Outdoor lighting illuminating the front door of house and walkway leading to it

Illuminating Your Outdoor Space: A Buyers Guide to Outdoor Lights

When it comes to outdoor lighting, there are endless options to choose from. From deck lighting to outdoor ceiling lights, it can be overwhelming to find the right lights for your outdoor space. In this outdoor lights buyers guide, we’ll break down the different types of outdoor lights and provide tips for choosing the best ones for your needs.

Types of Outdoor Lights

Deck Lighting

Deck lighting is a popular choice for outdoor spaces, as it adds both ambiance and safety. There are several types of deck lighting, including:

  • Post cap lights: These lights are installed on top of deck posts and provide a soft glow.
  • Recessed lights: These lights are installed into the deck itself and provide a subtle, low-profile lighting option.
  • Step lights: These lights are installed on the steps of your deck and provide a safe way to navigate in the dark.

When choosing deck lighting, consider the size and layout of your deck, as well as the overall aesthetic you want to achieve. For example, if you have a large deck with multiple levels, you may want to opt for a combination of post cap lights and recessed lights to provide both ambient and task lighting.

Outdoor Ceiling Lights

Outdoor ceiling lights are a great way to add both style and functionality to your outdoor space. These lights are typically installed on the ceiling of a porch or covered patio and come in a variety of styles, including:

  • Flush mount: These lights are installed directly onto the ceiling and provide a sleek, low-profile look.
  • Pendant lights: These lights hang from the ceiling and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them a versatile option for any outdoor space.
  • Chandelier: For a more elegant look, consider installing a chandelier on your outdoor ceiling. These lights come in a variety of styles, from traditional to modern.

When choosing outdoor ceiling lights, consider the size and style of your outdoor space. A larger space may benefit from a statement chandelier, while a smaller space may be better suited for a flush mount or pendant light.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Outdoor Lights

When shopping for outdoor lights, there are a few key factors to keep in mind to ensure you choose the best option for your needs.

Weather Resistance

Since outdoor lights will be exposed to the elements, it’s important to choose lights that are weather resistant. Look for lights with an IP rating, which indicates the level of protection against water and dust. A higher IP rating means the light is more resistant to the elements.

Power Source

Outdoor lights can be powered in a variety of ways, including:

  • Hardwired: These lights are connected directly to your home’s electrical system and require professional installation.
  • Solar: Solar lights are powered by the sun and do not require any wiring or electricity.
  • Battery-operated: These lights are powered by batteries and can be easily installed without any wiring.

Consider the location of your outdoor lights and the availability of a power source when choosing the best option for your space.

Energy Efficiency

Outdoor lights can use a lot of energy, so it’s important to choose energy-efficient options to save on your electricity bill. Look for lights with LED bulbs, which use less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Style and Aesthetics

Last but not least, consider the style and aesthetics of your outdoor space when choosing lights. You want your lights to complement the overall design and add to the ambiance of your outdoor area. Consider the color, shape, and material of the lights to ensure they fit in with your existing decor.

Tips for Choosing the Best Outdoor Lights

Consider the Purpose of the Lights

Before purchasing outdoor lights, consider the purpose they will serve. Are they primarily for safety, ambiance, or both? This will help you determine the type and placement of the lights.

For example, if you want to add ambiance to your outdoor space, consider string lights or lanterns. If safety is your main concern, opt for brighter, more functional lights such as floodlights or motion-activated lights.

Think About the Size and Layout of Your Outdoor Space

The size and layout of your outdoor space will play a big role in the type and number of lights you need. A larger space may require more lights to adequately illuminate the area, while a smaller space may only need a few strategically placed lights.

Consider the layout of your space and where you will need the most light. For example, if you have a large deck with multiple seating areas, you may want to install lights in each area to provide adequate lighting for all activities.

Choose Lights That Complement Your Home’s Architecture

When choosing outdoor lights, consider the style and architecture of your home. You want your lights to complement the overall design and add to the curb appeal of your home. For example, if you have a modern home, opt for sleek, minimalist lights, while a more traditional home may benefit from classic lantern-style lights.

Don’t Be Afraid to Mix and Match

Don’t feel like you have to stick to one type or style of outdoor lights. Mixing and matching different types of lights can add visual interest and create a unique look for your outdoor space. Just be sure to choose lights that complement each other and fit in with the overall aesthetic of your outdoor area.


Outdoor lighting is an important aspect of any outdoor space. From deck lighting to outdoor ceiling lights, there are many options to choose from. By considering the purpose, size, and style of your outdoor space, as well as the weather resistance, power source, and energy efficiency of the lights, you can choose the best option for your needs. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different types of lights to create a unique and inviting outdoor space.

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