​Choosing the Perfect Barn Light for Your Home or Outdoor Space

​Choosing the Perfect Barn Light for Your Home or Outdoor Space

Choosing the Perfect Barn Light for Your Home or Outdoor Space

Pendant Light orange

If you’re yearning for some rustic ambiance in your home, picking out the right fixtures is crucial. It seems like a simplistic task; however, the style, material, color, finish, and size are all important factors to keep in mind when looking for the perfect lighting. Choosing one type over another can make all the difference in a room or outdoor space.

In grasping the appearance you wish to achieve as well as the illumination that would be most suitable for where you wish to place your barn light, the style of your fixture will be one of the first components potent to your decision. Some types of lights offer either recessed or angled radiance which can have a major effect on what your fixture shines upon (e.g., the ground only, 180-degree adjustability, etc.). Picking the material/color/finish is what will make an indoor or outdoor setting either pop or look less chaotic depending on your intent. The latter decision will be mostly for aesthetic purposes. Lastly, the size of your light in terms of its height from the floor/ceiling/wall placement, width from the wall, and/or its shade radius will be crucial in ensuring the light fits where you hope it will while still providing substantial function.

If things sound complex already, no worries! To make things easier on your end, here’s some vital information to keep in mind through your search:

1. Style

  • Gooseneck Lights

    ‘Barn lights’ are often used synonymously with ‘gooseneck lights.’ While most barn lights are gooseneck style, not all of them are. Gooseneck typically refers to a light that has a curved pipe that is similar to a goose’s neck, as pictured below. This fixture looks ideal over a small seating area such as a couch or outside a home to light up a pathway.

  • barn post lamp in house
  • Barn Pendants

    Barn pendants are similar in lamp shade style as goosenecks, but instead of hanging from the wall, they dangle vertically from the ceiling, making them ideal to use for dining or bar lighting, for instance. They also look ideal in entry ways to offer a grand entrance.

  • Barn Sconces

    Slightly more modern than goosenecks, barn sconces are similar but have a curved, 90-degree angled neck. They typically extend a shorter distance from the wall to the edge of the shade than goosenecks.

  • Sign Lights

    For a classic look, sign lights offer a similar neck style to the gooseneck but are equipped with a smaller shade that is often presented angled towards a wall. Many models have 180-degree rotation to create versatility. Sign lights not only look great for restaurant signs but also are ideal in garages, for outdoor settings, or as picture lights.

  • Barn Floor Lamps

    Barn floor lamps, as pictured below, are often slanted with their shade parallel to the ground and stand from the floor, hence the name ‘floor lamp.’ Due to their slant, this type of lamp is suitable for a desk or over a reading chair as light illuminates directly to a surface. Many barn floor lamps are also adjustable.

  • Barn floor lamps
  • Barn Post Lamps

    Go vintage with a barn post lamp. This shepherd’s crook-shaped lamp is especially stylish outdoors to provide lighting for pathways or signs as their shade is parallel to the ground, thus radiating light directly toward the floor as a form of recessed lighting.

2. Material, Finish, & Color

The material or texture of one’s barn light says a lot about a space. A clean, metallic appearance – especially if it has a shiny finish – can look more modern while a rusty or matte metallic finish will offer an old-fashioned touch. A metallic feel will naturally be more suitable for outdoor settings but can be worked indoors as well.

Barn lights are also often offered in a variety of colors, many of which can suit a rustic style. Colored fixtures are ideal for indoor or outdoor settings that need a pop-of-color. If going for a color, decide whether you would like to go warm (e.g., reds, oranges, yellows) or cool (e.g., blues, greens, purples). Neutral-colored barn lights would be an essential for a space that needs colors or brightness to be broken up to make the room or space softer on the eyes.

If opting for multiple barn lights (e.g., goosenecks, barn pendants, or sign slights) in a row, as would be attached over a bar, one may consider playing around with the material or colors; for instance: alternating between silver or bronze or blue and green. One may also consider having half of their barn lights black on one side and a bright color on the other side to communicate additional excitement.

3. Size

More important than anything else in choosing a barn light is ensuring you have the space for it, both physically and aesthetically. Especially when opting for a gooseneck, barn sconce, or sign light, one will need to keep the width in which it sticks out from the wall in mind to ensure it will not be in the way of both furniture and people’s heads. The radius of the shade is important as not only does this take up more space, but the wrong size can make a room look off. For instance, a smaller shade size may look better in a smaller or busier room while a larger one may be more suitable for a spacious area or outdoors.

As for barn pendants, the height it extends from the ceiling is crucial. If hanging over a table, it would be more acceptable for the fixture to have a long cord than it would be if it were hanging elsewhere for obvious reasons: so people don’t hit their heads! When indicating what length would look suitable, consider hanging a string from the ceiling to establish a sense of perspective (with the shade length included). As for the shade radius, larger rooms, master bedrooms, entry ways, and dining rooms would be best adorned with wider-shaded lights while a less-grand room or tighter space would be ideal with conversely-shaded lights.

As for barn floor and barn post lamps, the correct height can be determined in part by the ceiling height of the room you plan to place them in. Rooms with taller ceilings would beautifully house a taller lamp. The radius of the shade is potent in that the wider it is, the further it will be from the wall, meaning that more space will be eliminated from your room the larger the shade you go. Because barn posts have a slight curvature compared to their barn floor lamp counterparts that have a deeper slope, this style would be more suitable for tighter areas.


Picking the right barn light, from a gooseneck to a barn floor lamp, can be a process that keeps in mind not just the style but also the material it is made of, the color or finish it has, and its size. Add classic style to a room or outdoor setting while either providing a burst of movement, texture, or color or by minimizing the “loudness” of a space with the many barn light options available today. However, choose wisely.

While the decision can be overwhelming, opting for the perfect fixture that not only provides a great appearance but also provides functionality will be worth it in the end.

If you’re up for the challenge, Cocoweb offers a hefty selection of high-quality barn lights, picture lights, piano lamps, and other fixtures with free shipping. Customize your fixture selecting the size, color, and other features to personalize the lamp to your setting.

1st May 2018 Jordan R

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