Gardening Guides

How to Choose an Address Plaque And Sign

Address plaques and signs are a practical and decorative addition to your home. Read on to learn how big house numbers need to be and how to make them more visible.

Visitors will see the exterior design of your home before they even step foot inside. But they will never find the exterior if you don't have an address plaque! A stylish, well-placed house number will help people find your home, complement your exterior design, and even serve as a unique family plaque.

In this blog article, we will cover:

  • What size your house numbers need to be
  • How to make your address plaque more visible
  • Traditional and on-trend shapes and styles
  • Ways to make your house numbers special to your home.

How big do address plaques need to be? 

Whether they are on your letterbox, fence or house, the letters and numbers on your address plaque need to be big enough to be seen.

Not only does it make it easier for guests to find your home, but it is also important for couriers and emergency services that might need to find you.

Where you place your address plaque will determine the size. There may also be regulations depending on your location so if you are unsure, it is best to check with your local post services.

Height of your house numbers

For your mailbox on the street, numbers should be at least 1 inch tall (2.5cm). It is the same if your address is on a fence at the front of the house. For aesthetic or design purposes you may want larger numbers if they are on the fence.

For house numbers on the side of your house, the size will depend on how far away they are from the middle of the street. These sizes are approximate based on whether they can be read by someone in a vehicle.

You will need to measure how far away the front of the house is away from the middle of the street and use the following figures as a size guide.

  • Zero to 70 feet - At least 3 inches tall
  • 70- 110 feet - 4 inches minimum
  • 110-132 feet - 5 inches minimum
  • 133-160 feet - 6 inches minimum
  • 161-300 feet - 8 inches minimum

House number spacing

Now that you have determined the height of your numbers, what is the right horizontal house number spacing?

If they are too close together, it may make it difficult to read from far away. They can also look crowded if done wrong.

A tip to avoid this is to arrange the numbers on a flat surface or piece of paper before permanently attaching them. This way, you can see if the numbers will run into each other. also, hang them up to look at them from a distance.

Style ideas for house numbers and address plaques 

While you need to stick to certain guidelines as far as size is concerned, there are ways to choose a design that is unique to you.

For example, playing around with the size of your house numbers can be a style in itself. Obviously, if they are too small they won't be seen, but oversized numbers on a fence can become a deliberate design feature.

If you want to include color, try putting it on a contrasting color background so it can still be seen. For example, if you want to include floral or geometric patterns, get numbers that are on a white or black background so that they will still stand out on the house or fence.

An easy way to include unique design features is to design around the numbers. You could add decals to the wall or fence to draw attention to them, or cut the numbers out of the fence for a reverse silhouette effect.

Plaques are another way to add personal style to your house numbers. These can be custom made to include your family name and other design features around the numbers themselves. An interesting option to add a statement can be an animal, vehicle or even surfboard shaped plaque. You can mount plaques on a fence, letterbox, or even have them freestanding on the ground.

Of course, the address plaque should flow naturally with your exterior design!

  • If you have a modern house, stick to simple lines and shiny materials. A combination of stainless steel and cedar wood also looks beautiful.
Black Modern Aluminum Rectangle Wall Plaque
Black Modern Aluminum Vertical Wall Address Plaque
Brown Modern Wooden Vertical Address Plaque
Black Modern Aluminum Lawn Address Sign
Black Modern Aluminum Round Wall Address Plaque
  • For farmhouse-style houses, you want to stick to wood, thick numbers, moderately creative fonts, as well as rustic colors.
Brown Stylish Wooden Coffee Pot Address Plaque
Brown Rustic Wooden Bear Address Plaque
Blue Traditional Wooden Dolphin Wall Address Sign
Red Coastal Wooden Lobster Address Plaque
White Rustic Wooden Yacht Address Sign
Brown Classic Wooden Horse Address Plaque
  • For brick exteriors, the best visibility will be ensured with silver or light gray numbers against matte black background.
Black Classic Metal Wall Address Plaque
Silver Elegant Brass Vertical Address Plaque
Black Modern Steel Wall Address Plaque
  • Victorian houses call for more elaborate styles - ovals, octagons or irregular shapes with romantic floral ornamentation.
Golden Traditional Aluminum Lawn Address Sign
Golden Stylish Aluminum Wall Address Plaque
Golden Elegant Aluminum Address Plaque
Brown Classic Ceramic Oval Address Plaque
  • For an Art deco house, go for color, subtle design features, and geometric shapes around the number.
Brown Modern Aluminum Vertical Wall Address Plaque
Black Classic Aluminum Wall Address Plaque
Golden Classic Aluminum Horizontal Address Plaque
Golden Classic Aluminum Lawn Address Sign
Golden Modern Aluminum Hanging Address Sign

Whatever you choose, make sure the plaque is made from weather-resistant materials: 100% rust free aluminum, stainless steel, or treated wood.

How to make address plaques more visible? 

House numbers could be the difference between emergency services finding your home easily. Therefore, your design should take visibility into account. Here are 6 ways you can make your address numbers easier to see from the street:

  • Light them up. One way to make them easier to see, especially at night, is obviously lighting. You could do this by placing the numbers next to the existing porch light or install a small solar-powered light that automatically illuminates them at night.
  • Choose contrasting colors. You will need to make sure you choose house numbers that are a different color to your house. This means matching light with dark, and if you have colored weatherboards (instead of a neutral color) then it would be a good idea to choose a backing rectangle that stands out instead of just metal numbers for example.
  • Choose the right size and placement. As well as using the sizing guide above for the right height, make sure the numbers are far enough apart that they do not overlap or touch.
  • Find reflective materials. Instead of lights, you could choose materials that reflect when light is shone on them (like headlights for example).
  • Don't write them in a creative font. Even if your address numbers are big enough, they will still be hard to read if they are in a cursive, decorative, script or thin font styles. Thick sans serif fonts (like Helvetica) are said to be the right fonts for your house numbers. You should also use numerals rather than writing the numbers out for artistic purposes
  • Place them horizontally instead of vertically. While vertical placement may look pleasing, it is much harder to read, especially at speed or from far away. Most local governments recommend displaying numbers horizontally.

With a bit of planning, your address numbers can be a practical and decorative addition to your home!

Foter Magazine is a premier architecture, decoration, interiors and design website. We inspire and guide you to make your home a more attractive place.


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