10 patio lighting ideas to light up your space with style this season

Be inspired by our patio lighting ideas that will illuminate and add style

Three hanging rattan lampshades above a table set for outdoor dining, view of garden
(Image credit: The White Company)

As we approach brighter evenings, patio lighting ideas rise to the surface as the lure of spending more time outside gets stronger. We've rounded up 10 lighting looks for extra ambience, covering  everything from candlelight to pathway designs.

Our experts tell us patio lighting should be subtle, and because they are generally situated close to your interior you can opt for electric powered lights (just make sure they're waterproof), as well as battery and solar powered options. 

If you've recently done a deep dive on patio ideas to spruce up your outdoor space, the next step is deciding how to light it. If you're renting, all of our ideas below can be taken with you if you move. 

10 fabulously stylish patio lighting ideas 

If you've dusted off your best small patio furniture, it's time to illuminate your space and turn it into an outdoor haven for your family and friends. The key, our experts reveal, is to create a lovely welcoming glow you and your guests can enjoy.

Prices were correct at the time this article was published.

1. Hang a pendant light

Rectangular clear patio light within black metal edged lantern suspended from ceiling, black and white tiles, green table set, mirror reflecting

(Image credit: Maestri Studio / Nathan Schroder)

Nothing beats a traditional outdoor lantern — super stylish and classical to look at. You can choose designs that require a single candle, or one that's fitted electrically. If there's an option for a dimmer switch then take it — nothing beats being able to control the level of illumination in the evenings. 

We adore Amazon's modern black chandelier outdoor pendant light with cracked glass look, it's a great price and will work perfectly on a patio or porch. 

2. Consider downlights

Patio porch with downlights and pendant light, outdoor living space, gray sectional and footstool, rugs, couch pillows in geometric black and white assortment of patterns

(Image credit: Triple Heart Design / Clarity NW)

Patio lighting can take on many forms and you can use more than one option in the same space. 

From downlighters to pendants pick options that suit your needs and the space. Shelagh Conway, principal and founder of Triple Heart Design explains:

"The lighting in this patio was intentional to create an additional outdoor living space on the exterior. We wanted an upscale outdoor living area that the family could use for football parties, cookouts and lounging. 

"With all of the heat lamps and the warm wood, this space feels cozy all year round! Remember to check the ratings on your light fixtures to make sure they are wet or damp rated for your outdoor space and add dimmer switches if needed."

image of Shelagh Conway, owner of Triple Heart Design, a black and white image of a blond lady
Shelagh Conway

Triple Heart Design is an award-winning interior design studio in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2016, we thrive on simplifying the design process and work closely with clients to help them love their homes.

3. Choose paper lanterns

Paper style lanterns on a patio/porch with wooden cushioned seating, blankets, coffee table and jute rug, white parasol in rear

(Image credit: Ikea)

Paper lanterns (we love the Pottery Barn Boho Globe Solar Outdoor Lanterns in four colorways) have long been a great decorative aspect both inside and out. Budget-friendly and available in an array of colors and patterns, there are plenty of options that have lights within them too.

The only decision you'll need to make is what size lanterns and the kind of lighting you prefer. There plug-in and battery operated options to choose from. They can be hung from beams, above your amazing decking, tacked to a shiplap wall or woven around branches — what's not to love? 

We've picked out a few of our favorites to give you a taste.

4. Textured lampshades

Outdoor dining ideas with three rattan lamp shades above laid out table, view of garden, glassware, white tableware, flowers

(Image credit: The White Company)

Adding textures to an outdoor dining scheme will elevate your space greatly, especially if you're setting a table underneath where they're hanging.

"Suspending lanterns can create real drama, these jute lanterns and our LED candles with their gentle flicker are perfect for enjoying the sun set," says Chrissie Rucker OBE and founder of The White Company

Another option is to source wicker candle holders, Wayfair's tabletop hurricanes would look great in a row along a table. 

image of Chrissie Rucker, owner of The White Company, a blond woman wearing a white sweater
Chrissie Rucker OBE

Chrissie Rucker OBE, started The White Company in 1994, when, unable to find well-designed, beautiful quality white bedlinen that were affordable. Today, it's one of the UK's fastest-growing multi-channel retailers and trusted lifestyle brand.

5. Check out portable options

Dusk dining table outside with LED table lamps glowing whilst rest of shot is dark

(Image credit: Original BTC)

LED lighting is a godsend as they offer more lumens per watt, so they shine bright but use less energy, and if you pick a portable option (such as the battery powered gorgeous frosted glass LED pebbles from Pottery Barn), you're absolutely winning.

Been free from wires means you can place your light wherever the mood takes you, and bringing a little variety and a lot of function to your patio lighting.

"Whilst garden lighting ideas are often the last thing to be considered, they're certainly not a detail that should be overlooked," says Jamie Watkins, founder, Divine Savages.

