An outdoor deck can be a wonderful addition to your home, creating more living space that you can enjoy through the warmer months (or even year-round, depending on where you live). To get the most out of your deck, it should also be a lovely spot to sit out at night, and that means having effective lighting.
There are even a few options to give you deck lighting without a contractor or any sort of electrical inspection requirements.
One of the latest trends is to avoid the extra work and cost of wiring the deck and just installing solar lights. Modern solar lights have come a long way from those dim little garden lights you can buy at the local dollar store. You can now get solar lights with larger panels and batteries to really give you a decent glow. Without the wiring, you are much freer in how you place the lights, and you won’t require any visits from an electrical inspector.
Photo by SURROUNDS Landscape Architecture + Construction
If you want to take a more natural route, a few well placed burning torches can light up a deck with a warm natural flame. Not always the most practical, especially if there are a lot of people (and small kids) moving around. They would also need replacing as they burned down. You really can’t beat the look of real flames though, and they can be excellent for setting the mood if you have a small get-together. Citronella ones will do double-duty as mosquito repellents.
Photo by Edmunds Studios Photography, Inc.
You need to work out your locations to keep the flames away from any foliage, awnings or other flammable items on the deck. Once you get used to using them, they’re not hard to stay safe with.
If you don’t mind doing a bit more wiring work, here are a couple more lighting options for your deck.
This is one of the hottest deck styles right now, having inset lights in the deck itself. Lighting from below helps to illuminate the space for walking, but without creating too harsh a lit area. It’s atmospheric and quite practical for outdoor spaces too. Lights in the stair risers, or along the railings of the deck are great for safety as well as appearance.
The catch with in-floor lighting is that it can involve a lot more construction if you are adding this look to an existing deck. It will involve cutting holes in the stairs, risers or deck planking for the fixtures.
Photo by Nick Leith-Smith Architecture + Design
On the other hand, if you are planning out a new deck, then you can simply work around the inset lights.
If you have an overhang, deck roof or pergola, you have an excellent opportunity to create some style with decorative hanging lamps. Unlike hidden floor lights, hanging fixtures are intended to be much more visible and stylish. Go with a modern look, or create a whole different feel with antique globe lights. Colored Moroccan lamps are a great look for an outdoor deck too.
If you need more advice and ideas on outdoor design, especially deck or landscape lighting, here are some helpful resources we’ve curated: deck lighting applications, deck lighting options, and some additional deck ideas.