HomeOutdoor Living IdeasOutdoor Deck Lighting Ideas to Illuminate Your Space

Outdoor Deck Lighting Ideas to Illuminate Your Space

April 21, 2022
Outdoor deck lighting ideas by TimberTech

Your outdoor living space is meant to be a sanctuary from the cares of everyday life. But when the sun starts to go down and night settles in, you may find that your outdoor escape could use an addition: deck lighting. To keep your laughter-filled dinners and evening conversations going, we’ve put together some outdoor deck lighting ideas that range from permanent installations to temporary halos of warmth.

Benefits of outdoor deck lighting include ambience and visibility

Benefits of Outdoor Deck Lighting 

✓ Improve your deck’s atmosphere with a warm, gentle glow.

Increase visibility at transition points such as stairs and perimeters.

✓ Increase your deck’s functionality by making it safe and useful well into the night.

Explore our Deck Lights Inspiration Series for a bird’s-eye view of your lighting possibilities. READ THE SERIES

Different Types of Deck Lighting

As you consider different outdoor deck lighting ideas, it’s important to think through several factors including cost, weatherability, and the ease of installation. The three main types of outdoor deck lighting have varying benefits regarding these factors, and one may be a better option for your outdoor space than another.


Permanent deck lighting is installed within the structure of your deck. While it requires proper wiring, you may be able to DIY the project.


Semi-permanent lighting — like bistro lights — is installed outside the deck structure, and involves some installation, such as hanging your lights.


Temporary lighting — such as candles and lanterns — exists outside the deck structure and boasts the easiest installation.

A Note on Cost & Durability: Are Deck Lights Worth It?

As you research outdoor deck lighting ideas, you may wonder “are deck lights worth it?” The answer will depend on what you value most out of your deck lights, whether it’s ease of installation, value for the cost, or long-term durability.

If you value all three, permanent deck lighting delivers the highest value for the cost and greatest durability — along with inviting, sophisticated aesthetics. The upfront costs associated with permanent outdoor lighting, as well as installation ease, will depend on the scale of your project. However, the superior durability of in-structure lighting means minimal maintenance and infrequent replacements, saving you money and time in the long-run.

Semi-permanent and temporary lighting has lower associated upfront costs and easier installation, but both types are less durable than permanent lighting. These will need to be replaced with greater frequency, which means continual long-term costs and time spent maintaining them.

Permanent Outdoor Deck Lighting Ideas 

Permanent outdoor deck lighting from TimberTech delivers long-lasting, high-performance illumination, protected with a 5-Year Limited Lighting Warranty. With its high durability and minimal maintenance, permanent lighting allows you to enjoy your deck every evening you want to, without worrying about frequent replacements. Plus, the polished look of permanent outdoor deck lighting will wow your guests as your gathering extends into the evening.

Types of Permanent Deck Lights 

Incorporating Permanent Deck Lights Into Your Design 

Now that you’re familiar with your permanent outdoor deck lighting options, you’re ready to explore ways to incorporate built-in lights into your deck design. As you consider these ideas, be sure to think through not only the aesthetics of lighting, but also its functionality in providing added visibility to your space.

DIY Tips

Many permanent deck lights need to be installed at the time of build or during a resurfacing project due to the wiring that often runs beneath the deck and within the railing. When choosing your bulbs, make sure to keep the color temperatures consistent across all your lighting fixtures for a cohesive look.  

Due to the intricacy of permanent deck light installation, we recommend you work with a qualified contractor who can install your lights just as you want them.

Use the 150W Power Pack and its accompanying dusk sensor and timer to set your lights to turn on and off automatically. LEARN MORE 

Semi-Permanent Outdoor Deck Lighting Ideas 

Outdoor deck lighting ideas include string lights hung above a small composite deck

Semi-permanent deck lights require less complex installation than permanent lights, but do not boast the same durability. Bistro — or string — lights are the most common semi-permanent lighting option.

Explore the different ways you can incorporate bistro lights in your deck design to create a welcoming ambience for your family and friends.

Bistro Light Ideas

DIY Tips 

When hanging string lights outdoors, keep these installation tips in mind to prevent injury and ensure you get the best use from your lights.

  • Only install outdoor-rated fixtures and bulbs. Look for lighting products that have “weatherproof,” “weather-resistant,” and “suitable for outdoor use” on the packaging.
  • Use outdoor-rated extension cords when needed.
  • Install a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), or fast-acting circuit breaker that is designed to stop the flow of electricity in the event of a ground-fault.
  • Use caution when using equipment like ladders to hang your lights and have someone nearby spotting you for added safety.

Temporary Outdoor Deck Lighting Ideas 

Temporary outdoor deck lighting ideas include lanterns and candles

Temporary outdoor deck lighting ideas include placing lanterns and candles in strategic locations around your deck to provide gentle, tranquil lighting. Ease of installation is one of the key benefits of temporary lighting, but keep in mind this lighting is the least durable and will require frequent replacement.

Lanterns and candles allow you to add a special touch to a specific part of your deck and work well in both larger and smaller spaces.

Larger Decks: Illuminate Gathering Places 

Do you have an expansive deck with multiple gathering places? Brighten each section with lanterns or candles placed strategically around furniture to create an inviting glow that draws family and friends together.

Smaller Decks: Provide Cozy Ambiance 

Working with a cozier space? A handful of candles are all it takes to provide a warm, flickering light for ambience. For supplementary lighting, hang bright bistro lights above your deck or opt for permanent lighting in your railing

DIY Tips 

Lanterns, candles, and other luminaries require no installation — all you need to do is simply place them where you want to enjoy them, and you’re done.

However, be aware that anything with an open flame requires close attention and should never be left burning around children or pets without an adult present. A knocked over candle could also potentially damage your deck surface. For a safer option, consider flameless or LED candles for the same soft glow without the flame.

Visualize Your Deck Lighting Options  

Outdoor deck lighting by TimberTech on a coastal deck enhances the design

With the designs you need to spark your creativity, it’s time to start visualizing outdoor deck lighting ideas in your own outdoor living space. Launch our 3D Deck Designer to customize every element of your deck — including lighting — and create your cozy, curated outdoor escape to enjoy at all hours of the day and night.

Turn Your Deck Dream Into Design

Play with shapes, colors, lighting, and railing to bring your deck ideas to life with our custom Deck Designer tool.

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