There’s hardly a home without a porch without a light. Porches are not just for design and beauty but also serve to be utilized in many ways. The most important is that porches act as sufficient space for a person to comfortably pause before entering or exiting a building, or as a good relaxation spot crossing between indoors and outdoors.
Also, porches can serve as an extra layer of defense against intruders in a case of burglary as regards security issues. In all, porches are very important in a home or any other building.
Now, Porches are somewhat incomplete without adequate lighting for them. More so, porch lights just don’t serve to illuminate the porch but are also symbolic, with different colors representing different things. This article will walk you through the significance of the various types of porch lighting and how they can apply to your case.
What is a Porch Light?
Expectedly, porch lights are the lights placed to illuminate the porches of a building. Its illumination performs its function mostly at night to make it easy for people indoors to easily see who’s approaching their building and for the people outdoors to see their surroundings as they approach and as well the door so they can unlock it easily.
Apart from their illuminating function, porch lights are also symbolic with their colors, passing messages across in subtle ways.
Size of a Front Porch Light
As a general rule of thumb, porch lights should be 1/4 to 1/3 the height of the front door so the ideal size depends on the size of the building. Also, the ideal porch light is usually between 65 and 67 inches above the ground or porch floor and with individual fixtures mounted 8-10 feet apart.
Following this recommendation, it’s likely that your porch lights will be of a very suitable size to perform their function.
Acting symbolic, different colors of porch lights represent different meanings. Let’s find out what some of these meanings are.
What Does a Blue Porch Light Mean?
A blue porch light usually symbolizes respect and homage to police officers and their families, therefore it’s common in homes with residents somewhat related to police and law enforcement or just people paying respect to what they hold in high regard. You may have sometimes noticed blue porch lights in your neighborhood and wondered what it represents but you now know.
The blue-light police tradition emanates from a case back in 1986 when a police officer in Philadelphia was killed when probing a vandalism report and then his mother-in-law placed two blue candles in her window. A few years later, she then formally developed the idea into Project Blue Light to encourage people to use blue lights to show support for officers and the rest is history.
Also, blue porch lights can represent a safe space or safe house, that is if one feels threatened or in danger or for whatever reason is fleeing and looking for a temporary safe space that could be one.
Lastly, blue light may represent support for autism-related causes as part of the “ Light It Up Blue” campaign by the Autism Speaks organization. This especially relates to April which is celebrated as Autism Acceptance Month, a campaign that emanated from the National Autistic Children’s Week in America.
Apart from its symbolic representations, blue lights seem like a very calm and relaxing color that many people would want to have on their porches.
What Does a Green Porch Light Mean?
A green porch light usually symbolizes support for American military veterans in honor of Veterans Day in November. While the official Veterans Day is on the 11th of November, it’s not uncommon to see porches lit up green throughout November to show support for veterans as some people believe lighting up for one day isn’t enough.
Another symbolism of the green porch light is to celebrate the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day in March. St. Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural celebration held on the 17th of March to mark the anniversary of the death of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Though it originated in Ireland, this celebration has spread globally including in the US where it’s now heavily celebrated. Green is the official color of St. Patrick’s Day so it’s not uncommon to see people lighting up their porches green in March.
Another thing the green porch light can represent is support for causes against Lyme Disease, the most common vector-borne disease in the United States that’s transmitted to humans via infected ticks. This is most common in May which is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and on the 12th of May World Lyme Disease Day. Lime green is the official color to show support for Lyme Disease Awareness Month so it’s not uncommon to see people in May lighting up their porches green to show their support.
What Does a Red Porch Light Mean?
A red porch light usually symbolizes support for the American Heart Association and its work against heart diseases, the leading cause of death in many countries worldwide and especially in the US. With the heart known for blood and its red color, it’s not surprising that the color is the official one for the American Heart Association which organizes awareness campaigns against heart issues around the country.
Therefore, when you see a red porch light, it could be that the homeowner is paying homage to the Heart Awareness Month of February, the month that coincidentally also has Saint Valentine’s Day where the light red color is used as a symbol to represent love. The red porch light can also symbolize Valentine’s and the color of love in February or maybe simultaneously for Valentine’s and Heart Awareness Month.
Another notable symbolism of the red porch light is for Halloween in October. Halloween is a celebration observed in many countries on the 31st of October celebrating a feast of Western Christian origins to honor the dead and departed. It’s been adapted to current Western culture and thus is celebrated by many people that sometimes use red lights to show their support for it.
There have been rumors that red porch lights usually represent brothels or support for gun control about American laws but that’s been proven not to be true.
What Does a Purple Porch Light Mean?
A purple porch light usually symbolizes support for causes against domestic violence. The tradition emanates from a 2007 campaign run by the Domestic Violence Task Force in Washington DC that encouraged people to turn on their purple lights during October to raise awareness and support for victims of domestic violence.
