Fun With Outdoor Lighting

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It’s about that time again.  The beauty of the sunset has passed you by, the natural lighting is nearly behind the horizon, and you and your guests are not ready to stop the party.  And (alas!) your township does not permit bonfires in your neighborhood.  So, how will you keep the fun going after the sun goes down?

If you think I’m about to suggest you call one of those expensive landscape lighting companies to empty your bank account… you’re on the wrong track!  As outdoor rooms become, at once, the most sought after vacation spots and poured over designer spaces… outdoor lighting has become more fashionable and more affordable than ever.

But you’re no lighting expert.  With so many options available, how do you pick which kinds of outdoor lighting options are best for you?  We’re always here to help!

Walkway Lights: Walk way lights are downward pointing lights that attach to the walls surrounding a walkway.  This will make sure that everyone is safe on stairs, garden bridges, or uneven paths.  Many walkway lighting designs come with color options; not only for the decorative encasing of the bulb, but walkway lights can shine a slightly blue or pink hue.  Imagine coordinating the color schemes of your outdoor rooms, patio umbrellas, and outdoor furniture cushions to the color of your lighting!  If you want to use your outdoor lighting to keep your porch, gazebo, or outdoor living space lit up at night… walkway lights will probably not be enough.  While they provide an important safety measure and can add some brilliant colors, you’ll want to consider adding other kinds of outdoor lighting as well.

Post Cap Lighting: Decorative post caps are a fantastic way to add lighting and style to your outdoor room.   They are designed to attach to the railings on steps or fences, posts of a porch or garden bridge, or any other outdoor structure with posts.  One great part of post cap lighting is that it adds wonderful accents to our outdoor living space during the day, while lighting up the area at night.  Most post caps are either low-voltage electrically powered or solar powered.  Electrical lights will likely be more dependable and may provide more light, but they do require a skilled electrician to install the wiring and ensure safety.  Solar powered lights use a completely renewable resource to “power-up” during the day, and then shine bright all night!  Certainly the green and sustainable option, they also boast the easiest set up.  Just attach and you’re done!  Though, some might find them less dependable.  It all just depends on your preference! A long line of post cap lights across an entire porch or backyard structure will likely provide enough light for a party or get together.  Though, if you wanted to use lighting to highlight a certain spot, like the outdoor dining set, you’ll want to augment this lighting option with accent or hanging outdoor lights.

Outdoor Ceiling Fan Lights: If you thought the post caps were the ultimate fusion of fashion and function, you haven’t even begun to be amazed!  If you haven’t jumped on the outdoor ceiling fan trend yet, do yourself a favor and take the leap!  Outdoor ceiling fans will allow you to enjoy your porch or outdoor living space when the heat is high.  Especially on those humid, still days, your outdoor ceiling fan can provide cooling breezes to keep you comfortable.  Plus, a ceiling fan creating air flow will be the most natural deterrent to flies and mosquitoes!  Flying insects prefer still air that allows them to lazily buzz and land on innocent food and people.  But, a cooling breeze to us can be a wind that makes their tiny wings tire quickly.  You can simply wave goodbye as they fly to easier areas! Plus (of course), a lot of modern outdoor ceiling fans now feature light options as well.  Perfect over your picnic table, you can simply flip on the light to illuminate your evening meal or midnight snack!

Hanging Outdoor Lights: A hanging light will truly up the style of your outdoor room.  While many choose to string lines of hanging lights, like Japanese paper lanterns, you can also choose to make a dramatic lighting statement by creating focused pools of light over your favorite spots.  Whether you do this with an outdoor pendant light or even an outdoor chandelier, it will give your outdoor space a bit of height both spaciously and fashionably.  The closest to indoor lighting, you can create truly luxurious outdoor spaces that create both comfort and class with hanging lights.

Outdoor Table and Floor Lamps: For those who favor ambient lighting instead of overhead lighting, but still want the comfortable appeal of indoor-style lighting, outdoor table lamps paired with outdoor floor lamps might be your best bet!  Available in nearly as many styles as indoor lighting, you can certainly stick with your design scheme while creating your lighting scheme! A lot of lines contain short table lamps and tall floor lamps that match each other, which will give you a more holistic pattern.  While, mixing and matching styles can certainly create interest.  Plus, outdoor lamps can be moved to wherever you need more lighting.  If you split your outdoor table and floor lamps between your outdoor seating area and alfresco dining room, you can move all of the lighting toward the outdoor dining set when the family is gathered there for an intense game of Scrabble.  After all, you’ll want to make sure nobody is substituting a “Q” with an “O” because the low lighting lets them get away with it!

So, while the sun is a plenty beautiful and certainly functional lighting element during the day, you definitely have your options cut out for you when it comes to keeping the party lit after the sun has gone to sleep.  The most important thing is to have fun with your outdoor lighting.   I suggest mixing and matching, keeping your options open, and always making sure you can see the faces of the family and friends creating those wonderful summer memories!