Sometimes in the evening when we are out walking our dog, we’ll circle back on a path that leads us to our front door. Last fall we swapped out the carriage lights at our front door and added a post light on the curving walk that leads to the entrance from the driveway. It’s funny what a change those new lights make to the curb appeal. They are a bit larger than the old ones. Less like an afterthought and more like a gentle beacon.

It all sounds pretty grand. I assure you our 1950 house is anything but! Built post-war in a neighborhood with hundreds of little baby boomers, the houses have stood the test of families moving in & out, kids, dogs, remodels, and the beginning of the digital age.

I chose a new lantern style that looks like aged copper. The trees that were probably saplings in 1950 are now mature and give the neighborhood a little shelter and shade. So, light at the front door isn’t just welcoming, it adds a bit of safety and comfort. And the post light on the walk is especially nice when coming to the front door from the driveway rather than up the front walk from the street. It was always a bit dark right there.

The rule of thumb on lighting the front door is: a single carriage light is 1/3 the height of the front door, and with 2 carriage lights 1/4 the height of the door is suggested. That single thing, getting the proportion right, makes a huge difference. Our old lights were smaller and looked out of style. And the size of the lights by the door dictate the size of the post light. The whole effect is one of balance and calm.

We decided on LED candle-style bulbs at 2700 Kelvin for their warm, incandescent looking light. And we added a dimmer switch, so we could make the light super soft. Now, when we round the corner with the dog at night, that first glimpse of lantern light at home is so welcoming. They light our way back.