- Domestic violence is a pressing issue for many of both genders. It’s estimated (by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced a form of physical violence from an intimate partner. With these stats, raising awareness against the issue in any way no matter how little may help.
One thing to note is that purple is a high-energy light in the color spectrum and therefore uses up more energy to emit compared to other colors of light, so if you light up your porch purple you can expect greater energy use from your bulbs than when you use other colors.
It’s mostly in October when you’ll notice people using the symbolism of purple lights usually lit up all night to show support for domestic violence issues.
What Does a Yellow Porch Light Mean?
A yellow porch light is usually used for practical rather than symbolic reasons. The most practical is for driving away insects because they don’t see yellow light as clearly as blue and thus yellow-colored lights are difficult for them to find. For this reason, people use yellow lights on their porches to avoid insects taking up space here and causing a nuisance.
With a yellow light, you’re bound to have fewer insects clogging up your porch especially when it’s an LED-type light. Sometimes, it even works better to drive away insects than purpose-made “bug lights” usually sold at higher prices.
As to symbolism, there’s hardly any symbol that the yellow light is used to represent. It’s mostly for the practical reason of driving away insects and also a strong source of illumination for a building’s porch.
What Does A Blinking Light Mean?
Blinking porch light with different colors usually represents something serious – an emergency signal. In emergency cases where help is needed, blinking porch lights are usually used to help emergency personnel such as firefighters, paramedics, or police officers to find the scene of concern. This is usually the primary symbol of a blinking porch light.
It’s known that emergency lights are usually blinking lights of several colors so it’s not surprising that this is the symbol adopted to signal emergencies at homes and buildings. Wherever you see a blinking light and especially in a neighborhood that you’re familiar with, you might rush to find out what’s wrong and offer to help when needed.
But sometimes, blinking lights could be caused by electrical faults with the bulb especially when it’s blinking with a static color. Bulbs usually blink when they have certain electrical faults such as fluctuations in voltage and fluctuating loads due to overload from the use of powerful electrical equipment, and this can be a common signal to know when there are electrical problems in a home.
What Does Leaving the Porch Light On Mean?
Leaving the porch light on signifies that the residents of a building are indoors and outsiders should be aware. It’s a form of protection that keeps intruders away and also serve as illumination when trying to find keys and unlock doors faster.
There are several other reasons to leave the porch light on, including when you’re expecting to receive a package or parcel and thus want adequate lighting for the courier to do his/her job well.
The Psychology of Color Temperature
There exists a psychology of color temperature such that the warmness or coolness of light sources influences people psychologically, quite cool stuff. Apart from symbolism, this is another reason why color is of utmost importance when it comes to lighting.
In the psychology of color temperature, some colors influence people to feel warm while some influence them to feel cool. On the warm side includes red, yellow, and orange while on the cool side blues and greens. The scale of warmth or coolness for this purpose is based on the correlated color temperature (CCT) that’s measured in Kelvins and relies on the theory of the relationship between the temperature of objects and the color of light they emit.
For this purpose, we can take into account the temperature that certain colors of light emitted when we choose to buy and use them.
When Do You Need To Switch On The Porch Lights?
It’s not every time that you’re meant to use your porch lights – there are certain reasons and times and that and they include;
- At Night
This is the first and foremost consideration as to when to switch on your porch lights. At night, a porch light serves its purpose in full, both for illumination of the environment and as symbolism for certain causes. Turning on your porch lights at night signals to people outdoors that you’re indoors and thus should take note.
At night, turning on your porch lights is also very helpful if you’re still expecting more people to come in and thus give them a welcoming signal.
- When Kids Are Alone At Home
When children are alone at home, it’s another important time to turn on your porch lights be it at night or in the morning. This symbol recognizes that kids may be alone at home and thus bring awareness to people in the environment. Remember, people love kids and would watch over them whenever they’re perceived vulnerable so this is an ideal way to make people aware of that.
- If You’re Expecting a Package
When you’re expecting a package to be delivered to your home, it’s ideal to keep the porch lights on to provide extra light to help a delivery person find your home, be it at night or in the daytime. A porch light that’s switched on can also serve as a reminder to look for your package when it’s due at times when you arrive at your home but get carried away by other thoughts and just directly walk inside.
When to Switch Off Porch Light
Just like there are times to keep your porch lights on, there are also times when they’re meant to be kept off. Such times include;
- When You’re On Vacation
When you’re on a vacation away from your home, it’s advised to keep your porch light off for several reasons. Firstly, this gives your surrounding neighbors the indication that you’re away from home and likely inclines them to keep watch of your property like you’ll do for theirs when they’re away. Also, saving energy costs when you’re away is another good reason to keep your porch lights off.
