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Outdoor lighting ideas – from the industrial look to exposed bulbs

Sunshine and moonlight – two natural sources of lighting which will enhance any outdoor area. But neither can be guaranteed and that is why it is absolutely essential to have some of your own outdoor lighting set up. 

In this article, we will take a look at some of our favourite forms of outdoor lighting – ambient lighting – that we can rely on whatever the weather or time of day/night.

Pendant Lights

Nothing wrong with a pendant light on a balcony or porch. It helps to make the balcony blend with the interior, especially if the styles are similar. Because it’s the outdoors though, make sure the lampshade is in a natural material, such as bamboo or rattan.

Recessed Lights

Recessed lighting is great for a porch ceiling. Being built into the wood means the lighting isn’t intrusive so it doesn’t take away from the space, and adds a warm, subtle glow rather than an ‘in your face’ brightness.

Conversely, you could consider putting recessed lighting in your decking. Place them in a line along just one board or even go over several boards so that you get a lovely curved shape.


Yes, chandeliers are possible outdoors too. Hang a statement version from the porch ceiling and be as elaborate as you like. 

@houzz: “Make the most of any overhead structures by hanging a statement pendant. Waterproof LED or solar-powered designs are widely available and are perfect for giving your terrace the feel of a real living room.”

String Lights

Who doesn’t love string lights? Certainly, they seem to have become the outdoor lighting de jour in recent years. They are an easy lighting form to set up and warm white bulbs add a lovely twinkling effect to an area. 

Wire cage shades

Give your outdoors a rustic feel with wire cage shades. With an exposed bulb inside the cage, these hanging lamps create plenty of light and, at the same time, look decorative. Made from metal, they look great against a cement, brick or wooden backdrop.


You wouldn’t normally imagine floodlights in an outdoor patio area but they can work, provided they’re not too large or bright. Dot several around an area – and especially near stairs or entrance ways where, like motion sensors, they can light up when anyone approaches the area.

Filament bulbs

Remember these? At the time LED bulbs were just a gleam in a designer’s eye. These filament bulbs give out a yellow, low light which provides a lovely muted glow at night. They’re very industrial style, thanks to their metal fitting and internal coil. These days you can buy LED versions of this bulb. They look so real that you don’t even have to ‘fess up to visitors.


Who doesn’t love a cosy lantern? Get one in white wood, shining copper or silver. You can hang them from tree branches, porches, overhangs or simply sit them on the floor. Fill with real candles or safer LED versions when there are kids around.