11 Outdoor Lighting Ideas to Brighten Up Your Summer Evenings

Updated 05/23/18
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Outdoor Lighting Ideas
Courtesy of CB2

When summer finally hits, there is little we want more than to head outside at the end of a long workday. The ability to cook, eat, and enjoy the balmy nights is rejuvenating in more ways than one. There's just one thing that puts a damper on summer evenings as soon as the sunset hits: the lack of proper outdoor lighting. We spend so much time planning every inch of décor and lighting inside our homes, why is it that we revert back to the bare minimum in our backyards?

To brighten up your summer nights once and for all, we handpicked our favorite outdoor lighting ideas. Spoiler alert: They go beyond string lights (even though we still are fierce advocates for the fairy lights that make every outdoor space feel magical). Best of all, you don't even need an electrician for many of them, which makes these options easy to install and rental-friendly. Ready to take your weekday dinners outside? Just add these outdoor lighting ideas to your backyard or balcony and enjoy.

edison string lights
CB2 Edison String Lights $40
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String lights are the foundation of any great outdoor space. String a set over an outdoor dining area, light up a pergola, or wrap them around a tree. Your backyard will be glowing.

Smart & Green Globe Portable LED Lamp $299
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Waterproof, shockproof, and cordless, these portable LED lamps are the most versatile for the backyard. Throw them in the pool, light a path, or move them around as needed. They light up in 36 colors.

CB2 Kini Rattan Lanterns $50
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If you are renting or aren't ready to install electrical outdoors, lanterns are a fantastic quick and affordable way to add a warm glow to your summer evenings. The more the merrier.

Prism Outdoor Table Lamp - Crate and Barrel
Crate & Barrel Prism Outdoor Table Lamp $299
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Stylish outdoor lamps are few and far between, but if you want to add a cozy outdoor living room feel to a roofed area, this weather-resistant lamp makes a great addition to a covered porch or patio.

Bollard Oil Lamp
Design Within Reach Bollard Oil Lamp $175
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Oil lamps might be a thing of the past indoors, but outside, they can be a beautiful addition to a dining table or lounge area. Their nautical feel lends them well to outdoor spaces that are near bodies of water.

Pottery Barn Alvin Indoor/Outdoor Pendant $179 $107
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Add this pendant light under a covered porch or patio to make it feel cozier and more like a true living room. This lighting fixture lends itself to a dining area or lounge area. It even works instead of sconces by the front door. 

Cast-Iron Fire Bowl
Design Within Reach Cast-Iron Fire Bowl $349
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Outdoor lighting doesn't have to mean electrical, and one of the best ways to add both heat and light in your backyard on summer nights is a fire pit. Bonus: You get to roast (and eat) s'mores.

Nyhavn Outdoor Wall Sconce
Louis Poulsen Lighting Inc. Nyhavn Outdoor Wall Sconce $1428
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Outdoor sconces are typically found flanking the front door, but they have a variety of other uses, like bringing light to an outdoor living room. This classic design from Louis Poulsen is a favorite.

Matte White & Oak Dome Wood & Metal Dome String Lights
Rejuvenation Matte White & Oak Dome Wood & Metal Dome String Lights $99
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More than just classic string lights, this small upgrade will look extra chic over your outdoor dining area.

Henry Rattan Pendant
CB2 Henry Rattan Pendant $229
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Add the look of an outdoor pendant light to your space without calling an electrician. This rattan pendant by CB2 is battery powered and doesn't require a cord. Just find a hook to hang it up and voilà.

Fatboy Bolleke LED Indoor/Outdoor Lantern
Rejuvenation Fatboy Bolleke LED Indoor/Outdoor Lantern $99
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These cordless lanterns are genius when you want to add some flair to your outdoor area for a party. Hang them to trees, ceiling beams, even a clothing line. 

Next up: Tour a lifestyle blogger's gorgeous outdoor terrace renovation.

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