4 Common Mistakes When Installing Soffit Lighting

We all want our home to look modern and inviting. One way is to add soffit lighting to light the exterior of your home.  It looks great and adds additional security lighting too! 

Soffit lighting adds a dramatic accent to your home, especially during the evening as long as it is done properly. Otherwise, you can end up with a tacky or overbearing appearance.

In this post, we have summarized some of the dos and don’ts when installing soffit lighting for your home.

Common Mistakes When Installing Soffit Lighting

Soffit lighting outlines your home’s footprint. However, you need to find balance when adding your soffit lights to enhance your home’s look and make sure they fit its environment. To get the best results, avoid the following:

1. Using soffit lights that are too bright

When installing soffit lights for enhancement, we want to achieve soft and toned light levels. Many soffit lights are too bright, causing glare and a harsh look. Fortunately, it’s easy to find LED bulbs with a variety of light output so you can find exactly the look that you need, depending on the placement of the lights, distance from the side of the house, and the angle of illumination.

2. The spaceship effect

Source: http://www.utahlights.com/blog/how-to-enhance-recessed-soffit-lighting-with-led-up-lighting

Have you ever seen a home lit with soffit lights that looks like an alien spaceship about to liftoff? It sounds funny but is actually quite a common mistake among homeowners.

Soffit lights that are too bright and installed along the roofline can make your house look like an object floating in space and is not appealing. If you don’t like a house that resembles a spaceship during nighttime, then you should consider combining other lighting styles to counterbalance this spaceship effect.

Having only downward facing lights can give this appearance if they are too bright or if you have too many of them.  Accent lighting around the base of your home can make it look more natural too.

3. The floating island effect

Source: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/175429347963429466/

Soffit lights that are installed along the roofline of the house without considering the landscape can make your home look like a floating island of lights in the midst of a dark ocean at night. The landscape around your house should not be neglected when installing exterior lights to achieve balance and dramatic effects.

4. The dark island effect

If you’re only concerned about lighting up your landscape and don’t care about illuminating your house, then your home could look empty and weird at night. Or, more like a dark island with no one inside. Aside from aesthetic reasons, installing soffit lights on your home can also help increase security, especially from burglars during nighttime.

What to Do Instead

Soffit lights helps provide additional security to your home as well as enhance its curb appeal. To avoid the mistakes mentioned above, we’ve summarized the best ways to install soffit lighting on the exterior of your home:

Choose the lights carefully

The selection of the lights that you use is a critical choice for the final look of your home.  You can pick a neutral color that blends in with your eaves so that you don’t even notice the lights during daylight.  Or, go with more contrast using a black or brown that will stand out and look great any time of the day.

It’s also a good idea to find lights that 1) make installation easy and 2) let you adjust the direction of the lighting and where most of the light hits the side of your house.

See our DIY LED soffit light installation to see just how easy it is. There are lights that come in a variety of colors, have a junction box built into the fixture, and let you adjust the angle of the lighting too.

Choose the bulbs carefully

First off, it is important to choose the right bulbs when installing your exterior soffit lights, whether it’s for your landscape or for security. LED soffit lights are quite common not only because of their aesthetic quality but also of their efficiency. Compared to other light bulbs, LED soffit lights allow you to save energy up to 90 percent, making it beneficial both to the environment and to your pocket.

As we mentioned before, you can get a variety of brightness levels and angles of illumination when purchasing your lights.  

For a taller home, narrow lights that cast light farther can be required to illuminate more of the wall.  For a single story, a wider light often looks better, depending on the height of your landscaping.

Architectural up lighting

Source: http://www.exclusivefloraldesigns.com/1538290602/tld/7d936069b824e80d/

Light designers often suggest that your home should also be lit from the ground up to achieve a soft and balanced light levels. When installing soffit lights, you should consider combining it with up lighting to achieve balance and foundation that anchors your home to the ground. This will prevent the floating effect of your house when viewed at night.

But, be cognizant of light pollution, which can ruin stargazing opportunities for your neighbors and affect nocturnal animals that use moon and star light to navigate.

Incorporate architectural up lighting with landscape lighting

As mentioned above, lighting the landscape alone or the house roofline alone can have undesirable effects. You don’t want your home to look eerie or an island of lights floating during night time. To achieve balance and dramatic effect, consider using architectural up lighting and landscape lighting. In the end, you’re not only adding security to your property but also enhancing your home’s curb appeal during the night.

Wrapping it up

Soffit lighting is an easy yet affordable solution to enhance your home’s natural beauty at the same time you add security during night time. However, without finding the right balance, soffit lights can have undesirable effects. Poor lighting design can produce glaring and floating effect which is not appealing. 

Planning to install soffit lighting to your home and landscape? We hope you find this post helpful. For convenience and security, you can also consider  adding motion sensors with your existing lights as another alternative.

Leave a comment below to let us know how it turned out when you’re done!


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