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By on Jul 21, 2016
Deck Lighting Ideas

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Your deck is the perfect place for an outdoor gathering. When the sun goes down, that doesn’t mean the party has to end. The solution is deck lights, which come in a variety to match your current style.

There are many options when it comes to light installation and it can be hard to decide where to start. Some homeowners want to provide a bright space to safely cook and play, while others desire the ambiance of subtle lighting. With a few lighting ideas, you can enjoy your deck any time of day or night.

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Unique Deck Lighting

Create A Plan

Before you shop for your new deck lights, you should create a plan to determine where you’d like your new deck lights. This will help you focus on what you’d like your lighting to highlight and where they will be placed, before any installations are made. Draw out a simple sketch of your deck and begin to label where the lights will go. One of the first things to consider as you plan to add lighting to your deck is how the lights will be powered. Unlike a house lamp, many can’t simply plug into the wall. So you must determine where the power source will come from.

Second, determine where you want your deck lighting to go and what it will highlight. Are you looking to create a safer outdoor environment? Deck stair lights are a great option as well as any type of overhead lighting. Looking for ambiance? Solar lights or string lights can easily provide a relaxing atmosphere.

Once you’ve mapped out where the lights will be placed, you can find the style that’s right for you.

Stair Lighting

Deck Stair Lighting

Decks tend to have specific safety regulations, as many local ordinances require deck stairs and steps to be illuminated. There are plenty of options available, ranging from deck railing lights to illuminate the steps, or lights that recess into the steps themselves. Always be sure to check your city’s code when planning a deck improvement project.

Low Voltage Deck Lighting

One of the more common options for homeowners is low voltage deck lighting. Low voltage deck lighting is easy to install and comes in a variety of styles to match your look. Low voltage lighting does require a transformer to reduce the voltage from the standard 120 volts to 12 volts. The initial installation may have higher costs compared to other options, but tends to take less costly maintenance. Low voltage lights tend to produce a soft light, but can vary by the type of bulb.

Many low voltage deck lighting options are easy to DIY depending on style, making it a good choice for homeowners.

Simple Deck Lighting

LED Deck Lights

If you’re looking for a green option for your deck lighting, look no further than LED lights! According to Energy Star, certified LED lighting uses at least 75% less lighting than incandescent bulbs. LED lights produce less heat, are extremely durable and have double the lifespan of traditional lights. Deck lights face plenty more elements outside and need to be built to last, making LEDs a great choice for your deck lighting.

Solar Deck Lights

Some homeowners would rather not bother with new wiring and electrical installation. Solar deck lights are another green option that is low maintenance and works well, without the use of a plug. Solar lights are becoming increasingly more trendy for outdoor lighting needs in all parts of the country. The solar cells charge the battery with the help of the sun during the day, then the lights turn on for about 10 hours at night to illuminate your deck. Solar deck lights come in a variation of styles, so it’s likely you can find one that fits your needs.

Post Cap Lights

Deck Post Lights

An affordable deck lighting style is a deck post light. These lights often point downwards at the deck, illuminating the railing and surrounding area. They add a subtle ambiance to the area and are easy to install. Many attach to your existing posts as a deck post cap. The average cost of deck post lights is between $6.67 and $11.17 per cap.

Recessed Deck Lighting

An option that is common indoors and outdoors, recessed deck lighting is a great option for those who want to create a safe environment without sacrificing style. Many think recessed lighting is limited to decks with ceilings, but one of the biggest trends in recessed lighting right now is sitting flush with the deck itself, highlighting an interesting deck feature. Recessed lighting has great safety benefits, whether it’s directly overhead to make sure the food you’re cooking is ready to eat or ensuring the deck stairs can clearly be seen. The average cost of recessed lighting is between $20 to $150 per light.

Festive String Lights

Deck String Lights

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There’s no doubt about it, string lights are hot right now for outdoor décor. Flip open any magazine and you’re likely to find globe lights or lanterns adorning trees and other outdoor features. String lights take very little effort to install and can be placed almost anywhere, as long as there is an outlet available. Be aware that string lights don’t last as long as other options, so be ready to replace when needed. Depending on the style and bulb, outdoor string lights can range anywhere from $14 to $125.

Pool Deck Lighting Ideas

If your deck sits next to a pool, lighting is a must. You will need lights bright enough so everyone remains safe in and out of the pool. While any of the above options will do, recessed and deck posts will help to clearly mark where the deck ends and the pool starts. Similarly, to stairs, check your local ordinances to see what is required. After all, safety should always be your first priority.


With a few deck lights, you can enjoy a beautiful evening with family and friends. Installing deck lighting can be as simple as a few string lights strung overhead to bright recessed lighting below. For bigger electrical projects, always remember to call a pro to help.

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