at 3500K, and daylight at 5000K are the three main types of color temperatures. The color temperature that designers almost always suggest for foyers is soft white light that adds a warm, welcoming glow to the space.

Foyer Lighting – Size

Lights that are too small or too heavy for your foyer can look a bit off. For large, open foyers, consider using a cluster of pendants. A straight-line series of pendants looks well in a foyer that has a long, narrow hallway.

Foyer Lighting – Position

Place a pendant, ceiling light, or chandelier in the center of your entryway. The bottom of your chosen light fixture should be at least seven feet from the ground for single-story foyers and at least eight feet from the ground for second-story foyers.

Kitchen Lighting

If there’s one place in your home that marries beauty and function, it’s your kitchen. Kitchen lighting must be bright enough to support safe food preparation but soft enough to welcome friends and family. Here’s how to pull off a fabulous lighting system in your kitchen.

Kitchen Lighting – Lighting Layers

Defining your kitchen lighting system is not for the faint of heart. Recessed lights are the go-to ambient lights for contemporary and traditional kitchens. Track lights or decorative pendant lights serve as task lighting over sinks, kitchen tables, and islands.

Kitchen Lighting – Brightness

Recessed lights or accent pendant lights call for soft white color temperature bulbs. Task lights that must illuminate cutting boards, sizzling skillets, or recipe writing should have daylight bulbs.

Kitchen Lighting – Size

Choose kitchen lights that match your space and functional needs. If you have a large kitchen island that doubles as a food preparation and kitchen seating area, you’ll want to install a series of large pendant lights above the island. Consider dimmer-style pendants in this instance so that you can increase the brightness for food preparation and decrease it during meal times.

Kitchen Lighting – Position

When using pendant lighting in your kitchen, leave at least 30 inches between the bottom of the light fixtures and the surface of your island or table. LED task lights in the form of strip lights, puck lights, and recessed lights are also used under cabinets to illuminate counter space. Install toe-kick lighting under cabinets and at the base of islands to make your kitchen safer for midnight snackers.

Dining Room Lighting

Formal dining rooms are making a comeback according to interior designers who watch the latest trends. Many people want a separate, elegant space that allows them to focus on savoring special meals while conversing with guests. If you’re blessed enough to have a formal dining room, illuminate the space with well-chosen lights.

Dining Room Lighting – Lighting Layers

Dining rooms don’t multitask as kitchens do. As a result, dining room lighting is less complex than kitchen lighting plans. You’ll want a chandelier or a pendant that gives off dimmer-controlled ambient light in the room. Decorative sconces and table lamps are popular accent lights in today’s dining rooms.

Dining Room Lighting – Brightness

The color temperature in dining room lighting is nearly always soft white. Dining rooms are ideal spaces for dimmer lights that can set the mood in the space and make it look more elegant and sophisticated.

Dining Room Lighting – Size

The size and shape of your primary source of ambient light are largely based on your room’s size. Decorative sconces will vary in size and shape based upon the object that they surround.

Dining Room Lighting – Position

Your dining room’s ceiling light should be centered above your dining table. If you have a chandelier or pendant, you’ll place it at least 30 inches above the surface of the table. You’ll want to place pairs of decorative sconces around pictures, hutches, or mirrors in your dining room.

Living Room Lighting

Whether your living room is an extension of your kitchen within an open floor plan or you have a separate space that’s dedicated to your love of reading, you’ll need the right lighting to make the space stand out.

Living Room Lighting – Lighting Layers

Depending on how you use your living room, you’ll need all three types of lights to make the room beautiful and functional. An ambient ceiling light, a floor lamp, and some well-placed sconces may be all that you need to illuminate a living room that’s used mainly for movie nights. If your living room is the hub for sewing projects and hours-long reading, you’ll want more task lighting such as track lighting, a floor lamp, or a table lamp.

Living Room Lighting – Brightness


You’ll want the soft white light that emanates from incandescent-style bulbs to light your living room. This warm-colored light is ideal for your living room’s ambient and accent lights. Up the intensity of task lights for sewing or reading with daylight bulbs that start at 5000K.

Living Room Lighting – Size

Your chosen living room lights should scale to your room’s size and its furnishings. You’ll enhance a large living room with an oversized chandelier that can either be contemporary sleek or classically chic. Chandeliers and sconces come in a variety of shapes. You’ll want to choose shapes that complement other architectural details in the room or that offer contrast.

