In typical New England fashion, we've had wild weather in 2018: bombogenesis, tornado watches, and flash flooding, just to name a few of the events from the last year.
While everyone can feel the effects of wild weather, people who own homes near the ocean have many more worries than those of us in the 'burbs—even when the weather is "normal."
For example, the salty, seaside air can quickly turn an outdoor fixture's finish from shiny and new to dull, peeling, or – worse – rusting.
While we can't solve every issue affecting ocean homes, we can tackle that one.
Below, we discuss the best materials to consider for beautiful, long-lasting exterior lights as well as our favorite picks from lighting manufacturers specializing in those materials.
Pro tip: Live by the shore? Always choose outdoor fixtures specifically rated for coastal environments. Even if you don't live on the coast, these fixtures make a great choice because they will last you for years to come.
You Can Never Go Wrong with Solid Copper and Brass
A classic choice, solid copper and brass fixtures won't rust away when exposed to salty air.
For a coastal home, we recommend a fixture that has a "living finish"—in other words, no lacquer. Why? Well, lacquered finishes can chip or flake over time, causing the fixture to age unevenly. But un-lacquered fixtures naturally patina. Picture the copper changing to beautiful green verdigris and the brass darkening and darkening with time.
One of our go-to manufacturers for copper and brass exterior lights, Northeast Lantern has been making quality light fixtures in New Hampshire since 1987. Bonus: not only are the fixtures American-made, they're also backed by a lifetime guarantee.
Here are a few of our top picks from Northeast Lantern:
With this perennial New England favorite, you can choose clear glass for a clean and classic look, seedy glass for an antique vibe, or optic glass to throw beautiful patterns of light against the wall.
The fixture to the left shows optic glass with the Antique Brass finish. Come see it in our Waltham lighting showroom in Dark Brass with optic glass.
With a beautiful spun shade, this series is a favorite whether you use it at the entrance to your home or place a sconce over each garage door (or do both). The fixture to the left is pictured in Antique Brass. See it in Waltham in Dark Antique Brass.
Look for Durable Finishes Guaranteed for Coastal Environments
Though the finish on a typical outdoor light may not be hardy enough for coastal environments, a fixture with a finish specially developed to withstand corrosive salty air is a perfect choice.
One of our favorites for this sort of fixture is Vermont-based Hubbardton Forge (check out this write-up we did on our visit to the Forge).
Their expert artisans use aluminum to make their outdoor fixtures (which avoids the rusting conundrum). Then, they apply one of their custom-designed coastal finishes. Hubbardton fixtures carry a limited lifetime warranty, including on the finish.
Here are a few of our current Hubbardton favorites:
A twist on a traditional lantern, this series features an eye-catching globe of heavy blown glass. See it in Waltham in Coastal Bronze.
With its clean, elegant lines, this fixture is at home with many types of décor. Don't miss it on display in Waltham in Coastal Black.
Another Great Option to Consider: Fixtures Constructed from Composite Material
As an alternative to the above kinds of fixtures, a growing trend is to forgo metal fixtures and opt for ones made out of a composite material.
Weather-resistant composite is a cost-conscious alternative to solid brass and copper. Not only that, but composite fixtures are available in several styles and colors.
Here are a few of our top picks for composite fixtures:
This collection from Quoizel is a winner with seedy glass, three finishes to choose from, and a variety of sizes. See it in Waltham in Black.
Another favorite by Quoizel, this series blends organic and structured elements, like the clear water glass floating behind a gridded frame. You'll find it on display in Waltham in Palladian Bronze.
Last but certainly not least, this new collection by Hinkley Lighting has become a fast favorite in our Waltham showroom, thanks to its two-tone finish and seedy glass. Don't miss it on display in Ash Bronze.
Looking for more ideas or advice on what fixtures are best for your home?