Patio Lighting on a Budget

outdoor string lights in green yard

Creating an outdoor living space gives you more than added square footage. Having space outside gives you a place of refuge, a reason to gather friends and family, and a habitude of wellness we all desperately need. Just don't forget the lighting, so you’re not forced inside once the sun goes down.

Solar Deck Lights

You don’t even need beginner wiring skills with these handy dandy patio accessories. A little drill know-how allows you to easily set these guys up along a railing, a walkway, the deck, or any other place that needs a bit of illumination. Bright LEDs ensure you can see what you're doing out there for added safety. Sets are priced inexpensively and can be found as low as $20 for 4.

solar lights along brick walkway near bushes

Pillar Candles

If you're looking to create an air of romance, try grouping together pillar candles of varying heights on a side table or along the floor. It's a classic look that we appreciate and respect, but those live flames, unfortunately, pose safety risks. In lieu of the real thing, try battery-operated flameless options to create the same ambiance. Pillar candles can be found in inexpensive sets and look almost as good as the real thing.

String Lights

These come in lots of different looks to suit any style. Choose the vintage look with clear bulbs that keeps things nice and bright. String them across a patio umbrella, over the deck, or up in the branches of a nearby tree to enliven the evening's festivities. Or mix it up with novelty lights that go with a theme, like nautical shapes for a beach lanai, hot peppers for a southwest courtyard, or delicate flowers for a quiet garden room. Or why not just keep it simple with plain white lights strung up in a tree. Who says it has to be Christmas to decorate a tree?

string lights in dark patio

Upcycled Bottles

Sound weird? Hear us out. We know many of you like to do with what you have, and when a super cool rando bottle comes into your hands, you’ve likely considered the many options when it comes to upcycling bottles. Try this one: head over to a craft website or Amazon and search for solar light kits that allow you to create a little magic with glass jars or bottles. Kits come with a string of led’s that you insert into the container and attach to a stopper that you use to plug the jar or bottle, making it waterproof. That stopper charges the lights during the day and turns the evening into magic once the sun goes down.

Speaking of Upcycling...

Really, that means using just about anything you have available--metal, glass, and even plastic. Make lanterns out of tin cans by filling them with water and freezing them. Then use a hammer and nail to carefully create patterns in the sides and illuminate with tea lights once the ice is melted. Or how about mason jar lanterns strung from a tree branch or placed on tables. You can decorate them with a classic ribbon tied into a bow or with intricate paper cutouts glued to the outside.

oil lamps hanging from wooden beams

Oil Lamps

You can find these in lots of styles, but we’re kind of partial to the modern resin ones that convince you they're real stone and mimic the look on an Italian terrazzo. They can be filled with citronella or mineral oils and have a lengthy burn time of up to eight hours. Not bad for the $20 price tag.

Fire Pit

If you’ve got the space and the desire for fire instead of battery-powered illumination, time to build a fire pit. It can be as simple or ornate as you like it. Either way, don’t forget the marshmallows. And the graham crackers and chocolate, ‘cause if you’re gonna build a fire, smores have to happen.

No matter what your budget, there's a lighting option out there to suit your style and sensibility.