Porch Lights Guide

Porch Lights Guide

While porch lights specifically refer to lights used to illuminate an outdoor porch, the term is often used interchangeably with “outdoor lighting.” For this reason, people often use the same kinds of bulbs and lighting sources for all kinds lights outside their homes. This might seem a little confusing, but the truth is that most types of outdoor lighting — including porch lights — are relatively straightforward. More importantly, porch lights can greatly increase the outdoor aesthetic of your home and make it easier to use your porch, deck, or outdoor seating area at any time of day or night.

But what are the different styles of porch lights? What message are you sending with certain colors of outdoor lights? How can you use porch lights to keep bugs away from your home? Lastly, what can you use to clean outdoor porch lights? In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, so let’s get started!

Porch Light Styles

There are hundreds of unique porch light styles that you can use based on the look of your home and your own personal tastes. That said, some styles are more common and pragmatic than others. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your outdoor light fixtures are made to withstand moisture and inclement weather. In any case, the most popular and effective porch lights generally fall into three styles:

Sconce Lights

Sconce light fixtures are one of the oldest styles of outdoor lighting that are still in existence today. Before the invention of electricity, sconces were used to hold candles, as well as oil or gas-powered lamps. However, the popularity of sconces has not gone anywhere, especially for porch lighting.

In the simplest terms, sconces are just lamps that are attached to a vertical surface. Sconce lamps can face upwards or downwards. Outdoor sconce light fixtures are typically made of much more durable materials like metal and glass, as opposed to the fabric that is commonly used for indoor lampshades. These materials ensure that the source of light inside the lamp remains protected from rain, snow, wind, or even falling objects.

Ceiling-Mounted Lights

As the name implies, ceiling-mounted lights function as overhead lights that attach directly to a horizontal protective surface. In the context of porches, these lights hang from the awning or overhang (sometimes known as a portico). Naturally, this limits ceiling-mounted lights to porches that have some kind of overhead covering.

If your front porch, back porch, deck, or other outdoor seating area has a large, permanent overhang, then ceiling-mounted lights are a great option. Not only do these lights typically offer a larger light distribution area than sconce lights, but they’re also far less likely to be damaged by bad weather or falling objects. For this reason, many porches feature at least one overhead light fixture, sometimes combined with a fan in warmer climates.


Floodlights combine some of the advantages of both sconce lights and ceiling-mounted lights. Unlike “standard” outdoor lighting which simply offers a basic light source, floodlights create a very bright beam of light that extends in a specific direction but expands out to a relatively large area. The size of a floodlight reach depends on the size and shape of the bulb, as well as the height at which the light fixture is installed.

Sports stadiums use larger, more powerful versions of floodlights to illuminate the entire playing area. This is a testament to the strength and practicality of floodlights, even in the setting of a porch or area outside of the home. For example, floodlights are often used for increased security. Many floodlights can be set to turn on as soon as they detect movement. This ensures that you can see whenever you leave or enter your home. It also helps ward off potential burglars or home invaders.

Due to their high intensity, floodlights are often installed higher up on your home than sconce or ceiling-mounted lights. This makes them a great choice for outdoor areas that do not have an overhang, like many decks and patios. Most floodlights can also be installed on vertical or horizontal surfaces.

What Do Different Colored Porch Lights Mean

White and yellow lights are the two most common colors for porch lights. Yellow lights often create a more inviting atmosphere, while white lights can increase visibility and make the surrounding area appear brighter. But what if you want to use a less common color? Here are a few colors used for porch lights and their underlying meaning:

  • Green Porch Lights - Green porch lights are often used to show support and appreciation for military veterans and active service members. More generally, people associate green lights with hope, vitality, and renewal.
  • Blue Porch Lights - Blue porch lights signify autism awareness. April is Autism Awareness Month, so it is most common to see blue lights during this time. However, you can still use blue porch lights year-round, as blue lights can also signify support for civil servants, including police officers and firefighters.
  • Red Porch Lights - Red porch lights are used to raise awareness for heart health. They are also commonly used to decorate for special holidays like Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day.
  • Purple Porch Lights - Purple porch lights help raise awareness for domestic abuse and violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so you’re more likely to see purple lights during this time. Like red lights, purple porch lights are often used to decorate for Halloween as well.

How To Keep Bugs Away From Porch Lights

Porch lights are notorious for attracting flying bugs, particularly moths. This can make it uncomfortable to sit and enjoy your porch after the sun goes down. Fortunately, there are a few different ways to keep bugs away from your porch lights. Some of the most common methods include:

  • Changing incandescent light bulbs to LED bulbs
  • Purchasing a “bug zapper” device and installing it near your porch
  • Using vinegar-based cleaning products to clean the area around your porch lights
  • Planting bug-repellant herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme nearby

How To Clean Outdoor Porch Lights

Cleaning outdoor porch lights is not all that difficult, though you will need to be careful to avoid getting liquids in the electrical components of the light fixtures. For this reason, you can’t just point a water hose at your porch lights and blast them. Instead, you’ll need to clean them by hand using a cloth or brush. The best ingredients to use will vary based on the materials used to make your porch light.

Since most porch light fixtures are a combination of metal and glass, you can generally use products that are designed to clean these materials. If you don’t have an adequate cleaning solution on hand, you can even make one using common household products. Some of the most common cleaners include dishwashing liquid, lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda. Just remember to clean the interior of the fixture very carefully to avoid causing damage to the light source.

We hope you found this guide on porch lights both fun and informative! Are you interested in learning more about porch lights and light bulbs for porches? Are you ready to purchase high-quality light bulbs at affordable prices? If so, be sure to check out the products available at Bulb Center today!

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