How Far From Door Should Porch Light Be

How Far From Door Should a Porch Light Be?

Designing a porch can get quite tricky, especially if you’re not sure how it should ideally turn out. Lighting is crucial for a porch considering it’s where people usually pass through when entering your house. The question now is how far from the door should porch light be for it to be well lit.

Your porch light should be around 3 to 5 feet from your door. The distance will depend on factors such as the intensity of the light, the type of lighting used, and the design of your porch in general. Before anything else, we want to ensure that the lighting levels on your porch are sufficient.

Other factors that also determine the distance for the porch light would be the height of the ceiling and the types of finishes of your porch. Ideally, we want a light that illuminates just enough so that your entire porch is lit up but not too bright.

How Far From Door Should Porch Light Be

How Far from door should porch light be?

Lighting design boils down to two main factors, which are the purpose of the lighting and the amount of light you need. For porch lights, it’s best to with omnidirectional accent lighting (which goes in all directions) so that the immediate area of your door is well lit.

It’s essential to look at the relationship between light and distance. The inverse square law dictates that as light travels, its intensity is reduced based on the distance traveled. With that said, the inverse square law’s practical application in lighting design can help you calculate a specific lighting level at a particular spot.

“For example, if you want a well-lit approach to your porch, you must obtain a 50 lux level at a distance of around 5-6 feet from your door. This entails that you’ll need a strong enough light that’s capable of emitting this lux level to this distance from it.”

How much light does a porch need?

The recommended lux levels for a porch are anywhere between 75 to 150 lux. This lux requirement entails a lot of leeway in lighting design since the standard for this area in our homes is relatively low.

For context, recommended lux levels for rooms are based on the needed amount of light to execute activities properly within it. A higher lux level, 500 lux and up, is usually for rooms for intricate work (Ex. cooking, office work, drawing, etc.), while lower lux levels are in areas that with activities don’t need that much attention( Ex. hallways, stairs, porches)

If you’re curious about the lux levels currently in your home, there are phone apps that allow you to measure light. You can opt to do this so that you have a reference point to work with regarding the intensity of lighting you want for your porch.

We have a selection of articles on Porch lights, brightness location, color and more. We have highlighted some below but you can seach if you need more.

How Far From Door Should Porch Light Be

How to maximize light on a porch?

Aside from just the lighting, we also have to consider the other factors that affect it. Knowing how to make a light appear stronger gives us more leeway in where to place it and makes the lighting much more efficient for our purposes. Here are the factors that affect how light interacts with a space:

  • Finishes

Light reflects from objects and into our eyes; that’s how we see the world. This attribute of light(how it lights materials) is called illuminance. Now, if we want to maximize our lights, then we’re going to have to look for specific properties in our finishes which are the following:

  • Color

Brighter colors are easier to see, especially in contrast to night’s darkness. This is why office spaces tend to be light-colored to make objects much more visible. We have articles on lighting colors for porches here on the site.

  • Reflectivity

Light is absorbed when it hits an object; however, an object can reflect some of the light that it absorbs back into an area by diffusing it. Reflectivity can either come from the material itself or the finish you choose.

  • Light Design

The type of light you choose will also determine its effectivity in distributing light. There’s no one correct answer as technically, any light can work, but if we’re looking for efficiency, we want a light design that directly spreads light.

Each type of light will also come with specifications. We want to look at the lux level it provides to see if it would fit into our porch. Per the inverse square law, a larger luminance of light allows us to have it further away from a door if needed.

  • Porch Size

The inverse square law dictates that the intensity of light will reduce the further the distance. As such, bigger porches will require stronger lights if it needs to be lit up fully.

Using the tips above can help further the reach of your light or make objects require less light to be visible.  

These are the different considerations that are considered when designing with lights. You can get creative to mix and match these techniques if you meet the recommended lux levels.

  • Brightness.

A porch light should sit at approximately 400 lumens in terms of its brightness; you can go brighter, but much more means leaning more towards a floodlight, which is not ideal. Additionally, if 400 lumens is too bright for you, you can opt for a lesser brightness of 200 lumens. we have an article on how bright a porch light should be here on the site.

We have a selection of articles on Porch lights, brightness location, color and more lighting options. We have highlighted some below but you can search if you need more.


The distance of your porch light from your main door should be around 4 to 6 feet. It helps to know how your space interacts with light so that you can pick the best lighting type compatible with the rest of your porch’s design.

There is more than distance from the door that makes a great welcoming entrance to your home, and we have linked articles in to help you plan this.


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