Last Updated on November 2, 2012



The screen porch – that magical space that crosses the threshold between the great  outdoors and the comfort of your interior space.  It translates between languages, cultures, and geographical boundaries as a tranquil space that invites the serenity of nature while still protecting from the elements. And while once thought of as a luxury, it’s become something of a necessity for nearly every home.

Thinking of incorporating a screened porch into your existing structure? Great idea! But while you’re consider the layout of this fantastic new space, don’t forget to consider lighting. In such a ubiquitous space, your lighting should actually be a prominent priority and here are three reasons why:

Safety: Screened porches are a great way to enjoy evenings in three of the four seasons. However, as the sun sets, visibility hazards increase – especially for aging eyes. Thus, it’s critical to choose lighting that won’t interfere with your enjoyment of the twilight, but will simultaneously prevent tripping or other visibility dangers. Lighting should clearly indicate where vertical meets horizontal, as well as any walkway protrusions.

Also, incorporating appropriate outdoor lighting will allow you and your guests to move from the natural environment to your screened porch with ease, making the trip from a bonfire or a dock to your porch much less hazardous. Floodlights and motion-activated lights can be particularly beneficial in such circumstances.

Mood: Studies show that lighting clearly affects people. We are naturally drawn toward bright lights. For instance, we prefer to face walls that are appropriately illuminated. In both your patio space and the surrounding outdoor space, opt for wall sconces that provide evenly distributed light, as opposed to overhead lighting that illuminates only specific locations. Similarly, wall lighting offers soft, diffused luminescence that promotes relaxation and restfulness.

Efficiency: When choosing your lighting, don’t forget to consider the earth! Our lighting options today including many environmentally friendly alternatives. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, offer incredible energy savings that, in turn, prove less harmful to the environment.  According to Energy Star, if every American home replaces just one light bulb with an energy efficient light bulb, we would prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year – which is equivalent to the emissions generated by 800,000 cars!

By following these three simple guidelines for porch lighting, you can improve safety, enhance your existing opportunities for enjoyment, and get more usage out of your investment.  A screen porch should be a welcoming space – your lighting choices can make it so!


About The Author:  This piece was contributed Mike Mensler, of, a national industrial electrical supply company.