7 Outdoor Deck Lighting Ideas

Decking Lights and Ideas for your Maryland, DC, or Northern VA home

Get The Most From Your Deck

It's a perfect summer night, warm with a light breeze and starry sky. But, everyone in your house is inside, family or guests, because it's too dark to see outside on your deck. Many homeowners with an outdoor deck can't enjoy it at night because of this. This doesn't have to be you. Add some outdoor deck lighting to your home and make the most of your deck, even during summer when bugs are everywhere! Host outdoor dinners and bbq's, throw some parties and do anything you want late into the evening with some decking lights. Read on to see how you can make this happen.

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Looks For Outdoor Deck Lighting

First, let's go into what kind of look you can go for. If you want lights with more impact, look for brighter bulbs and colors and larger light fixtures. This method includes the fixture as part of the overall look. In-ground and pendant lights fit this category and are great for outlining boundaries and bars/tables.

For a more minimalistic impact, choose lights with matte or darker shading, flat or low profiles, and a thin shadow. This can make whatever the lights are shining on the focus instead of the fixture. Spotlights and uplights are great choices and can highlight smaller areas, walls, or any plants/art you may have on your deck.

Light and deck sizes differ, so measuring your deck post caps, rails, steps, and risers are a good idea before planning and shopping.

Outdoor deck lighting ideas - using string lights

Outdoor Deck Lighting Ideas

Recessed Deck Lighting

Recessed lighting means the lights are even with the surface. The lights can shine down from ceilings or upward from the ground and be strong enough for people to step on them and not break. You can use these lights along the floorboards next to railings and other boundaries or have them draw attention to statues or plants.

recessed ceiling deck lights

Accent Deck Lighting

The best way to describe these lights is they are lights pointing downward to enhance the ambiance. Unlike spotlights which are for lighting main areas, accent lights are for less key points. A great example is wall grazing lighting because it accents the look of textured walls. You can also use tape lights for underneath railings and tables to accent the borders.

Outdoor deck lighting ideas- accent lights under rail

Step Deck Lighting

Smaller in size, these lights go on the vertical part of the step. These lights are mostly to enhance safety but they can also add some style to your deck stairs. They can be on each step or every other depending on the number of stairs and your budget. All you need to do next is find the fixture which suits your taste!

Step deck lighting

Rail Post Deck Lighting

Lighting your deck rail posts can be enough to brighten most of your deck! Make sure to measure them first so you can find the correct size. These lights cast light on the boundary of your deck and can spill over onto either side.

A Few Other Outdoor Deck Lighting Ideas

You can use deck lighting to highlight important areas and features on your outdoor feature, such as:

  • Installing spotlights higher up so they point down on areas like grilling stations and tables.
  • Using string lights under or along railings to highlight boundaries.
  • Putting pendant lights or chandeliers on the ceiling.

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Try Some Outdoor Deck Lighting Ideas

A deck is essentially another room of your home, but outside. Shouldn't you able to use it at night too?! Outdoor deck lighting is the best solution to your dark deck dilemma. Since these lights are outside, they are constantly in the elements like rain, wind, sleet, etc. They show wear and tear faster, which means either getting new fixtures altogether or you can paint them yourself.

Learn how to your paint light fixtures >>

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