- While Going to Bed
At the time of going to bed at night after you’re sure all expected residents of your home have arrived, you can switch off your porch lights for a good night’s rest. You don’t have to leave your light on all night for security reasons as for this purpose you can buy lights that support infrared sensors and turn on automatically when motion is detected.
- Rural Areas
In rural areas, it’s not ideal to leave your lights on when you are not outside. There are several reasons for this including security so that potential intruders, be it humans or wildlife, find it difficult to navigate your property. Turning the porch lights off also help to deter pests which are more common in rural areas.
Benefits of Porch Light
The various benefits of porch lights include;
- Illumination and beautification of the environment – it both serves the function of providing adequate light for the environment as well as highlights and adds appeal to landscape or architectural features
- Helps in securing properties – deterring burglars with the indication that a property is occupied
- Provides increased safety after dark – lighting up the external environment helps passers-by feel safer and navigate more easily.
- Enables easy navigation for people coming to visit you and also for needed personnel in the case of emergencies
- Symbolizes a warm welcome for visitors – porch lights can serve as a symbol of hospitality to welcome your visitors in high graces
How Does Porch Light Effects Mood?
Various colors of porch light can affect the mood of individuals; remember the psychological influence talked about earlier. In this case, the mood effects include;
- White Light
Represents and symbolizes the feeling of clarity, peace, or purity. In other words, it creates an atmosphere of innocence and cleanliness around a home that’s attractive at large. White is associated with positivity and good stuff so this can be a good thing to signal with your porch lights.
- Blue Light
According to color psychology, blue light is associated with trustworthiness and reliability and symbolizes a calm and relaxing tone. This is thereby its accepted effect on the psychological mood of humans.
- Pink Light
In color psychology, pink light is associated with love and romance, youth, playfulness, good health, and stuff like that. It has also long been associated with femininity, making it an ideal way to symbolize these feelings.
- Yellow Light
Yellow light is associated with sunlight and warmth, optimism and happiness, or similar moods.
Green is associated with hope in color psychology, and hope in troubled times, or times of despair. It can also symbolize positive dreams for the future which is a good thing to have.
- Red Light
Red light symbolizes action, confidence, and courage in some cases, and in other cases energy and love. The actual symbolization mostly depends on the shades ranging from light red (love) to dark red (power and courage).
Tips to Buy Porch Light
There are certain tips to take into account when buying a porch light. They include;
1. Pick the right size
If you pick the wrong size of porch lights for your home, you likely won’t appreciate the results. It can look untidy or out of place when the right size isn’t picked so you must adhere to this.
2. Energy Consumption
Various types of porch lights need different amounts of electrical energy to function and this electrical energy is usually paid for. For example, LED lights use much less energy than fluorescent lights so therefore if energy costs are a concern for you, you’ll be advised to buy LED lights. Even if cost is not much of a concern to you, some people are conscious about not wasting electrical energy with the goal of sustainability in mind.
Of course, price is a consideration of utmost importance when buying anything and different porch lights come in different price ranges. It’s very important to pick the one that lines with your budget.
4. Environment and Weather
If you live in a place where the weather is moist and sees much rain, it’ll be ideal to buy the type of outdoor light adapted for that environment rather than the ones adapted for dry environments and not capable of handling moisture. This matters a lot especially when your porch is exposed directly to rain and moisture.
Porchlight Color Rumors
Like everywhere, rumors have abounded that certain colors of porch lights represent certain things that they are not known for, and like most rumors, they’re not true. These common rumors include that;
Red light symbolizes support for gun reform: It’s been rumored that people in the US use red lights as a symbol to show their support for gun reform laws in the country, but this isn’t exactly true when you check the majority. It could be that some minority population of gun reform supporters chose to adopt red light to symbolize what they’re pushing for but as far as we know this symbolism hasn’t made its way into the mainstream.
Red light symbolizes having drugs or a brothel: This is another rumor that’s brewed widely but checking the stats as regards the majority, it doesn’t appear to have much standing.
Greenlight symbolizes pro-cannabis legislation: Of the many rumors, this looks like the one with the most probability to be true but that doesn’t still make it true. Remember that the green color symbolizes hope and peace and then cannabis is even known to have a green color. Thereby, it won’t be surprising that proponents of pro-cannabis legislation may have decided to adopt the green light as a symbol of support.
What does a purple streetlight mean?
This implies defectiveness with a traffic light that causes it to give off a purple light that’s a single component of the traffic light fixture rather than the mixture of components as a whole that give the usual Red, Yellow, and Green lights.
What light color keeps bugs away?
Yellow light, because they are hard for insects to see.
What light color attracts bugs?
Blue light, because they’re very easy for bugs to spot.
I hope that this article has provided detailed and much-needed information regarding porch lights for you and the tips to help you get the one that best suits you. Thank you.