Charlie Bowles, director, Original BTC agrees, “Good exterior lighting has the power to transform your home and should be considered carefully to maximise the features and the function of your outdoor space."

Jamie Watkins
Jamie Watkins

Divine Savages specialises in creating exquisitely crafted wallpapers, fabrics, accessories and limited edition art prints for the brave and bold.  It was founded by husbands Jamie Watkins and Tom Kennedy in 2017. Taking inspiration from history, culture, fashion and the natural world to create an eclectic mix of influences, Divine Savages has, to date, created myriad designs whose personalities come across just as much in their names as they do visually. 

expert headshot of Charlie Bowles, director, Original BTC
Charlie Bowles

Charlie Bowles is the director of lighting manufacturer Original BTC after he took over from Peter Bowles his father and the company’s founder in 2012. With its New York showroom opening in 2017, Original BTC also have showrooms in London, Paris and Taiwan, with sales to over 85 countries.

6. Invest in pathway lights

Outdoor dining, table and chairs with monochromatic theme, garden to rear, ground staked lighting,

(Image credit: Living with Lolo / Life Created)

A fabulous option for leading your eye around the patio and across the garden, pathway lights can illuminate where vitally needed, add ambient light, and highlight favorite flowers and plants. 

Most are battery operated or solar powered so they can be placed wherever you need.

7. Firepits offer a warm glow

Outdoor patio decking with Adirondack seating and faux-fur throw, white round stone fire-pit, classic wooden drinks cart, rug, macrame

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Perhaps not an obvious choice, but we're big fans of double use items and there's nothing better than sitting around a fire pit with friends and family. And of course they emit a lovely glow to boot. 

They can be an investment depending on the material they're made from, but one that you can take with you when you move. For a similar design to the item pictured above, check out Target's Marcel concrete fire pit in light grey.

Don't forget your smores — Amazon do a fun set of smores sticks ideal for fire pits

8. Use wall sconces

Purpose built outdoor fireplace with lantern style sconces, white rattan couch and chairs, planters, coffee table, candlelight

(Image credit: Pooky)

If you have a fixed wall, add wall sconces as you would to interior walls. They're a really good idea if you spend a lot of time outside and have a dedicated space. 

Use one of a pair either side of feature, such as an outdoor fireplace, or place in rows to illuminate a wall. It's really important that you choose lighting that's designed specifically for outdoor use, such as Walmart's Globe Electric Neruda matte black outdoor wall sconce

9. Cozy candlelight

Image of LED candles around a tree and near a bench, fairy lights around tree

(Image credit: Lights4Fun / Oliver Perrott)

Candlelight can rarely be beaten — that beautiful flicking light they create is synonymous with relaxing evenings with great food and company. 

Chrissie Rucker OBE, says, "Layering candlelight is magical. A combination of taller candlesticks with lower tealight holders always looks beautiful. And using candle holders in different material is something I love to do."

We love how stylish the West Elm Farmhouse Pottery Essex Candlesticks are, however, if don't like the faff of real candles then consider LED designs such as the Lights4Fun set of two Tall LED Flameless Candle Lanterns Lights, from Amazon.

Emily Kelsey, of Lights4Fun, says, "Simply style a selection of waterproof TruGlow® candles amongst black metal lanterns on table tops and at floor level. The gentle flicker of candlelight will fill your outdoor space with a warming ambience and create the ultimate setting for evenings spent alfresco."

image of Emily Kelsey, Lights4Fun, lady with red hair standing up, facing camera
Emily Kelsey

Emily Kelsey is the PR executive at Lights4fun, a leading decorative lighting retailer. Emily aims to inspire people to create their own enchanting moments using exquisite lighting and creative styling that transcends every season

10. String up some festoons

Small backyard with festoon lights hanging across freestanding summer room, two loungers with cushions, paved patio

(Image credit: Divine Savages)

Festoon lights have muscled out good old fairy lights recently and it's easy to see why. The large bulbs are more eye catching and they're a stunning addition to your patio and outdoor spaces. We like the Lights4Fun's solar powered globe string lights on Amazon and they're easy to hang on hooks around your patio area. 

Jamie adds, "We wanted to use our space well into the evenings so picked festoon lighting. It's the perfect choice as it looks rather magical when dark, but isn’t intrusive in the daytime. The gentle illumination really adds to the whimsical charm and turned our garden in to the delightful tropical oasis we intended it to be." 

The best kind of patio lighting is what works well for you and most likely will include a couple of different elements. 

"A well-thought out mixture of task and ambient lighting will make your garden, porch, or patio an attractive, inviting space — and safer for people arriving at the property at night," adds Charlie.

Next, further upgrade your patio with items made from the best materials for outdoor furniture.

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride.