The first outdoor lighting was used by King Louis XIV when he installed lights along the boulevards in Paris in 1700. The next development in outdoor lighting was lamps that were lit with kerosene, oil and gas. Electricity began to be used at the end of the Victorian era. The style and function of the light must be considered when shopping for outdoor lighting.
The first consideration of the outside lights is the style of the house. If the house is in the Federal style, then a primitive style of lighting like a lantern will be the best choice. The original materials of these lights were iron and tin. If the house is Victorian, then outdoor light in this style would work. The lights in this period were made in brass, nickle-plated brass, and in iron and were hung from chains or mounted on a wall. If the house is in the Arts and Crafts style or Art Nouveau style, then the exterior lights will be geometric and have straight lines. If the house is modern, then the exterior fixtures can be more contemporary.
The purpose of the exterior lighting should be considered as well. Lighting that is used as security should be bright and perhaps have a motion sensor. Security lighting comes in many forms, from those that resemble the lights along highways to rectangular ones lit by halogen bulbs. These lighting fixtures can be solar, or fit with light sensors so that they go on automatically when the natural light fails. If the exterior lighting is meant to be more of a decoration, or to supplement the atmosphere of a party held outdoors, then fun lighting such as ripe lighting, hanging paper lanterns or solar ones can be used.
Bulb technology has advanced ro include lights that are no longer as
energy-wasteful as incandescent light bulbs. Long lasting LEDs provide a strong light for outdoor lighting. Halogen light bulbs also provide more than adequate light levels as well as, like LEDs, provide long service. Exterior lights that are supplemented by solar work well as exterior
light - especially if tied with motion sensors. If the intent is to just outline a walkway, garden path or driveway, then solar lanterns that can be driven into the ground on stakes fulfil this purpose.