How Big Should Exterior Garage Lights Be?

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Many factors influence your curb appeal, and exterior garage lights are one of them. Choosing the appropriate outer lighting for your garage is important if you don’t want to go too big or small. So, how big should garage lights be on the outside?

Keeping your light fixture between 1/3 to 1/4 of your garage door’s height is best. Measurements are vital because your lighting will look about ½ its size from the street. Also, a good size exterior garage light won’t remove the focus from the entryway

This article considers whether exterior lights must match and how big exterior garage lights should be. I also delve into things you should know before choosing garage lights

Do All Exterior Lights Need to Match?


Your home’s style doesn’t have to shine only on the inside. The outdoor décor can display your style even before someone enters your home.

Exterior lighting like patio, garage, and backyard lights should highlight and mimic the surrounding nature, and nature’s definitely not monotonous.

It’s better to mix lighting fixtures than to buy matching ones. You can match light pairs for uniformity without making them the same as other exterior light fixtures.

Here are some tips for combining exterior lights:

Create a focal point

A focal point is a position for your eyes to rest and appreciate the area’s visual design. Create one, and make sure that other fixtures in the space don’t distract from it—for example, a chandelier in your entryway.

Match one trait

This will certainly keep you from going overboard in your excitement, and it gives your features a cohesive look. The common trait might be a color, finish, style, or glass type.

Consider your house color

Your exterior lights should match your home’s color, especially if you placed features on the same side of the house. For example, a blue patio should have light fixtures in similar hues.

Be mindful of the location and scale

Having the same-size fixtures provides style without reducing curb appeal. Most exterior lights look best when they are proportional to the door sizes around them.

How Big Should Exterior Garage Lights Be?

Exterior garage lights help you reach your front door in one piece and can make your home stand out at night. Placing lights around your garage can completely transform your home’s look, improve safety, and light up nearby paths.

Homeowners commonly get lights that are either too big or small. Fixtures that look enormous in the store may end up being too small after you install them at home. So, you need a reasonable estimate of how big your exterior garage light should be for the best fit.

When buying an outside garage light, a standard rule is to measure one-third to one-fourth of your garage door’s height and use that for size. First, measure the overall size of the garage door with a tape measure—top to bottom.

You can multiply the width of your garage door by certain figures to calculate the specific fixture size for your home. For example, for a single door, multiply the width by 0.25 and for a double door, multiply by 0.33. In addition, many fixtures include an estimated beam width you can use to double-check your calculations.

The height and brightness of your exterior garage lights are also important things you should consider.

Here are descriptions of these features:


The consensus for light height is to place it above eye level, with the light’s center being between 66 inches to 72 inches. Meeting low lights after your eyes have adjusted to the dark will leave you in a daze.

On the flip side, the distance may swallow up lights higher than 72 inches. Lights set at eye level may stun you once you alight from your car.


In recent times, the measurement of light brightness has moved from wattage to lumens. This is because LED bulbs have become more common than incandescent bulbs. The wattage or lumens you need for outside lights depends on how far you want the light to reach.

The number of lights in the area also contributes to the brightness level you settle on. For example, 400 lumens will be adequate for an exterior garage light if you also have a front porch light.

If you want two exterior garage lights, you can use two 220 lumen bulbs—one on each side. Long garages with pendant lighting can have higher lumens to cover a wider area (like 400 lumens for each bulb).

Keeping your other light sources in mind is essential to avoid going overboard. For example, will you have inside lights coming through the windows or pathway lights?

Remember to check your local light pollution policies and maintain good light courtesy. Ensuring your lights don’t point into any neighbor’s window is a courteous thing to do.

Where to place your exterior garage lights

Exterior garage lights can go above the garage door or beside it. Positioning these lights correctly can create a more sophisticated look for your home and improve the lights’ function.

Consider some of the positions below:

Above the garage door

Gooseneck lights above the garage doors are a current trend. Lights in this location will illuminate the entire garage area, shining down as well as outwards. A typical garage door is about 8 feet wide and often has a shade.

The shade directs the light, so be mindful of it. A 20-inch shade spanning the garage area may require two lights. I recommend mounting the lights 1/4 to 1/5 the width of the door’s entry.

It would be best to center the lights about six inches above the garage door or trim or at half the door’s width. A central light fixture should be enough to illuminate the width of your entire driveway.

Besides the garage door

The goal of placing the lights in this location is to make a statement without upstaging the entryway lights. Install the lights at 1/3 to 1/4 the height of your garage door.

Knowing the correct size of exterior garage lights will make your selection easier. If you want a complete visual to determine the dimensions, you can use a cut-out place holder.

What Should You Know Before Choosing Garage Lights?

Buying and installing garage lights doesn’t have to be cumbersome. With the proper knowledge, you can make good choices without wasting time.

Here are other things to know before selecting garage lights:

  • The Underwriter Laboratories (UL) fixture rating you need: It could be wet, damp, or dry.
  • The number of lights you need: This depends on your garage size and door number.
  • The lighting style that fits your home: Contemporary homes with flush sconces, coastal-style houses with bulkhead lights, French country houses with wall-mounted lanterns.
  • Exterior lights with unique features: Examples are LED dimmable lights, bug-repellent lights, lights with timers, dark sky-compliant lights, dusk-to-dawn lights, solar-powered lights, etc.
  • Additional security: Spotlights or floodlights provide extra protection besides illuminating the area.

Garage lights are essential for increasing your driveway’s visibility, ensuring your family’s safety. These lights also reduce blind spots, deterring burglars from breaking in. With the information in this article, you can buy the best exterior garage lights for your home.

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