Exterior Path and Spread Feature Lighting

You can choose from a variety of lamps to illuminate your exterior path. They range from the simple and functional to the exotic and lighthearted.

Even the basic center-mounted shade can come in a variety of shapes and looks. The shades of these lamps are mounted directly over the tops of the poles that support them. The light shines down evenly in a circle around the base of the pole. After that, their similarity to one another ends.

A simple shade is all you really need to do the trick. A "mushroom," and upside down bowl, or a short, broad cone. Even these come with variety. One shade will come in brushed copper and develop a pleasing verdigris over time. Another may come in brushed aluminum, painted black. Still another may come in brass or bronze. Any of these may feature vertical stripes to divide the shade into triangles, either flat or rounded. Or they may feature horizontal stripes, dividing the shade into concentric circles.

Then things start to get really fancy. The shades can start to look like flying saucers or bells. They can include tiers that let some of the light escape out the sides as the bulk of it is directed downwards. Or the light can escape through small piercings in a decorative, hammered shade. You can even get shades that look like leaves or tulips or birds of paradise.

Many of these same looks can be had in side-mounted versions. For these lamps, the shade does not perch atop the pole but attaches to it at the side. This makes it easier for the lamp to hang over the pathway it's supposed to be lighting.

Other lamps have poles that curve around or take a right angle turn so that the lamp actually hangs from a hook. A standard mission lamp can use this design to add a splash of color to the path. The same lamp can be given a tiffany design to add a more delicate, refined touch. Or the pole can end in a tulip shell, angled downward. Make the tulips out of porcelain, and the shell itself lights up with a magical beauty. For a more utilitarian look, the traditional marine lantern may be the way to go. A simple bell-shape atop a globe with a wire guard will accomplish this look.

And when you're done thinking about the shades, there's still the poles to consider. Most poles are simply slender and functional, perhaps artistically curved. But some poles are decorated with leafwork to look like ivy or cattailes or lotus. A lamp with tiffany style flower petals deserves to have an elegant, leafy pole as well. Some poles can even telescope, giving you added versatility and adaptability. Other lamps are supported by two poles, either curved for an elegant effect, or straight up and down to provide a gracefully sturdy look.

If none of that appeals, perhaps a pole built to look like a lighthouse will be what attracts you. Combine a few of these with the marine lanterns mentioned above for a nautical theme.

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