The Importance of Good Exterior Lighting

House at dusk with outdoor lighting

When it comes to home security, many homeowners focus on alarms, locks, and surveillance cameras. While these measures are crucial, exterior lighting is an often overlooked aspect. 

Effective outdoor lighting not only can be aethetically appealing, but it also plays a significant role in deterring criminal activities, particularly burglaries. This article explores the importance of good exterior lighting in home security and provides insights into how it can deter burglars.

Why Exterior Lighting Matters

Good exterior lighting serves several critical functions in home security:


Adequate lighting increases visibility around your home, making it difficult for potential intruders to approach undetected. Well-lit areas leave fewer places for criminals to hide, reducing the chances of a successful break-in.


Proper lighting enhances the effectiveness of surveillance cameras. Cameras can capture clearer images and videos when the area is well-lit, aiding in identifying and prosecuting criminals.

Psychological Deterrent

Bright, well-placed lights create a psychological barrier for potential burglars. The fear of being seen or caught deters many criminals from attempting to break into a well-lit property.


Good lighting improves safety for residents and visitors by reducing the risk of someone tripping or falling when it is dark outside. It also aids in identifying any suspicious activities or persons around your property.

How Lighting Deters Burglars

Burglars generally lurk in the darkness to avoid detection; even though most burglaries happen during the day, it is much easier to get away with a crime in the dark. Effective exterior lighting disrupts this preference in several ways:

  1. Eliminating Hiding Spots: Bright lighting around entry points, such as doors and windows, eliminates shadows and hiding spots, making it harder for burglars to approach without being seen.
  2. Motion-Activated Lights: Motion-activated lights are particularly effective in deterring burglars. The sudden illumination can startle and scare off intruders, who may fear residents or security systems have detected them.
  3. Regular Lighting Patterns: Consistent and strategic lighting patterns suggest that the home is occupied and well-maintained. Burglars are less likely to target homes that appear to be occupied as the risk of confrontation increases.
  4. Enhanced Surveillance: Well-lit exteriors improve the performance of security cameras, enabling them to capture clear footage. The presence of visible cameras and bright lights can discourage burglars from targeting your home.

Types of Exterior Lighting for Home Security

Modern house at night with bright wall lights

Various types of exterior lighting can enhance your home’s security. Each type serves a specific purpose and can be strategically placed to maximize its effectiveness:


Floodlights provide broad, intense illumination and are ideal for covering large areas such as driveways, backyards, and the sides of the house. These are the type of lights they use for night football or tennis games. Position floodlights to cover critical areas without causing glare that could blind you or your neighbors.

Motion-Activated Lights

These lights turn on when they detect motion, surprising potential intruders and drawing attention to their presence. Place motion-activated lights near entry points and pathways.

Path Lights

Path lights illuminate walkways, driveways, and garden paths, enhancing safety and visibility. They also add to the overall security by lighting up access routes to the home and come in several different colors and shapes and sizes to match your style and pricepoint. 


Spotlights focus light on specific areas such as doorways, windows, and garage doors. They can highlight vulnerable entry points and deter burglars from attempting to break in.

Wall Lights

Wall-mounted lights can be visually stunning outdoor decor as well as provide illumination around the perimeter of the house. They are effective for lighting up entryways, porches, and dark corners.

Solar Lights

Solar-powered lights are a great, eco-friendly, and cost-effective option for exterior lighting. They can be placed in areas where running electrical wiring is difficult, providing consistent lighting with minimal maintenance.

Best Practices for Effective Exterior Lighting

To maximize the security benefits that exterior lighting can offer, consider following these best practices:

  1. Strategic Placement:
    • Position lights to cover all entry points, including doors, windows, and garages. Ensure that all dark corners and shadowy areas are well-lit.
  2. Layered Lighting:
    • Install a combination of different lighting types (e.g., floodlights, spotlights, path lights) to create layers of illumination. This approach provides comprehensive coverage and eliminates potential hiding spots.
  3. Regular Maintenance:
    • Regularly check and maintain your lighting system. Replace burnt-out bulbs promptly and ensure that fixtures are clean and in good working order.
  4. Motion Sensors:
    • Install motion sensors on lights to conserve energy and create an element of surprise for intruders. Ensure that the sensors are adjusted to avoid false triggers from pets or wildlife.
  5. Timers and Smart Controls:
    • Use timers or smart lighting systems to automate your exterior lights. This ensures consistent lighting patterns, even when you are away from home, making it appear occupied.
  6. Avoiding Glare:
    • Position lights to avoid glare that can blind you or your neighbors. Use shields or diffusers to direct light where it’s needed without causing discomfort.

Stay Lit, Stay Safe

Good exterior lighting is a crucial component of home security. By increasing visibility, enhancing surveillance, and creating a psychological deterrent, effective lighting can significantly reduce the risk of burglaries. Investing in a well-planned and maintained exterior lighting system is a proactive way to safeguard your home and provide peace of mind.

Remember to assess your home’s unique layout and security needs when planning your lighting strategy. By combining various types of lighting and following best practices, you can create a secure, well-lit environment that deters potential intruders and enhances the safety of your property.

You might also be interested in: How To Choose The Best Home Security System For Your Needs

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