Living Room Lighting – Position

While ambient living room lights usually shine from above, the placement of accent and task lights varies by the functional spaces in your room. Pairs of sconces are popularly used to frame focal points such as fireplace mantles, mirrors, and windows. It’s also common to place a dimmer-style floor lamp in a corner space to chase away shadows as well as provide task lighting near seating.

Bedroom Lighting

Bedrooms are relatively small spaces, so the lights that you choose for them should pack a visual punch and meet your functional needs for the space.

Bedroom Lighting – Lighting Layers

Choose a chandelier or pendant for ambient lighting that makes a bold statement and add table lamps on nightstands as accent lights. More contemporary bedrooms also look great with a set of matching pendant lights around the bed that serve as task and accent lighting.

Bedroom Lighting – Brightness

Soft white ambient light from your chosen chandelier or pendant should be bright enough to do common bedroom activities such as making up your bed or folding clothes. If you like to read in bed, a pair of adjustable wall-mounted sconces that use bright white bulbs is a great choice.

Bedroom Lighting – Size

When it comes to bedroom ceiling light fixtures, it’s okay to go big. This is especially true if your bed lacks an impressive headboard that could serve as the focal point of the room. If your room’s scale necessitates a smaller chandelier or pendant, you can still make the room bright and pleasant with table lamps and floor lamps that align with the size of your nightstands and other furnishings.

Bedroom Lighting – Position

Place wall-mounted sconces above nightstands on either side of your bed. A pair of pendants that suspend from the ceiling to about 30 inches above your nightstands also offer task lighting for reading, paying bills, and doing crossword puzzles in bed.

Bathroom Lighting

Bathrooms are some of the most used spaces within your home. While these rooms are primarily valued as functional areas, today’s bathrooms have become spaces for relaxation, pampering, and kid-friendly fun. Here’s how you can use bathroom lighting to meet your household’s unique needs for these spaces.

Bathroom Lighting – Lighting Layers

You’ll need more than your bathroom fan’s light to guide you from half-awake to fully dressed and ready to greet the world. As with most rooms in your home, you’ll need a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting to meet your expectations for the space. Recessed lights are the most popular type of ambient lighting in today’s bathrooms. Wall-mounted sconces double as decorative fixtures and task lighting for personal grooming.

Bathroom Lighting – Brightness

Bathrooms typically need brighter lights than most other rooms in your home. You can achieve a good balance between mood lighting and safety-related task lighting by installing dimmable bright white bulbs.

Bathroom Lighting – Size

While recessed lights work well for small, low-ceiling bathrooms, larger bathrooms that have higher ceilings look better with decorative flush-mount ceiling lights or dramatic chandeliers that flood the space with light. Wall-mounted sconces must be sized according to your wall space and the dimensions of the vanity that it surrounds.

Bathroom Lighting – Position

Ambient lights in bathrooms are mostly found suspended from ceilings. This is true for recessed lights in showers or chandeliers that hang above free-standing bathtubs. These lights must be wet or damp rated for safety reasons. Wall-mounted sconces are best placed on the sides of vanity mirrors to give the best light to one’s face for grooming. A task light that sits above a vanity mirror is a second-best alternative if you don’t have wall space on the sides of your mirror.

Finished Basement Lighting

A finished basement is a bonus space that can be used as a recreation room, a home theater, or a guest suite. However, the lack of full windows makes basements a challenge to light properly. Here are some tips for creating a light-filled basement that everyone can enjoy.

Finished Basement Lighting – Lighting Layers

Track lighting is a popular option for ambient lighting in a finished basement. This type of lighting system offers the abundant light that a basement needs without taking up extra space on floors or walls.

Finished Basement Lighting – Brightness

You’ll want plenty of soft white light fixtures for ambient light in your basement. Use bright white bulbs for task or accent lights that shine on work areas or art.

Finished Basement Lighting – Size

The versatility of pendants makes them popular in the basement as ambient, task, and accent lighting. When you want to use pendant lighting to illuminate a large space in a basement, choose a large, dramatic pendant or a cluster of small pendant lights that are hung at different heights.

Finished Basement Lighting – Position

You’ll want to choose track lights that span the length of your basement. Flexibility is a major benefit of choosing these types of lights. If you rearrange your furniture, you can change the layout of the track lighting system to accommodate the new look.


Ready to try out some of these lighting trends in your home? The Home Lighter in Pacific Grove, CA has a distinctive selection of indoor and landscaping lights to inspire any lighting project. If you don’t find exactly what you want for your project among our collection of quality, name brands, we’ll work with you to make custom pieces that will reflect your personal preferences and functional needs for the space.