If you’re looking to illuminate a gazebo, porch, sunroom, or covered deck, you should consider an outdoor chandelier.
Popular since the days of candlelight, outdoor chandeliers have long been the most desired form of lighting for large outdoor spaces. Now that outdoor chandeliers come with electric bulbs, there are even more options available for homeowners (including fixtures that mimic the look and effect of candlelight).
However, because these electric chandeliers will be exposed to the elements, there are safety precautions you must keep in mind.
In order to choose the best outdoor chandelier for your home, here are 4 helpful tips:
1. Your Outdoor Space
Before you buy your new outdoor chandelier, you will want to consider the space where you plan to hang it.
How much light will you need? If you’re trying to light up a large or unusually shaped outdoor area, you may want to combine your chandelier with outdoor pendant lighting to fully illuminate the space.
If your chandelier will hang above an outdoor table, a good rule of thumb is to make sure the chandelier is at least one-half to three-quarters the width of your table. The right hanging height is generally measured at 30-32 inches above the table.
2. UL Wet/Damp Ratings
An outdoor chandelier needs to be rated by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to be safe for damp or wet conditions.
This means your chandelier is designed to prevent moisture from penetrating the electrical wiring of your light fixture. Also, chandeliers that are UL wet or damp rated will often also include weather-resistant components, such as sealed glass shades, rubber coating, and a grounded electrical plug.
Some outdoor chandeliers are designed with shades or glass casings for the bulbs.
Many homeowners desire shades in order to mute the illumination. White or off-white shades will allow the most light to shine forth while darker shades will emit a softer glow. Look for shades that are made of vinyl or other weather-resistant materials in order to prevent mildew growth and damage.
Also, if you choose shades, you will want to pay attention to what direction they are turned. Upward facing shades are good for ambiance, but they are also notorious for collecting insects, so will require consistent maintenance. Downward facing shades are good over tables, grills, or other high-activity areas where people will want clear vision for precision tasks.
Lastly, if you live in a particularly rainy or humid area, you may want to consider bulbs in sealed glass casings, as this is frequently one of the best methods to prevent moisture accumulation.
4. Lighting Accessories
Finally, you will want to decide on any lighting accessories for your outdoor chandelier.
A dimmer switch is useful if you want control over the amount of light emitted by your chandelier. Dimmers make it possible to add just a little extra illumination as the sun starts to go down, followed by full lighting once it’s completely dark outside.
Another popular accessory is a hanging chain, which not only adds a classic aesthetic touch to your chandelier design, but can be functionally useful in giving you more options for turning your chandelier on and off.
For more ideas and design inspiration, check out Going Lighting’s collection of outdoor chandeliers.