Proper Size and Placement of Outdoor Lanterns
When it comes to outdoor wall lanterns, size does matter, says our expert, Randall Whitehead, IALD.
What are your recommendations for sizing and placement of outdoor wall-mounted lanterns around the front entrance of a house?
This is a great question because people frequently get size and placement wrong. Homeowners often select an under-scale fixture so that it looks dinky on the house. When you look in a catalog or see a fixture in a lighting showroom, it is very difficult to tell what size is right. My recommendation is to borrow a fixture and try it out on-site. Don’t worry if it is the right finish; just the right scale. Have someone hold it up (as I’m doing with the Hans Duus lantern in this picture) and then go out to the street to look at it (remember to watch for traffic). This will help with selecting the correct scale and the appropriate mounting height in relationship to doors and windows. Make sure to hold the fixture at the level of where the backplate connects to the junction box, if you are replacing one fixture with another. The power feed isn’t always in the middle of the fixture. If your showroom doesn’t have an actual fixture to borrow, then make a template out of cardboard with the right dimensions. Believe me: It is worth it. And if you don’t feel like doing it, make your kids do it. Child labor laws do not extend to the home.
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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