12 of Our Favorite Patio Lights to Brighten Up Your Outdoor Space

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women have dinner party at house yard
Getty / M_a_y_a

Patio lighting is an imperative aspect of any nighttime gathering, and that's true whether it's an open-air dinner for two or a party for dozens. "When planning your entertaining outdoor space, it is vital to think through evoking more of the senses to have the full experience of your space (which will also help people remember the event, conversations, food, etc.)," Daniel McCurry, the co-founder of Father Nature Landscapes, says. "Lighting provokes emotion when used as art, but also has a practical use of getting guests outdoors. When lighting your outdoor space, you need to think of all of its benefits to get the most out of it." Ahead, we're showing you some of our favorite creative porch or patio lighting ideas that are guaranteed to elevate your backyard living space.

Lighting can take many forms—from candles to hanging lanterns, you have a number of options to choose from. But before you start thinking about what you do and don't like, it's important to take stock of the area you're trying to illuminate. "You want to create a soft environment around terraces, pathways, fountains, dinging areas, or art pieces," McCurry adds. "Outdoor lighting should be as seamless as the lighting the inside of your home, since we feel outdoor lighting is an extension of your interior." Porches, patios, backyards, and gardens all need different types of lighting, he adds. If you're on the hunt for functional and decorative lighting accessories for these outdoor entertaining spaces, you're in luck—we have several favorites.

We have plenty of options that you can shop right now; they are just a click away. For example, hang an outdoor pendant that looks as great suspended from your front porch ceiling as it does on your backyard patio. It's made of rattan and is just the thing to round out your outdoor décor. You could also opt for a minimalistic lantern, forged from metal, that can illuminate the path to your front door or double as a centerpiece. No matter what style you're looking for, you'll find a wide array of great patio (and beyond!) light ideas here.

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Glass Pendant

Tinker Outdoor Pendant Light
Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

Complete your patio by adding a lit pendant to everything from porches and decks to pergolas and gazebos. Consider one that dangles—it will light up the night.

Shop Now: Crate & Barrel "Tinker" Outdoor Pendant Light, $849, crateandbarrel.com.

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birch lane Manervia Bronze 8 -Bulb Outdoor Chandelier
Courtesy of Wayfair

A chandelier is a classic lighting option, inside or out. This modern iteration was designer for outdoor use; it adds a farmhouse look to your patio. Pair it with a metal-based table with a wood tabletop to complete the aesthetic.

Shop Now: Birch Lane "Manervia" Bronze Outdoor Chandelier, $404, wayfair.com.

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Vintage Lights

brightech ambience pro waterproof led outdoor string lights
Courtesy of Amazon

Dress up your backyard in vintage-inspired lights. String these through tree branches to create a stunning starry night effect.

Shop Now: Brightech Ambience Pro Waterproof LED Outdoor String Lights, $44.99, amazon.com.

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Outdoor Hanging Lamp

fatboy bolleke rechargeable led hanging lamp
Courtesy of West Elm

Dangling lamps offer plenty of overhead light on a patio. This product is rechargeable, so you can keep the area shining bright all evening long.

Shop Now: Fatboy "Bolleke" Rechargeable LED Hanging Lamp, $129, westelem.com.

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Pathway Lights

bannad garden cracked glass ball solar lights
Courtesy of Amazon

Create a lit path for your guests that leads the way to your outdoor space. Use these, which boast warm white LED lights, to do so.

Shop Now: Bannad Garden Solar Lights, $16.99, amazon.com.

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Outdoor Votive Candles

pottery barn flameless outdoor votive candle set
Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Enjoy the warm glow of natural candlelight without the fear of an open flame. The perfect option for family-friendly spaces or a bustling outdoor gathering, these flameless, smokeless candles are made from real wax.

Shop Now: Pottery Barn Flameless Outdoor Votive Candle, $12.99 for four, potterybarn.com.

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Dimmable Lights

banord dimmable led outdoor string lights
Courtesy of Amazon

Overhead fixtures, strung from trees or a trellis, set the mood. Hanging dimmable lights will help you do just that, as these feature warm white lights with a compatible dimmer.

Shop Now: Banord Dimmable LED Outdoor String Lights, $76.99, amazon.com.

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Teak Lanterns

teak lantern
Courtesy of Havenly

Place these unfinished teak lanterns on a table—they create an instant centerpiece that doubles as a light source. Plus, they feature a notched square stainless steel handle for a touch of contemporary flair.

Shop Now: Havenly "Crosby" Small Teak Wood Lantern, $69.95, havenly.com.

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LED Filament Lights

newpow outdoor string lights led filament bulbs
Courtesy of Amazon

Cast a warm glow from above with these LED iterations, which showcase incandescent filaments.

Shop Now: Newpow Outdoor String Lights with LED Filament Bulbs, $34.99, amazon.com.

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Outdoor Lamp

Outdoor Lamp
Courtesy of Kenroy Home

We typically consider lamps an indoor-only fixture, but weather-proof outdoor options are a simple way to add some warmth to your patio.

Shop Now: Kenroy Home "Egress" Outdoor Lamp, $279, target.com.

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Rattan Pendant

home patio furniture pendant lights
Serena & Lily

A hanging rattan pendant makes for an aesthetically pleasing outdoor lighting option, no matter the time of day.

Shop Now: Serena & Lily "Pacifica" Outdoor Pendant, from $398, serenaandlily.com.

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Modern Lanterns

outdoor metal lanterns
Courtesy of West Elm

Adding a lantern is a beautiful and cost-effective way to lighten up an outdoor space. Simple black metal ones look great grouped together on a pathway or on their own as a table centerpiece.

Shop Now: Crate & Barrel "Petaluma" Black Large Metal Lantern, $99.95, crateandbarrel.com.

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