Outdoor Pillows

Lighting can make or break moments, moods, rooms and even entire parties. While the summer sun provides unmatched wattage in the daytime, outdoor lighting is an integral component of any nighttime summer gathering. Whether you're barbecuing with every neighbor on the block or simply nestled into a chaise lounge on the patio with a good book and a glass of wine, you'll need simple, suitable outdoor lighting.

Everyday Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Incorporate a range of styles into your patio lighting set—lanterns, string lights, wall sconces and candles all have a place and use on the deck or in the garden. When you don't need to illuminate a book or magazine, you can depend solely on soft, glowy string lights paired with a smattering of small, flickering tea lights. The string lights are both decorative and illuminating, while the tea lights set the mood and give the space a cozy, intimate ambiance. If you're enjoying a family dinner out on the patio after dark, a combination of lanterns and string lights should provide enough brightness for diners to see both one another as well as the food on their plates. Dress up the outdoor dining table with a centerpiece comprised of tea lights and small pillar and votive candles. When relaxing on outdoor lounge furniture, arrange similar candle displays on the coffee table and side tables for an equal distribution of candlelight.

Outdoor Lighting Ideas

There's something special about an after-dark backyard gathering in the summer air. Allow that one-of-a-kind feeling to guide your lighting choices: what will complement the natural aura of the evening? Also take into consideration the number of guests, and the overall nature of the party. For example, if you're hosting a formal dinner party with a moderate number of friends and acquaintances, you may want to keep the space subdued, using only string lights and candles. Hanging string lights brings a more traditional look than their wraparound counterparts and evenly distribute mood lighting, setting a tranquil tone for the dinner. For a relaxed family or neighborhood barbecue that extends into the night, outdoor lighting can be more casual. If the guest list is long and kids are still playing in the yard after dark, consider brighter lights for safety and accessibility and to keep the mood light and fun. Also, a change in lighting can signal to guests that your job as host is coming to a close. As things wind down, switch off or put out your wall sconces, string lights and lanterns, leaving just the candles to calm the energy of the party. Lower the music and take away dishes and empty glasses, and the night will naturally segue into friendly goodbyes in no time.

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