On a warm summer’s day with the sun streaming through your home from a cloudless sky, there’s no better place to be than lounging on your deck. But how often have you retreated back indoors when the sun goes down, even if it’s still a warm evening?
It’s so easy to fit your deck with lighting to make it a true extension of your home, day and night.
If you’ve been yearning to keep your afternoon barbecues going a little longer, or you want to find a better space for warm weather entertaining in your home, adding lights to your deck will make a huge difference.
Read on to find out what deck lighting options will work for you, and the essentials you need to know to get started.
The Basics of Outdoor Deck Lighting
Adding lighting to your deck area has both practical and aesthetic benefits.
For starters, decorating your deck with lights just looks great! With some simple deck lighting additions, you can make this outdoor area like another room of your house. Whether for entertaining, alfresco dinners, family time or quiet time, you can make it work for your needs.
When the weather is good, you can enjoy your deck throughout the day, even after the sun has gone down. If you’re in the South West, you should get a good amount of deck time throughout the year. But when the weather takes a turn for the worse, you can still admire a beautifully lit deck from the shelter of your home.
You’ll also get the benefit of a much more safe and practical space if you use deck lighting. It’s important to use lights to illuminate potentially dangerous areas, like steps, rails, or a pool, especially if you’ll have young kids around.
If you have a grill, bar, dining area or jacuzzi, you can plan your lighting to work for you, so don’t ever have to use a flashlight to turn the steaks on the grill again!
Bright, Warm, Cool – What Type of Light Should You Choose?
Any good interior designer will tell you that lighting is one of the key ways to create the right mood in a room. Your outdoor deck area should be no different.
A good place to start is to choose whether a warm or cool light will work best for you. Warm lighting has a red or yellow glow and can be great for making the space feel cozy. Cool lights have more of a bright, blue tone – this might work well if you need a lot of light for a large entertaining space.
If you’re looking for something a little different, you could try out colored lighting with remote-controlled settings. You can pick any colors to suit your mood or a particular event. The more sophisticated systems will let you cycle through different color options on timed settings and pick different colors for different lighted areas.
Make sure that you follow professional advice when you’re planning your deck lighting. As we all know, electricity and water don’t mix, so an outdoor lighting system needs to be safe, secure, and well-built.
One of the most important things you’ll need is a transformer to convert your indoor 120-volt current down to 12-volts, which is suitable for outdoor electrical use. You also need to make sure the transformer can handle the wattage, depending on the number of lights you have.
You should choose lighting that is durable and not prone to rust. This is particularly important if you live in coastal areas because of the salt erosion from the sea winds. Regularly cleaning and checking for damage can keep your deck lighting working for years.
Here are our favorite deck lighting ideas to make your outdoor space safe, fun and beautiful.
1. Post Mount Lighting
Posts and rails are how you define and section a deck area, so why not add some lighting to frame your outdoor space? Post mount lighting points downwards from the deck posts and can light up a surprisingly wide area.
The lights will be at the perfect height to avoid any glare whether you’re standing or seated on the deck.
2. Hanging Lights
If you have a pergola, roof, or even a tree positioned over your deck, you can create a cool look with some hanging lights.
Whether your decoration is sleek and classy or boho and cozy, you can choose hanging lights that compliment your decor. Lanterns or hurricane lamps can work really well. Plus, shades of natural textures make the perfect choice for bringing the indoors and outdoors together.
3. Fiber Optic Lighting
Tiny fiber optic lights won’t be enough to help you read a book or play cards on your deck, but they do help to create an amazing atmosphere.
You can drill into your decking and insert the fiber optic lights to create the feeling of a starry night sky reflected beneath your feet. If you use them in addition to other types of lighting, your deck will be the envy of all your neighbors and friends.
4. String Lights
String lights are a classic option that never goes out of style. They are super easy to install and there are tons of different options to choose from.
A canopy of larger lights strung up over a deck will bring atmosphere and style to your space instantly. You don’t need to worry about hiding away the wires – wrap lights around your deck railings or pin a net of lights to a wall.
You can find string lights that use solar power or mains electricity, making them one of the most versatile deck lighting options around.
5. Stair Lights
Both practical and pretty, you can add lighting to stairs on your deck to illuminate the path to your home for you and your guests.
A quick and easy option is to add simple spotlights to the side of your stairs, it gets the job done and looks simple and smart. If you want to create a more dramatic entrance, consider installing lights to your stair risers, it will make your deck look sophisticated and will bring the whole lighting plan together.
You might like to use motion activated lights for your stairways, which are both energy efficient and practical. Some areas may require stair lighting as part of building codes, so it’s a good idea to check with your local planning department.
6. Fan and Light Combination
On the warmest summer days when the air is still, a cooling fan makes the perfect addition to your deck. Combination light and fan fittings make your covered deck area feel like another room in the house.
The soft breeze of the fan along with the practical overhead light means that you can sit outdoors and enjoy your deck long into the evening.
7. Recessed Lighting
For deck lighting that looks professional and coherent, recessed lighting is the way to go. You can use this in so many areas of your deck, from the stair risers to the posts, to the walls.
Creating a completely smooth and seamless look with your deck, recessed lighting hides all the untidy wires and fixtures. Whether you choose to light up pathways and staircases or entertaining areas, it’s a great option for a desk area built to last.
8. Wall Lights
Just like you have inside your home, you can decorate your deck area with wall-fitted lights to brighten up your outdoor area in the evening.
If you have a bar area or an outdoor kitchen you know that’s the area where everyone wants to be when you’re entertaining. Sconces or uplights will keep the area bright all night long.
Brighten Your Evenings and Make the Most of Your Deck
Get ready for summer and turn your dark outdoor spaces around with deck lighting. Whatever your mood, style, and how you use your deck, well planned and stylish lighting will really elevate the space.
If you’re interested in seeing how we can help you work on the lighting for your deck, contact us with your ideas and questions, we’ll be happy to help.