Considering deck lights for your outdoor living space? You’ve come to the right place. This inspiration guide covers everything from the types of lights for deck builds to inspirational ideas and best practices for installation.
But before you dive into your lighting options, first learn just how lights for deck builds can enhance your space.
Benefits of Deck Lights
✓ Gives your deck an inviting, ambient glow
✓ Increases visibility at night for added safety and functionality
✓ Helps to accentuate deck design features such as your railing, stairs, deck board colors, and more.
Now that you know what benefits deck lights deliver, you’re ready to consider your lighting options to determine which will best suit your space.
Deck Lighting Options: Permanent & Temporary
Lights for deck builds fall under two main categories: permanent lighting that is built into your deck structure and temporary lighting which exists outside the deck structure.
You can choose to use one type of lights for deck builds or combine both types for unique illumination across your design.
Benefits to Permanent Lighting
✓ An all-weather solution: Don’t worry about losing your string lights in the storm, built-in lighting is durable against the elements.
✓ Long-term value: With enduring performance, permanent lighting helps you avoid the frequent replacements often required by temporary lighting.
✓ Spotlights your design: Lighting built into your deck draws the eye to the attractive design features and aesthetic beauty of your space.
Benefits to Temporary Lighting
✓ Often captures a boho feel: Layering temporary options like luminaries, string lights, and paper lanterns creates a whimsical, relaxed feel.
✓ Works well in smaller spaces: Not much surface area to work with? The subtle illumination of temporary lighting may be a good fit.
✓ Easy installation: Temporary options offer the easiest installation but are also more likely to require replacement.
The Best Deck Lights: Discover the TimberTech® Lighting Portfolio
Wondering “what is the best deck light?” The answer is permanent deck lights that give you the ambient glow you want with the long-term performance you need.
The TimberTech® Lighting Portfolio features several built-in lighting options for your deck railing, surface, and stairs, so you’re sure to find the right light — or combination — that works for you. Plus, our lighting comes with a 5-Year Limited Lighting Warranty so you have peace of mind your investment is worth it.
Installed in the risers of your stairs, riser lights illuminate your every step.
In-deck lights bring a gentle light to your deck surface and are typically installed along the perimeter.
Accent lights give your railing posts a soft glow.
Lighted Island Cap
Lighted island caps highlight the architectural details of your artful post caps.
Trace a glowing frame with under-rail lights discreetly stowed beneath your top rail.
Post Cap Light
Softly ring your railing posts with post cap lights that lend a touch of elegance to your design.
Best Practices for Lighting Installation
The best practices for installing your deck lights will depend on the type of lighting you’ve chosen.
Temporary lighting is often easy to install on your finished deck. Simply hang your string lights and plug them in or light your lanterns. If you’re using candles with an open flame, never leave them unattended.
Permanent lighting will likely need to be installed at the time of your deck build or during a resurfacing due to the need for electrical wiring at the substructure level. While you can install built-in lighting yourself, we recommend working with a contractor to ensure no wires are crossed.
If you do decide to install TimberTech lighting yourself, be sure to first:
- Ensure your installation is code compliant, by first checking with your local building codes department before breaking ground on your project.
- Review the Lighting Installation Guide for more detailed information regarding install.
Now that you have a good overview of your lighting options as well as DIY best practices, get ideas for how you can incorporate different types of deck lights into your design.
Ideas for Deck Post Lights
Deck post lights are an elegant way to add illumination to your deck perimeter. Lights for deck posts can bring visibility to transition points, such as stairs, while also highlighting the details of your railing design.
Your deck post light options include:
- Post cap lights
- Lighted island caps
- Accent lights
Ways to Incorporate Lights for Deck Posts Into Your Design
A SOFT GLOW AT THE STAIRS
Use post cap deck lights to create a soft glow around transition points such as stairs. The added visibility increases safety while also giving your space inviting warmth.
GENTLY LIT PERIMETER
Create an illuminated perimeter with lighted island caps which emit a gentle warm light that mingles with the fading rays of the sun. Pair your deck post lights with temporary options like lanterns for an even more romantic feel.
When adding lights for deck posts, be intentional about their placement. Adding accent lights to a specific corner of the deck draws you in and helps to designate specific places for gathering.
Ideas for Deck Rail Lighting
Deck posts aren’t the only railing component where you can add illumination. In addition to post cap lights and accent lights, you can also add under-rail lighting for a subtle glow along your rails.
Your deck rail lighting options include:
- Post cap lights
- Lighted island caps
- Accent lights
- Under-rail light
Ways to Incorporate Lights for Deck Railing Into Your Design
SUBTLE TOP RAIL LIGHTING
Use a combination of post cap lights and under-rail lights to create an illuminated path down your stairs. The post cap lights give guests a visual demarcation of where the stairs start and end, while the under-rail lights help them see where to place their hands as they descend.
ILLUMINATION FROM TOP TO BOTTOM
Looking for a unique way to light your deck? Combine lighted island caps with accent lights installed near the bottom of the post. The effect is two lines of illumination across your perimeter for a striking look — plus the design increases visibility twofold.
Ideas for Deck Stair Lighting
Thinking about adding deck stairs to your design, or already have a set of stairs? Deck stair lighting helps you avoid spills by increasing visibility for every step and showcases the dimensionality of your backyard build.
TimberTech riser lights are just one option for deck stair lighting, along with the deck railing and post lights discussed above. Riser lights install right into your stair risers (the board perpendicular to the stair surface) so you can enjoy well-lit steps as the stars come out.
Deck stair lighting includes:
- Riser lights
- All deck rail lighting options
Ways to Incorporate Lighting Into Your Stair Design
FULLY LIT STAIR DESIGN
Create a full glow with both post cap deck lights and riser lights in your stair design. Continue the illumination along your stone or gravel patio path with landscaping lights, such as solar lights, outlining the perimeter. Try to match the color temperatures between your deck lights and solar lights for a cohesive feel.
LIGHTING THAT DEFINES YOUR STAIR DESIGN
Have a lower deck with an interesting stair design? Highlight your unique, angled steps with riser lights. The lighting not only accentuates your attractive, unexpected design, but also increases visibility for surefooted steps.
Bring Your Bright Ideas to Life
With the resources and inspiration you need to start on your deck lights project, you’re ready to bring your bright ideas to life in our 3D Deck Designer tool. Play with your lighting options to determine which light or combination of lights work for your space. Plus, once you lock in your deck design, you can share it with your TimberTech-registered contractor so they can help turn your vision into reality.