Choosing the Best Barn Lights for Your Modern Farmhouse

Barn lights add character to the outside of modern farmhouses and industrial style homes.  In this post, learn  everything you need to know about exactly what barn lights are, how to buy the right type of light fixture for your house and sources for over 25 of my favorite barn lights online.




Black barn light on gray house

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While the original plan was for siding to be put on my fixer upper in the fall, I was unexpectedly able to get it started much faster than anticipated.  That sent me on a mad rush of trying to figure out what new light fixtures I wanted to get to compliment the exterior.   The lights that are installed now are upward facing fixtures, so the electrical boxes need to be moved before the siding is installed so I needed to be firm about what I was picking so that they could be placed correctly.


Thankfully, it was already in my mind to go in the design direction of adding barn lights so that narrowed down my search.  (Although being the type of shopper I am, I still had to peruse through ALL of the outdoor lights from various online retailers just to be sure that I wasn't missing something I might love!)


Side note:  When shopping for things like light fixtures, rugs, or furniture, I love visiting all of my go-to sources online and saving what catches my eye to a secret board on Pinterest.  That allows me to later go back to see everything that's interested me in one place and easily return to the retailer to get a closer look and eventually buy something. 




Barn light on white exterior with black door




Thanks to the popularity of the modern farmhouse trend (and Joanna Gaines fixer-upper style), barn lights are popping up more and more both inside and outside of homes.  They have a classic, industrial look to them and look nice on a variety of houses.  I thought I'd share some things that I've discovered while searching for this style of fixture and I'm also linking below to some of the ones that were in the running for my house.


Leave me a comment at the end of this post about which one you think was the winner chosen for my fixer upper!




Outdoor sitting area with fireplace and barn light above door




WHAT IS A BARN LIGHT?



A barn light, also known as a gooseneck light,  is characterized by a downward facing metal shade  attached to the wall with a curved arm.  (The arm is thought to resemble a goose's long curved neck.)

There are also pendant versions with similar shades that hang from a long pole.





Barn lights on black barn
Source:  Ivory Home Design on Instagram




WHERE DO BARN LIGHTS GET THEIR NAME?



When homes first became equipped with electricity in the early 20th century, farmers would install this type of light fixture both outside and inside of their barns for light.  They served a utilitarian purpose, with the shades built to shield the light bulb from the elements outside or leaks inside the barn.  That being said, they were also commonly used in train stations, gas stations, and in factories.



Barn Lights outside Magnolia Market
SOURCE:  Liz Marie Blog




THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN PURCHASING AN OUTDOOR BARN LIGHT



Although authentic barn lights were originally very basic, consistent, and most commonly painted John Deere green, the fixtures available today are practically endless.  There are a few things you need to pay attention to in order to find the best gooseneck light fixture for your own home.



SIZE OF THE GOOSENECK ARCH

The metal arch connecting the shade of the fixture to the canopy on the wall varies greatly.  Some round way up into the air before coming back down, while others arch just to the top of the canopy.  And there are some with no arch at all and instead have a single pipe-like connection between the two pieces. 

If you have a low ceiling as I do on the back porch area, something with a high arch will not fit without hanging the light at a height that would be lower than natural.



DEPTH FROM THE WALL TO THE OUTSIDE OF THE LIGHT FIXTURE 


If you are hanging the light high on the side of a house or barn, the depth of the fixture will not matter.  But if it must be placed next to a door, you'll want to avoid fixtures that will stick out too far if you have a narrow space.  Measure what you think would be appropriate and then find versions that fit into that size.



HEIGHT OF YOUR ELECTRICAL BOXES


As I mentioned, in order for these lights to work for my home, I have to move the electrical connections on the side of the house.  Since the house is getting new siding, this isn't an issue.  But you'll want to be aware of where your light fixture will hang based on the current location of your box if you don't want to hire an electrician or cut into your siding.




FINISH


Barn lights are most commonly seen in a black metal finish, but they also are available in different colors as well as copper, pewter, or bronze finishes.



ANGLE OF THE SHADE


Most of the lights have shades that hang downward, but there are choices available that angle back towards the side of the house for a different look.




SIZE


There are a variety of different sized barn light fixtures available so they will fit in practically any space.  If you have lower ceilings or roofline or a tight wall space to install it, a smaller option would be ideal.  Whereas, if you have high ceilings or a larger house, a tiny fixture will get lost hanging on your home.



DETAILS


While the general idea of a metal light fixture with a shade hanging from a gooseneck arm is the same, there are a variety of details that can make each one special.  Some have fancier shaped shades then others.  A few versions have a steel cage over a glass cover hanging from the shade.  There are even a few versions with built in motion sensors which is nice for security purposes.



PRICE
There are very affordable options for barn lights around $50 and some as pricey as $600.  Most fall somewhere around $100.





White barn lights on gray home



WHERE CAN I BUY  BARN LIGHTS FOR OUTSIDE?



Just about all online retailers who sell exterior light fixtures have barn light options available, as well as hardware stores like Lowes and Home Depot.  

Here are a few of my favorite options available that I found while searching for my own.  You can click on each individual picture to be taken to the online store where it is available:













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