Minimizing Glare on Outdoor Lanterns
Our expert, Randall Whitehead, IALD, illuminates this tricky issue.
I love the way clear, beveled glass looks on an outdoor lantern during the day, with a candelabra cluster visible inside, but some styles have too much glare at night. Do you have any tips for cutting the glare factor?
Clear or beveled glass can be tricky. I tend to recommend an obscure glass — such as seedy, water or frosted — to help soften the light source, and cut down on the cleaning. With clear glass, if the bulbs are too bright, they just create a visual glare bomb at night. Guests then have to shield their eyes as they approach the front door and end up tripping on the stairs, breaking that lovely bottle of wine they brought. (Personally, I prefer my wine in a box; less chance of breakage.) Try using low-wattage lamps. If you are looking for energy-efficient and low-maintenance alternatives, I have had good luck with flame-tip CCFLs and flame-tip LEDs. Remember: Lanterns are only supposed to be decorative. It is best to use them in combination with shielded pathway lights or directional fixtures, installed in the trees, to help guide people safely up to the front door.
Randall Whitehead lighting designer
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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