6 Patio Lighting Ideas to Illuminate Your Outdoor Space

Published: December 29, 2022

A patio is a great addition to any home, but the way you choose to light it can make a big difference in how you use the space. Warm soft lighting will make a cozy evening spot to relax or entertain, and thoughtfully placed lights can make your space safer and even more accessible.  

There are several different patio lighting ideas to choose from, and the right one for you depends on your personal style and the overall look you are going for. Whether you are looking for something simple and elegant or more fun and festive, there’s a patio lighting option for you.

This article explores six different patio lighting ideas to help create the perfect outdoor space for you and your guests. We discuss the following:  

  • Functional Pathway Lighting 
  • String Light Patio Ideas 
  • Outdoor Pendants 
  • Layered Lighting 
  • Globe and Lantern Lighting  
  • Statement Lighting Ideas 

Read on to discover the most attractive, structurally sound, and environmentally safe way to give light to your outdoor patio.  

Patio Lighting Ideas 

You’ll want to find a balance between function and style in outdoor patio lights. There are lots of different kinds of outdoor patio lights on the market, so take some time to research which option works best for you. This blog post covers six different patio lighting ideas to help give you some inspiration for illuminating your outdoor patio space.  

1. Functional Pathway Lighting 

Pathway lights are used to line the perimeter of your patio, accentuate plants and flowers, or highlight certain features of your patio space. 

Lights lining the pathway or walkway to your patio provide a lovely welcome for visiting guests to your home. There are several popular pathway lighting options available today. Candle pathway lights give your house a unique glow, especially around the holiday season. They’re also a good choice for adding a romantic element to your occasion.  

Illuminated stair steps up to a house also make an excellent new addition to the front of any home. Both under-step and under-stair lights can help direct people’s attention to the front of a house. The lights themselves can be either visible or hidden, depending on your preference.  

Another option is recessed ground or well lighting to line your path. These lights are placed into the ground right beside a path, serving a similar purpose without taking up any space on the walkway. These lights can also serve as a highlight to any plants you might have along your walkway.  

Not only do these options provide an aesthetic enhancement to your home, but they also serve the functional purpose of additional safety to your walkway. Many pathway lights are powered by solar energy now and power themselves on at dusk, making them an environmentally friendly way to add light to your patio.  

2. String Light Patio Ideas

String lights are an extremely versatile option for decorating a patio. They’re sure to add a distinctive twinkle and charm to any setup. You can line the perimeter of any doors or windows in the area. Strings of rope lights are also a good choice for this type of design.  

String lights come in many different forms of colors, bulbs, and sizes. You can also purchase varieties that are color-changing, twinkling, or blinking. You can use mini lights, sometimes called fairy lights, for a delicate appearance or use larger, globe-style bulbs for a more rustic feel. It seems like string lights add a natural charm whenever they’re brought into play.  

Typical Christmas lights can be kept in place all year round, especially if you use a more neutral color like a warm or cool white. Strings of overhead lights in a canopy style can create a whimsical year-round paradise right at your home.  

3. Outdoor Pendants

Outdoor pendant lights, also called suspender or drop lights, hang suspended by a chain or cord. Ceiling-mounted lights are a necessity inside most homes, so why not bring them outside as well? They often come down from the top of any roof-like patio structure. These eye-catching pieces act as both a source of illumination and a focal point. Pendant light fixtures come in many different designs to fit the theme of any patio. They come in more traditional and more modern styles.  

Getting these in sets, such as in numbers of three, can be a simple way to give cohesion to your layout. The pendant lights can be all the same or variations of similar styles. They often come in selections of varying sizes. Many types of outdoor pendant lights are available on the market, including solar, LED, and traditional incandescent bulbs. Some even offer remote controls so you can easily adjust the light’s brightness or color. 

4. Layered Lighting  

Layering complimentary lights is an art form in itself. Good patio lighting requires light levels, which can all be used at once or be parsed out from each other and used separately. The most basic structure for layered lighting is as follows:  

  • Ambient light: This layer represents the backdrop upon which other lighting gets layered. It can include several lights to set the overall stage of the outdoor patio.  
  • Task light: These lights allow activities to take place by providing additional light to certain areas. They are used to create an impressive display while accomplishing things like reading or drawing while enjoying time outside at night. Examples of these include portable outdoor lamps and large, oversized candles.  
  • Accent light: Smaller, more specialized lights make up the accent layer. They are used to draw attention to finer details rather than illuminate a large area.

One common way to address the layering approach is to use layers of lights on different horizontal planes. Try having some closer to the ground, some at sitting or standing eye level, and others overhead. It’s best to match the color and temperature of these lights as close as possible to allow for a more uniform look. This can be hard to achieve without purchasing all from one brand or working with someone who can better analyze the subtle variations in color. A little more thought and effort can go a long way!  

Make sure none of your lights shine directly into anyone’s eyes. Have people of a few different heights walk through the space to test for this issue. 

5. Globe and Lantern Lighting

Globe outdoor lights offer a modern spin on patio lighting – they’re not only reserved for indoor mid-century modern homes. They add a chic architectural component to a patio design. Their orb shapes offer a soft glow of light, adding to the already picturesque patio design.  

Using paper lantern-style decor in your outdoor patio light setup can add a playful element. Paper lanterns can also be paired with strings of holiday lights for a cheery option any time of the year. Rattan is a trendy choice of material for this style of lighting. Varying the sizes of these you implement gives a more dynamic feel to the setup.  

Lantern lighting has always been popular for charming up an outdoor space. It can add a classic feel to the energy of any patio. Intricate lanterns can elevate your home when done correctly. Many also come with a hook or anchor, meaning you can hang them more easily from trees, posts, and more. Some lanterns are specifically situated to be placed on the ground. Plenty of lanterns also run on solar power nowadays, meaning you won’t have to worry about charging them or plugging them in.  

6. Statement Lighting Ideas 

Adding a statement lighting piece to your patio can be a fun way to start a conversation while still illuminating your space. The rationale is like including such a piece inside a room in your home. Choose something exciting for your guests to look at as they arrive. On a front patio, having special wall lights adorn your front door gives guests an additional level of welcome.  

It’s also best practice to have good lighting in this area for safety reasons. Modern wall lights help create a focal point to situate guests’ attention around. A decorative wall sconce can be a visually striking fixture for your patio. These types of lights typically fall into the ambient or background lighting layer. They provide safety and enhance the architecture already present outside the home.  

Patio Lighting Ideas to Brighten Your Space in 6 Different Ways 

Adding fun and decorative patio lights can brighten up both the physical space and the mood. There are a few things to consider when choosing patio lighting. Functionality, aesthetics, and cost are all important factors. With so many options on the market, it takes time to figure out where to start. These six patio lighting ideas are a great way to get started.  

It’s ultimately quite tricky to achieve the perfect setup without the help of lighting professionals.

For year-round guidance for patio and other decorative lighting, contact the experts at Blingle.