Our Favorite Outdoor Deck Lighting Ideas

Every deck needs great lighting. The best outdoor deck lighting ideas for your deck will suit your style, as well as provide illumination for ambiance and safety. From recessed lighting to string lights that give off a soft glow, outdoor lighting can set the mood for more enjoyable moments on your deck with family and friends.

We’ve gathered some of our favorite deck lighting ideas to inspire you. However, before we share some ideas and photos of some attractive outdoor lighting ideas from Trex® OutdoorLighting™ and other spots across the web, let’s address some key questions about what types of lighting you can use on an outdoor deck.

What Types of Outdoor Deck Lighting Can I Use?

There are a variety of outdoor deck lighting options to suit your own personal aesthetic. You can choose from post lights, in-deck lighting, overhead lighting, string lights, and more. Some types of deck lighting are easier to install than others. Regardless of your choice, you’ll want to check to be sure your lighting is compliant with local building codes and requirements.

When considering deck lighting ideas, think about how you use your deck. For example, do you use it primarily for entertaining a large group of guests or enjoying morning coffee alone? If you haven’t built your deck just yet, it’s worth investigating local building codes to be sure your deck meets legal requirements. You may also want to consider hiring an electrician unless you’ve had experience with electrical projects.

Can LED Strip Lights Be Used Outdoors?

LED strip lights are both functional, attractive, and convenient for use on an outdoor deck. They come rolled in a strip and you can cut them to the exact length you need. Many LED strip lights are weatherproof and can be safely run underneath your deck railings or along the edge of your deck to provide illumination.

With those common questions about deck lighting out of the way, let’s explore some of our favorite recommendations for outdoor deck lighting.


Low Voltage Deck Lighting

Low voltage deck lighting not only looks great, but usually doesn’t require an electrician to install for use with an outdoor deck. Installing low voltage deck lighting can be a relatively simple DIY project for even those without electrical wiring experience.

Low voltage lighting affords homeowners a wealth of options, such as post lights or stair lights. Learn more about how to install low-voltage deck lighting here.


String Lights

String lights have a festive vibe that makes even a small gathering on your deck feel like a holiday. You can use them on your outdoor deck, or on an enclosed porch year ‘round. String lights can be vertically hung from the ceiling giving a curtain effect or draped along the wall for a carefree, bohemian look.


LED Deck Lights

These inventive lights can be embedded in your deck itself to create an ambient feel, without posing a tripping hazard for guests. Installing deck lighting within the boards themselves gives a visual cue for the deck’s edge. As an added bonus, they can be used to illuminate plants and other landscaping features.

LED deck lights may cost more at the outset than filament bulbs, but can last up to 50 times longer. Learn more about LED vs incandescent light bulbs.


Photo © 2019 Scripps Networks, LLC. Used with permission; All rights reserved.
Photo © 2019 Scripps Networks, LLC. Used with permission; All rights reserved.

Recessed Deck Stair Lighting

Making sure your stairs are well-lit can help prevent trips and stumbles with a gentle glow. Much like lights embedded in your decking itself, adding deck stair lighting can be an attractive way to light the way for guests to enjoy your deck.

Want to try your hand at adding lighting to your deck stairs (and boosting backyard or curb appeal)? Learn more about how to install recessed deck stair lighting.


Post Lighting

Adding lighting to posts is a clever way to make it easier to see stairs that lead to your deck, as well as provide line-of-sight lighting on your deck’s railing. Post lights come in both solar and LED varieties, built into the post caps themselves.

Brightly glowing post caps against this dark railing gives this modern wire railing an even more modern and bespoke feel. Recessed lights within the stairs themselves complete the look.


Railing Lights

Similar to using post lighting along your deck’s staircase, adding post lights to the railing surrounding your deck also provides you with no-fuss built-in lighting. Not only is it functional, but railing lights eliminate the need to find space on your railing to place additional sources of lighting.


Solar Lights

If you live in an area that gets a lot of sun, solar lights can be a good choice for adding lighting to your deck or patio. You may want to consider additional forms of deck lighting to complement them since, on their own, they may not be strong enough to provide sufficient lighting. However, solar lights are cost-effective and easy to install.

Solar lights that are low-to-the-ground can nicely offset potted plants or shrubbery, giving a luxurious feel to a backyard deck with a garden.


Overhead Hanging Lights or Chandeliers

If your deck has a roof or an overhang, overhead lighting can be a beautiful and functional addition. An outdoor chandelier can add personality to your deck. Depending on your style, you can opt for an ornate chandelier with hanging crystals to reflect light, or opt for a simple, rustic-style chandelier. This chandelier keeps it simple-yet-stylish with soft bulbs above a cozy deckside breakfast bar.

Adding a ceiling fan to an outdoor deck with a roof can also be a practical way to add more lighting while helping air circulate on warm summer nights.


Lanterns and Candles

Lanterns and candles give a soft, flickering glow to your surroundings. They’re also inexpensive and you can adjust the amount of lighting based on how many you choose to light at once. The more candles or lanterns, the brighter and more vibrant the space, making it a great space to entertain or the ideal place to unwind with a good book by candlelight Fewer candles can create a more intimate or relaxing vibe.


There is no shortage of ideas for outdoor deck lighting! Depending on your style, taste, and space, there’s a look that will work for your deck and budget. For more inspiration, visit our gallery to get more outdoor deck lighting ideas