Who says all the fun has to go indoors after the sun goes down?
With the right patio lighting design, you’ve got the perfect setting for inviting guests over for an after-hours social, or some quiet time outside before turning in for the night.
The best news is that there are patio lighting options for almost any taste and budget.
If you’re thinking of installing or updating your own patio lights, take a look at these 5 easy tips while shopping around to get the most for your money.
#1: Patio Lighting Styles
Different lighting styles provide different benefits. While patio string lights are among the most common, your final patio lighting design will likely include a combination of outdoor lighting options.
Here are just a few of the many examples you might consider:
- Path lights — broad, downward illumination
- Lantern lights — illuminate walkways and provide general lighting for seating and dining areas
- Spotlights or floodlights — can be swiveled to focus on a particular point such as an entryway or favorite landscaping feature
- Brick lights — resemble a patio paver and provide upward light
- Rope lights — strings of small, evenly spaced light bulbs
- Deck lights — fastened to vertical structures like a post or overhead trellis
These are just a few examples to consider. Whether you’re researching online or browsing in an offline retailer, you’ll find a wide variety of lighting styles to fit your lighting needs and budget.
#2: Patio Lighting Techniques
You also have a wide range of options when it comes to lighting techniques.
Here are a few helpful hints to think about:
- Most patios look best with 2-3 different types of lighting. Consider the overall effect when combining different lighting styles.
- You want to provide illumination without creating a glare or shining in people’s eyes.
- Use shielded or diffused light for a softer lighting effect.
- Spread lighting — short downward-spreading lights are great for illuminating shrubbery or flowers.
- Silhouetting — position the light source behind some objects to highlight the shape of features like shrubbery.
#3: Patio Light Bulb Options
The type of bulb you choose can affect energy efficiency as well as the overall look and feel of your lighting design. Two of the most popular options are LED and incandescent bulbs.
- LED patio lights. Vivid and energy efficient, LEDs use 1/10 the power of a traditional bulb. You can connect multiple strands of LED string lights together without exceeding your wattage capacity.
- Incandescent bulbs create a softer lighting effect than LEDs. If you’re looking for a cozy, tranquil ambiance, incandescents may be a good choice.
For even more energy savings, look for solar patio lights that soak up the sun’s rays during the daytime and then convert that energy into pleasing light after dark.
#4: Standard vs. Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting
Consider a combination of standard and low voltage lights, both to save energy and create different lighting effects.
- Standard voltage lights give you strong, bright illumination and are great for post lights or porch lights. They let residents and guests walk safely without tripping and may discourage intruders. However, they may create too much glare for entertaining guests.
- Low voltage lighting gives you a more intimate feel without the glare, which makes them ideal for entertaining. One alternative is to install dimmer switches that let you adjust the lighting level coming from your standard bulbs. This lets you turn down the lights for a warm, cozy feel, and then brighten back up when needed.
#5: Patio Light Finishes
The finish applied to the bulbs you choose will also help create the overall lighting effect you’re looking for. Here are three popular options:
- Satin finish patio lights. If you want to create a romantic look for an outdoor wedding, satin finish patio lights are an excellent choice. These are also great for garden parties and wooded areas and create an elegant, opulent atmosphere.
- Frosted/opaque patio lights. These bulbs create a clean, fresh lighting effect with a soft glow. They are great for showing off outdoor furniture designs and can also be effective for kids’ parties, and holiday lighting.
- Transparent patio lights. These mix well with many design schemes and add depth to your designs. They look great on rooftop lounges and multicolored options create a festive mood for a party.
Do you need help selecting or installing exterior patio lights? Contact us at Complete Electrical. We’ll help you get the look you want while staying within your energy budget.