Updating the Exterior Lighting

I have been showing you a lot of what I have been doing inside and on the lake side of my house lately, but this week I did some updating on the front of the house. The exterior lighting was a bit dated…

…I am 100% sure that the exterior light fixtures are original to the house when it was built in 1974.

Updating exterior lighting

This plastic beauty x 2 were what you were greeted with when you came to my front door.

Before and after Outdoor Lighting makeover

and if you arrived by the side door… this yellow fixture of loveliness would shine its light upon you. :-)

I have tried to clean them of dirt, bugs, and mud wasp nests, but since the only way to clean them is to put your hand up through the opening on the bottom, it is very hard to do.

With summer upon us, it was time to replace them. I went in search of fixtures that were not only more to my liking, but that would be easy to clean as well.

I looked at many light fixtures… big, small, all colors and types of metal.

Outdoor lighting update

See the plastic light fixtures?

When choosing what type of light fixtures to get, I also had to think of the styling of my house. It has a split personality.

front view of house

The front of the house looks like a one-story contemporary home, especially with the design on the double front doors. Many that arrive via the front door think the house is a small ranch style house.

exterior house color scheme

It is not until you go inside or see the house from the lake side that you see the house is a bigger two-story house that has a totally different appeal.

To find just the right lights to blend with both personalities of the house, I went to Del Mar Fans and Lighting and looked at literally hundreds of outdoor lighting options. I edited my choice down to this…


… I chose 3 Belden Place Outdoor Wall Sconces from Hinkley.  Two for the front entry and one for the side door.

Hinkley outdoor lights

They arrived on my doorstep a few days later.

Four door house entrance

One of the bigger home improvement projects I would like to do sooner, than later to the front of the house, is to replace the entire front door and two glass panels on either side with 4 – 3/4 light – 6 pane doors.  Something that will look like this illustration.

Exterior door idea

I kept this future vision of the entry with the 4 doors in mind when I was making my choice for new lighting. Please forgive my novice Photoshopping skills. :-)


I could not go with big lights since there is a low ceiling above the doors. The Belden Place lights are the perfect size and color and so well made.  The glass is easy to take on and off so cleaning bugs and other nasties that I know are going to like the lights as much as I do will be easy to do.

My trusty electrician was around after the lights were delivered so I asked him if he could switch out the old lights for the new ones.


He took on the task and in about an hour, he had all 3 lights changed out.


So pretty…:-)

Another reason I chose this fixture is that it can take a 100-watt light bulb.  Many others that I looked at only could handle a 60 watt bulb. With 200 watts of light there is plenty of light now at the entrance when needed.


Another reason I want to replace the front door…the glass sections on either side are double-paned and are cloudy on the inside. I can’t clean it. I kept the wood blinds in place to hide the cloudiness of the glass. It is very noticeable from inside the house.


These shiny new lights do make up for the cloudy glass panels by the door.

I wish they were as easy to update as the light fixtures were.


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  1. Patricia Wilson says:

    Diane, I love the exterior lights you’ve chosen for your front entrance. However, I agree with some of your other blog followers that your existing doors are so unique and beautiful. Why not just replace the front sidelights to admit more light and keep those gorgeous doors…unless you absolutely hate them! In that case, please hold a blogger lottery to win those doors?

  2. Sandra Darr says:

    I was thinking the same, about the original doors are so lovely…why replace?
    Then I saw your new ones, really nice! I get the desire for more light.
    My house gets the same reaction, I look like a single story ranch, walk in and see 30ft high ceilings and a sun room with views of a pool and green space and woods. I do love my house, “better than I deserve!”
    You have beautiful taste in all things posted!:)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Sandra – I do like the doors, but they do block the light and since the side panels have to be replaced, I would love to get the look I have in my head using 4 quarter light doors. I need to get an estimate to see just how much they will cost. Your home sounds dreamy – everyone deserves the best… you deserve your house and the fact you love it proves it!

  3. Mary Coakley says:

    I must say your present door is pretty impressive but I can see the new one will let in more light.Loved your outside light,thank you for the tips and ideas.I loved both your wreaths they are beautiful and simple,make a great impact.

  4. Edna Wood says:

    Your home is beautiful and the setting on the lake looks just about perfect.
    If you are replacing your doors, I could use them. They do look like they may need some refinishing…….what kind of shape are they in? We are in Michigan and if you’re someplace that we could get to, I would sure like to see what we could arrange. If you’re not ready to do something right away, we can wait.

  5. lindalw666 says:

    Well, yes, bees and such could get in there from underneath.. maybe inserting a small piece of screen, when necessary. I really like the design of these Belden lights, I’d order the same thing myself. On the website, it appeared that the ring of gold color wasn’t on their metal shades, but to see them close up with a good camera, they are very nice looking! I currently have a shade which you have to remove to replace the lights; there is some fussy glass panes that always want to jump out when I change a bulb! and they have those teeny tiny screws holding everything together!

    Speaking of which, I believe that all ladies’ slacks should come with pockets!!!

  6. Erin Belmore says:

    It looks perfect in your home. I love how the lighting create a good ambiance in the outdoor area of the house. I’m sure this sure look great at night. Thanks for sharing this idea for the exterior part of the house. I love it.

  7. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    I love your new outside lights. Those are exactly what I am dreaming of for my house! I have the bronze windows and plan to change (paint) my shutters a soft black or bronze so I don’t have so many colors. I prefer simple.
    I seem to be having trouble getting the link to work. It might be me?

  8. Deb Brennan says:

    Great lights…it would be really nice if you could do some giveaways that apply to your Canadian readers…any chance?

  9. Those exterior lighting are perfect for your new home on the lake. Lovely and I am loving the doors you are thinking of adding in the future. I can’t wait.

  10. Sue Bauman says:

    Great details on your fan painting tutorial! I wonder if the former owners of your new home read your blog and look to see how you are updating their previous home?!

  11. Deb Brown says:

    I love the lights! I enjoy all of your posts! You have very practical and common sense ideas, which I very much appreciate!

  12. Heather Anne says:

    Those are lovely! I love you idea for the doors as well. We really love our Ashworth Door – the sidelights open and let in wonderful breezes. We are looking at our 1940’s outdoor fixtures and thinking about how to change them out!

  13. Would love to see the entire front of the house Diane. Those 4 doors will look awesome. Love the lights you chose.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carla – I just added the photo to the post of the front of the house. I can’t wait until we can add the new doors. Happy weekend.

      1. Thanks Diane. What fun to have a house that is so different in the front and the back.

  14. Lou Clifton says:

    I love the simple look of the lights
    I also have lights that have an open bottom and that is where the wasp built a nest each summer. After getting attacked by the bees they won and on the long list of updated to do in the fiture.