Outdoor Lighting Ideas

On warm nights with soft breezes, there’s no better idea than spending the evenings outside. The quickest way to set the stage for al fresco dinners and gatherings is to create an atmosphere bathed in soft, warm light. Try our outdoor lighting ideas to update and illuminate your space. Pick just one way to light your outdoor space for a cohesive look, or combine several ideas for variety.

Small and large outdoor lanterns on a beach


Outdoor lighting is the ultimate shortcut to ambiance, but it has a practical purpose, too. There should be enough lighting so that your guests can see to safely walk around, interact with one another, mix cocktails at the bar and balance their plates. Lanterns are an easy solution thanks to their sturdy proportions and glass enclosures that keep flames protected from wind. Space lanterns along a backyard path to light the way. Use them to guide guests along deck stairs or uneven surfaces on patios and porches. You can also try placing a lantern on top of an accent table next to a lounge chair. Consider hanging a few beneath an outdoor umbrella or suspending them from hooks along a roofline. For an enchanted forest effect, hang lanterns of different sizes and shapes from the lower branches of the biggest backyard tree.

String Lights

String lights add a warm glow to any outdoor space. Recreate the night-time romance of a Parisian bistro by hanging string lights in a crisscross pattern under your porch roof or from tree to tree in your yard. Attach clear globe string lights along the beams of pergola and patio roofs, or suspend them from poles erected at each corner of patios and decks. Cluster multiple strands along the upper edge of a fence line, or create illuminated wall art by arranging them in a geometric pattern on a solid outdoor wall. Use string lights with smaller bulbs (similar to the holiday variety) all year round to wrap tree trunks and dress up deck railings, picket or wrought-iron fences, and stair railings. For subtle glow and sparkle, look for tiny bulbs strung along a delicate wire wrap.

Vintage inspired string lights

Tiki Torches

Tiki torches evoke tropical island celebrations. Line your yard or garden space with torches to add drama, define pathways and cast wide circles of light. Consider placing them next to outdoor sculptures or as a focal point in plant beds. Cluster miniature electric tiki torches in groups of three or five in an outdoor planter filled with low-profile flowers. Looking for outdoor lighting ideas that double as environmentally-friendly mosquito repellent? Choose tiki torches that you can fill with citronella fuel.

Flameless Candles

One of our favorite outdoor lighting ideas is incorporating battery-powered flameless candles. They add soft light to patios and yards without needing a live flame. Designed with realistic flickering patterns, flameless candles stay lit regardless of wind gusts or a few drops of rain—turn them on and off with the flip of a switch. Some even have a timer function so you can customize lighting for parties, dinners and evenings at home. Place flameless candles inside hurricane vases or lanterns, or group different sizes on a tray to create a glowing centerpiece for your outdoor dinner table. Set pillars along patio ledges or deck railings for a subtle glow. To create an illuminated entrance, arrange pillar, votive and tealight candles on each side of the steps leading up to your front door. For charming garden lighting, put flameless tealights in mason jars, and hang them on plant hooks along garden paths.

What are your favorite outdoor lighting ideas? Let us know by using the hashtag #CrateStyle.

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