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The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Interior Design and Exterior Lighting Share the Same Language

Typically when the sun sets our windows become inky black voids. Landscape lighting isn't just great for our time spend outside. In this post, we discuss how Landscape lighting can also transform our dark windows into beautiful living portraits and heighten our indoor living. 

The importance of windows to an interior space can't be understated. They let in sunlight and can transform a living space in stunning ways. 

As an interior designer, you know that windows do so much for a space. They bring natural light in and provide a view. Windows create continuity between our indoor and outdoor spaces.

Windows also keep us connected to our outdoor sanctuaries by filling our peripheries with something beautiful to enjoy. Glancing out the window at an exquisite landscape provides us with a greater sense of space and connection to our home's exterior beauty. Indoor and outdoor living spaces should flow naturally the same way rooms within the interior space do.

Frank Lloyd Wright, was a huge proponent of indoor and outdoor spaces blending in and out of one another and provides us with so many stunning examples. 

Indoor and outdoor spaces should be integrated and visually flow one into the other. Even if we don't spend as much time outside as we'd like, having a view is still important. This is especially true at night when everything outside becomes consumed by darkness.

The Black Hole

At night, our view outside is obscured by a blanket of darkness. I'm not trying to make night time sound overly morose, but it is true that night time can greatly hamper our relationship with our exterior spaces.

Landscape lighting has the benefit of connecting interior and exterior spaces by reducing the black hole effect we often see occur with windows at night.


When a landscape doesn't have any lighting, it will make windows appear from the interior as dark planes. Illuminating objects in the landscape, even if its only a few key elements, allows the eye to move past that black plane of glass. Layering our outdoor lighting throughout the landscape can actually enlarge our perception of our interior space.

Layering with Light Beyond Four Walls

An interior lighting scheme calls for different kinds of lighting for different times of day. A good lighting plan will use layers of light with different qualities (different kelvin temperatures and lumen outputs) to create the right atmosphere.

Exterior landscape lighting allows us to carry these layers even further by reaching out beyond a room's four walls. Instead of the windows framing a dark black void, we can look at the softly cast shadows and dappled leaves from a stunning tree.

Up-lighting a tree's canopy provides an exterior layer when viewed from our interior space. With deciduous trees, the lighting effect changes throughout the year, adding an interesting layer and further connecting interior and exterior.

Richard Kelly, one of the most celebrated architectural lighting designers of the 20th century, was adamant about how the modern home is only conceptually complete once the landscape outside could be visually felt inside.

Casting light throughout the outdoor periphery was essential to all his domestic projects. In many of his designs, especially with smaller homes, the trees outside the windows are the most emphatic sculptural presence felt inside the home.

In order to satiate the interior viewing habits homeowners were accustomed to enjoying during the day, Kelly reconnected them to the landscape. He lifted away the blanket of dark and reinvigorated people's sense of space that night had stolen.


Outdoor Lighting Creates Privacy

Outdoor lighting is experienced from inside the home 90% of the time. Illuminating the trees and vegetation in the landscape lends depth to our home's composition and creates a sense that our windows are part of a larger order and are not the bounding edge. 

When the perimeter of the landscape is lit, it actually helps enhance our personal sense of privacy by lending us greater visual control over our surroundings. Being able to glance out the window and see that nothing is out of place is comforting, whether we consciously are thinking about it or not. 

Closing Thoughts:

Establishing visual territories in our landscape, whether they be focused on lighting outdoor living areas, or providing visual control throughout the landscape, can be all the order we need. 

When we extend the reach of our indoor living out into the landscape with lighting, we visually claim that space and make our interior living part of a larger order. 

It doesn't matter if we are indoors or out, we want our spaces to relate and flow in and out of each other with ease.  If we are in a dinning room overlooking the patio, that view ought to draw us outside, even if its only drawing our eyes. Our outdoor space should fill our peripheries with something enticing. On a charming summer night our exterior lighting helps us feel that pull to spend more time outside. 

Outdoor lighting can make our interior space feel more comfortable. Transforming a dark window into a beautiful view can be as simple as adding the right light. 

Landscape Lighting Makes All the Difference

At Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah, the art of outdoor illumination is a real passion we work to perfect. Designing elegantly bespoke landscape lighting systems is simply all we do. For over 15 years, our award winning team of designers and craftsmen have striven to bring the best outdoor lighting experience possible to people’s homes and businesses across the Wasatch front and beyond.

If you have an upcoming project you’d like help with, call us at (801)440-7647 for more information, schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form on our website, www.utahlights.com

Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah installs, maintains, and repairs lighting systems throughout Utah's residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper, Davis & Utah Counties.


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