Outdoor Lighting Ideas for a Welcoming Space

Metal pendant light, the best outdoor lighting idea for a welcoming space

Chandeliers and Pendants

Hanging an outdoor chandelier is one simple way to add polish to your outdoor patio or dining area, whether you’re looking for everyday glamour or adding extra drama to a special event. Choose a rustic wooden chandelier for the perfect farmhouse feel or a galvanized metal pendant to complement your modern industrial style. Opt for a chrome-and-acrylic crystal design for a sparkly effect with a more formal edge.

Use these tips to guide your lighting setup:

  • Hang fixtures from the roof of your patio, gazebo, or pergola, and guide the light’s cord to the nearest outlet using eyebolt hooks. If you’re hanging multiple pendants, run the wires at different lengths to create a staggered height pattern.
  • Choose yellow bulbs to add warmth or bright white bulbs to bring out the brilliance of an acrylic crystal chandelier.
  • Select a light fixture with a cord dimmer so that you can transition the lighting seamlessly from afternoon to evening, casting the perfect glow over your table setting.

Outdoor spotlight, the best outdoor lighting ideas for a welcoming space

Landscape Lights

Nothing is more beautiful than a backyard bathed in moonlight. You can achieve this effect (even on a cloudy night) by mounting outdoor spotlights in trees and shrubs. Whether you have one tall, stately tree in your yard or several, downlights emulate the look of moonlight shining through the tree’s branches and helps make any outdoor space look even more enchanting.

Follow these tips to achieve the perfect moonlit effect:

  • Position the light fixture pointing downward, at least 30 feet up larger trees. Play around with the light’s position and angles to see which location creates the most dramatic effect.
  • The thicker and denser the tree’s branches, the farther away you’ll want to place the light fixture. If the tree has open branches, position the fixture closer to its trunk and the light will appear to shine from within.

If the trees in your yard aren’t quite 30 feet tall, you can alternatively place spotlights or stake lights around their bases to create an equally magical effect. For the most glamourous look, try moonlighting a few taller trees and up-lighting a trio of shorter ones.

Stake lights are also a popular choice for pathways. They create a warm ambiance and can help light the way to your front door, patio, or other outdoor space. Go green and choose solar-powered stake lights, which can be placed anywhere the sun shines.

Outdoor fountain with lights, the perfect outdoor lighting idea for a welcoming space

Fountain and Pool Lights

Water features like outdoor fountains or pools are natural focal points for any outdoor party. And lighting a pool doesn’t just look elegant — it’s also great for guests who want to go for a nighttime swim. Whether your water feature is bubbling fountain, a small pond, or a full-size pool, there are plenty of ways you could add a little light.

Consider the following tips to really make a splash at your next event:

  • Try out customized LED lighting systems that sit just beneath a pool’s coping to give the water a dreamlike glow. These submersible lights will give your fountain a similar look.
  • Add allure with warm, yellow light — or pick LED lights in a rainbow of colors for festive appeal. Some systems even allow you to program a multicolor light show or cycle through a series of colors throughout the evening.
  • Dot the water’s surface with large, floating orbs that gently light up at night for a whimsical effect. A single floating light in the center of your water feature provides a dazzling light-and-water show for guests.

If you don’t have a large water feature in your outdoor space, a fountain could be a great way to bring a little water into your world. Choose a fountain with built-in lights to create a soothing evening oasis.

Outdoor string lights, the perfect outdoor lighting idea for a welcoming space

String Lights and Lanterns

String lights and lanterns add a charming glow to pathways and outdoor structures, such as gazebos, benches, or umbrellas. Incorporating colored lanterns or stringing lights across your space in intricate weaving patterns will add an extra layer of drama to your lighting design.

The following tips will help you create a welcoming atmosphere:

  • Sprinkle a few battery-powered tea lights around your table to highlight your place settings and eliminate the worry of dripping wax or wind.
  • Fashion a path to your patio or light up a balcony’s edge with outdoor lanterns. Try lanterns with intricate cutouts or colored glass that give off light in a unique pattern or hue.
  • String delicate strands of small fairy lights in patterns around any tree or along your fence or roof area to create a romantic enclosure.
  • Place larger ball- or lantern-shaped string bulbs around your space to add playful appeal or even complement a particular party theme.