Aside from size, the height of the fixture is a vital issue. Outdoor entrance lights, as a general rule, should be placed at eye level. More exactly, the light source's center should be 5.5 to 6.0 feet off the ground. Fixtures should be spaced 8–10 feet apart. Entryway lamps should be located about 2 feet inside an entryway door. This will help prevent accidents by illuminating those areas of walkways, driveways, and parking lots that may not be readily seen in low-light conditions.
The location of your outdoor light fixture has a lot to do with how it functions and looks. If you want your light to provide even lighting on your driveway or sidewalk, for example, then it makes sense to place it at the midpoint between the ends of these surfaces. This way, when you turn on your light, it will shine directly on what you need it to. You can also choose to have one light position itself above the driveway while another lights the side of the house. There are many options available when it comes to placing your lights, so use your imagination and play around with different configurations until you find something that works for you.
Another consideration is security. If you want to protect your property and others who may not appreciate art installations, such as graffiti artists, then you'll need to mount your light fixture above the entranceway door at a height where they won't be able to reach.
Outdoor sconces and wall lights should be positioned such that the center point is 66 to 72 inches above the floor in most front door and entry settings. You can crank the lights up somewhat for really tall rooms, but going beyond 72 inches is typically not suggested. Outdoor ceiling lights should be hung so that they are just below the peak of a roof. They should be aimed toward the middle of the room to provide even lighting.
In general, indoor-outdoor lamps should be used in areas where people normally sit or stand, such as hallways and living rooms. These lamps should be located between 24 and 48 inches from the floor. Floor lamps should be placed about 12 inches off the ground.
Lamps should be placed no more than 36 inches apart in order to provide adequate light. If you want to create a more romantic atmosphere, put your lamps closer together.
You should also place lamps within reach of all parts of the house. This will help prevent unnecessary energy consumption if someone chooses to leave a lamp on while they're gone.
Finally, consider how you will control the flow of electricity to each lamp. Most lamps have switches or dials that allow you to adjust the amount of power that flows to them. It's important to use these controls when you aren't needing much light, so that they don't drain your batteries too quickly.
If you want to illuminate a full wall or highlight certain architectural elements or works of art, set your recessed light fixtures between 1.5 and 3 feet from the wall. If you have permanent fixtures, they should be positioned closer to the wall. You should be able to see both the ceiling and floor when looking at your light fixture from directly in front of it.
The further back the socket is from the wall, the more light it will give out into its surroundings. But that also means that an unattended socket could easily be confused with a light bulb, which would likely result in damage to yourself or your property if you're working without the proper tools. So whenever possible, try to position your sockets close to the wall.
If you need more light than what a single socket can provide, then you should look at using a lighting kit. A kit consists of one or more additional-output sockets that connect to the same breaker as the original socket. This allows you to add more light energy to the circuit, increasing the overall brightness throughout the room. Of course, you'll need to make sure you don't exceed the current capacity of your circuit before adding more sockets; contact an electrician if you aren't sure how many watts each of your existing fixtures are consuming.
Finally, keep in mind that the farther away the socket is from the wall, the lower its effective illumination will be.
Allow 7 feet of space between the bottom of the fixture and the floor. If your ceiling is 8 feet high, consider a low-profile flushmount to meet the clearance and overall lighting needs of the space. Hang chandeliers or pendants at least 6 inches higher above the entrance in an open foyer or hallway. These provide needed light while not blocking view through the doorways they adorn.
The National Electrical Code requires that all rooms within a house be illuminated by not less than one general purpose light fitting with an output of 25 watts per square foot. This means that every room should have one light bulb that consumes no more than 25 watts even if it is not being used at full strength.
A common mistake is to use too many lights. In fact, you should only use about 30 percent more light than the recommended amount. So if your house has one general purpose light fitting with an output of 100 watts, then your dining room should have two 50-watt light bulbs instead of one 100-watt lamp. The extra light from the second lamp will not only make reading at the dinner table easier, it also won't cause any additional electricity bills.
Another common mistake is to use special function lights instead of standard light bulbs. For example, if your kitchen has a drawer-mounted light fixture, there's no reason to buy a specialty pull-chain light cord for this task.