Four Outdoor Lighting Styles Perfect for Dining and Entertaining

As we spend more time at home, whether it’s working remotely, raising a family, or simply enjoying the simple pleasures of life, our backyards are becoming a haven of activity. 

In fact, many homeowners now see their backyards as an extension of the home–three season rooms, screened-in porches, and solariums are being used to create exciting indoor-outdoor spaces. 

And these days, it’s not uncommon to see a full kitchen or entertainment area housed outdoors, complete with cooktops, televisions, and wet bars.

To keep the fun going long into night, you need great lighting! Luckily, innovative lighting companies have created a variety of stunning fixtures to perfectly illuminate your outdoor space. 

Outdoor Chandeliers 

Who says chandeliers are strictly for indoors? In fact, chandeliers are an excellent lighting choice for outdoor spaces. Not only do they make an unforgettable visual impression, but they also generate lots of light. One chandelier can easily illuminate a small or medium sized patio. 

Placement tip: one trick with outdoor chandeliers is that you have to have fairly high ceilings to make them work. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to hang them at least seven feet off the ground–that should protect even your tallest guests from accidental collisions! 

Outdoor Pendant Lights

Pendant lights are another stylish option for outdoor lighting. Smaller than a chandelier, pendant lights are often hung above dining tables or sitting areas in rows of two or more. The ability to choose the number of pendant lights and placement of the lights means you can easily shape them into your “vision” for the space. Since pendant lights are also popular indoors, they can make your porch feel like another cozy room of your house. 

Placement tip: If you plan to mount your pendant lights above a table, the bottoms shouldn’t be any closer than 32 inches from the table. That gives you ample room to move around and dine comfortably without being blinded by bright lights. 

Outdoor Ceiling Lights

Also known as flush mount lights, this style of lighting doesn’t dangle like pendant lights or chandeliers. Depending on the style, they may lay flat against the ceiling or extend by just a few inches, maintaining a low-profile. 

Their compact form makes them perfect for low ceilings, over entryways, and under eaves. In other words,  anywhere you might bump your head against a long pendant light! They’re also popular for covered outdoor spaces, since flush mount lights won’t be blown around by the wind like dangling lights.

Outdoor Sconces

Sconces are a great pairing with chandeliers or flush mounted lighting. Since sconces are smaller and less vibrant than larger fixtures, they’re excellent for mood lighting or path lighting. That’s why you’ll often find sconces mounted near doorways and windows. They’re also perfect for drawing attention to certain focal points like end tables and wet bars. And since they’re mounted flush with the wall, they integrate easily with small spaces and windy areas. 

Placement tip: Sconces come with either upward-facing or downward-facing bulbs. Downward bulb sconces are best for being at eye level or lower (like a garden path) so you’re not blinded. Upward facing sconces should be mounted higher on the wall to create ambient lighting.