6 Perfect Outdoor Lighting Options

patio string lighting
credit: Trisha Sprouse for Hunker

Convinced great lighting is only for the indoors? Think again. Truth is, lighting is key to making Mother Nature shine, too. Not only will some great outdoor lighting ideas keep your space illuminated long after sunset, but they can also make or break the overall ambiance of your backyard, patio, or deck. Plus, as with the light fixtures in your interiors, there's more than one way to make the great outdoors glow.

Ready to take your outside space to the next level? Check out these six bright outdoor lighting ideas below, plus where you can buy some fixtures of your own.

1. Pendant Lighting

patio pendant lighting
credit: Hi Sugarplum

Want to dress up your dinner al fresco? Add a few pendant lights to your outdoor dining space. Perfect for partially covered porches and gazebos alike, this is one lighting idea that brings your interior design outside. Cassie from Hi Sugarplum! paired her easy, breezy pendants with wicker bistro chairs, melamine plates, and a tablescape full of sweet succulents.

2. Luxe Lanterns

lanterns by pool
credit: Chango & Co.

Let's be honest: Lanterns are one of the many outdoor lighting ideas that are usually an afterthought. Even the biggest design enthusiast will lazily place a lantern on a stoop or outdoor dining table and call it a day. But, as Chango & Co. proves, lanterns are destined to make a statement. In this Easthampton modern marvel, the design and architecture studio plays up the proportions, giving this often-overlooked fixture a stately, and almost museum-like, appeal.

3. Pathway Lights

Unless you live in an apartment building — or a well-lit cul de sac — there's a good chance you'll have to scheme up some outdoor lighting ideas for the path leading to your front door. While there are plenty of pathway lights to brighten up your hardscape, we're particularly fond of the slim stakes Australian firm Nest Architects used for their Glen Iris project. Good news is that stake lighting is often solar-powered — meaning no cords, no extra electricity.

4. String Lights

patio string lights
credit: Fresh Mommy

Just because your dorm days are long gone doesn't mean you have to kick your string lights to the curb. Tabitha of Fresh Mommy gives this college staple an elegant, adult-approved upgrade by draping them over her outdoor space. Not only does this outdoor lighting idea mimic the look and feel of twinkling stars, but it's also one look that's bound to get the party started.

5. Flush-Mount Porch Lights

If your interior design style skews more subtle, a flush light will be the hero of outdoor lighting ideas. Not only will it give your porch a full, far-reaching glow, but this fixture will also blend in with the rest of your outdoor space. Plus, the light will be practically invisible come daytime. Let Studio McGee show you how it's done.

6. Outside Sconces

When it comes to outdoor lighting ideas, sconces are the gifts that keep on giving — especially when square footage is at a premium. They save plenty of floor space, jazz up your walls, and light up your patio? Now that's a trifecta we can get behind. Interior designer Emily Henderson nails the look by matching the outdoor sconces to her dining room chairs. The result? A space that's cohesive without being too matchy-matchy.

Where to Buy Outdoor Lighting

Found some outdoor bathroom ideas you want to bring to your own space? Now it's up to you to find the perfect piece to match. Go ahead, check out these retailers and add your favorite fixtures to your cart.

In addition to its traditional sconces, pendants, and flush lights, Lamps Plus also has an array of LED and motion-sensor styles.

Consider the Home Depot your one-stop-shop for all your outdoor needs. With fan lights, pathway lights, and the occasional chandelier to choose from, you're bound to find a style for your outdoor space. While you're there, you can also pick up some outdoor furniture.

Rejuvenation specializes in industrial-inspired fixtures, and there's everything from outdoor sconces to porch flush mount lights.

Looking for some smaller outdoor lighting ideas to make your space glow? Frontgate has plenty of hurricanes, torches, and, of course, string lights in its arsenal.


Kelsey Mulvey

Kelsey Mulvey

Kelsey Mulvey is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor. Her work has been featured in Lonny, Apartment Therapy, and Wallpaper*, among others.