I thought a round-up of contemporary outdoor lighting ideas, as there are some gorgeous products around. And getting outdoor lighting right is just as important as for indoors.
Whether you’re sitting outside quietly relaxing, having dinner with friends and family, or throwing a party your outdoor lighting is key to creating the right atmosphere and mood.
There are two things I wish I’d done differently when we renovated our kitchen, which included replacing the back wall of the house that faces into the garden. Now I’d install a couple of outdoor electrical sockets where I could plug in strings of lights. And I’d also choose different outdoor wall lights. The existing ones look OK and they’re functional, but they don’t have much character.
I’ve realised, too, that the secret to making the most of the British summer is to have all outdoor things in place ready to take advantage of the lovely weather when it does arrive. Waiting for the sunshine before deciding what to buy usually means missing the boat. The weather’s turned again and the opportunity missed
So here are my favourite outdoor lighting ideas. Browse convenient, portable, battery powered or rechargeable outdoor lights, outdoor table and standard lamps and contemporary festoon lights. Plus some very stylish outdoor wall light fittings that will add the finishing touch to your garden or outside space.
Outdoor lighting ideas for summer and beyondA little bit rustic, a little bit industrial – these LED Jar Lanterns with hanging chain are super-convenient as they’re powered by AA size batteries. That means no need for an outdoor power supply or trailing wires to the nearest indoor socket. They’re purely decorative, so just be sure not to leave them outdoors as they’re not watertight or weatherproof.
Nothing beats the flicker and romance of candlelight, and these simple, contemporary Brass Hanging Sky Lanterns have an elegant glass dome to protect flames from the breeze. Available in two sizes to hold either a single tea light or a cluster of five, each lantern is suspended on a metal frame with a chain and hook to hang wherever you choose. Alternatively you can stand them independently on any suitable flat surface.
I love the simple lines and bright colours (there are several available) of the Balad portable outdoor lamp by Fermob. Light and portable it can also be hung from stands (bought separately) as shown below. It has two light settings – bright and a more ambient glow – and it’s rechargeable via a USB cable. This would be fantastic for camping trips too.
When the weather is behaving, there’s nothing better than creating a relaxed outdoor ‘living room’. Complete the look with the Elsa Outdoor Floor Lamp which has a weather resistant white opaque shade with smooth scalloped detailing, a simple grey metal stand and base and an extra-long flex. And, of course, it would look great indoors as well.
Or how about this outdoor table lamp, above? The rechargeable LED indoor/outdoor Edison Lamp by Fatboy comes in 3 sizes and you can choose from a variety of fun, interchangeable plastic shades that you just drop over the lamp to give it a totally different look – here are a couple below. Again, perfect for camping and festivals, as well as the garden or balcony.
Maybe you want some strings of outdoor lights but fairy lights don’t quite hit the spot. Thestylish simplicity of these clear glass Festoon Lights from Graham and Green will add lots of character and warmth to your garden or terrace.
On to outdoor light fittings now. The “urban rustic” Barn Light is one of Garden Trading’s most popular designs. It’s based on the traditional outdoor lights found on local farm buildings in Oxfordshire, but looks equally good in country and urban environments alike. In four colourways (Black, Charcoal, Brown and Clay) the outdoor Barn Light is made from zinc-plated powder-coated steel for extra protection against the elements.
For a more polished contemporary look, this sleek Double Spotlight will cast a soft glow that fans out across your wall above and below. Its IP44 rating makes it suitable for outdoors and bathroom use, and it’s also available in a galvanised zinc finish that gives it more of an industrial feel.
Bulkhead lights are a very popular style for outdoor lights, and the high quality ones above from Old School Electric come in round or oval shapes, a range of sizes and either brass or nickel finishes.
To finish, this would be top of my fantasy shopping list for outdoor lights – the AJ 50 LED Outdoor Lamp by Louis Poulsen. Available in a white, black or grey finish, it’s inspired by the iconic AJ lights designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1960 for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen.