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Outdoor Deck Lighting Ideas That Bring Your Deck to Life

Updated: 05/22/2024
Lighting Ideas Bring Your Deck To Life

Outdoor deck lighting is not like it used to be. In years past, homeowners had a very limited selection from which to bring their deck lighting ideas to life.

But those days are gone.

Today, there seems to be no limit to the number of outside deck lighting products available. The sheer number of selections now makes it possible to transform your deck, patio, and pool area into a wonderfully lit and incredibly functional area that is perfectly tailored to your taste, style, and functional requirements.

If you are looking for a few creative outdoor deck lighting ideas that will make your deck not only safe and secure but also a warm, welcoming, and attractive place for both quiet evenings at home and for nights of entertaining family and friends, what follows are a few suggestions to get you off to a rollicking start.

The Amazing LED Deck Light

The first question you’ll probably be confronted with when designing your deck lighting theme is what kind of deck lights to use. My guess is that after you have done your research, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that LED deck lighting is the best of all lighting options.


Well, for one thing, LED bulbs last much longer than other forms of deck lighting (e.g., incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, etc.), consume less energy (electricity), and don’t get nearly as hot under operation, which makes them much safer to have around people, animals, and plants. This is the case whether you choose low-voltage or solar-powered LED landscape lighting.

Another good reason you’ll be highly tempted to use LED deck lights is because of the wide range of designs available. From old-school traditional to post-modern designs, you can believe there is some LED lighting available that will help bring your deck lighting ideas to life.

Outdoor Deck Lighting Fixtures Options

Another thing you’ll quickly discover is that the majority of outdoor lighting fixtures operate on a low-voltage system. This kind of landscape lighting design not only is much safer than those that operate on a high-voltage lighting system, but also it delivers a soft, warm and subtle light that is perfectly suited for illuminating outdoor spaces like decks, patios and gardens.

Low-voltage powered deck lighting systems typically can be purchased as an outdoor lighting kit, which usually will include a transformer, connectors and cables. For the mechanically-inclined homeowner, this means outdoor deck lighting can be a do-it-yourself project.

Solar-powered deck lighting fixtures offer homeowners an even easier installation process. If you don’t like fussing with things such as transformers, wires, connectors and cables, solar deck lights are a nice option indeed. Another great thing about solar deck lighting fixtures is that since they are powered by the sun, they cost virtually nothing to operate.

Now, if your deck lighting fixtures are going to be installed on a pool deck or other areas that will inevitably be exposed to rain, water, and moisture, be certain the fixtures are designed to withstand such exposure.

As your search continues, you’ll discover deck lighting fixtures that can be installed in the ground along the perimeter of the deck, fixtures that can be mounted on a wall, and fixtures that can be mounted along the deck’s railing.

On top of these options, there are outdoor recessed lighting fixtures that can be installed directly into the surface of the deck. These particular outdoor lights are ideal for both safety and for providing a captivating form of light.

Combining Low-Voltage & Solar-Powered Outdoor Deck Lighting

The best option for many homeowners is to combine solar and LED deck lights.


Solar deck lights have the drawbacks of being both less powerful and less reliable than low-voltage LED deck lighting fixtures.

So here’s a good way to implement the two types of outside deck lighting: use low-voltage deck lighting in areas where safety and security are the overriding concerns. These are places where you want light to always be available. Then install solar deck lighting in areas where safety and security are secondary concerns.

Solar deck lights are also perfectly suited for areas where installing wires can be a potentially very dangerous business (e.g., ponds, pools, and other areas where water accumulates). Solar landscape lights are typically your one and only option for installing deck lighting after a deck has been built. Low-voltage deck lighting is best incorporated into a deck during the installation process. It can be done after the deck is built, but many times, it is more trouble than it’s worth.

So, combining low-voltage and solar deck lights is many times the best way to bring your outdoor deck lighting ideas to life. You will have the security of knowing that light will always be available where it’s needed most, and also have lights that operate for virtually no money at all but in areas where lighting is not absolutely essential.

Deck Lighting Types

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most popular forms of deck lighting fixtures used today.

Post Cap Deck Lights

Post cap deck lights typically are made to fit a standard corner post (meaning they are a 4×4 size). Many homeowners tend to opt for solar designs because this means there will be no need for wiring into the posts of the deck.

However, numerous low-voltage post cap lights are also available, should you choose to go this route. You may find this option actually has even more creative and stylish designs than their solar-powered counterparts.

The number of styles available is virtually limitless. Whatever your tastes and/or budget, there is likely a style and design to match.

LED Post Lights

LED post lights are typically designed to direct light downward. Therefore, the lighting effect is much softer and more subtle than the lighting effect produced by post-cap deck lights. These deck lights work well as safety lighting when attached to stairway balustrades or near the base of railing posts.

LED post lights also come in a myriad of design options, ranging from basic plastic designs to those of wrought iron and burnished copper.

LED Step Lights

LED step lights are most typically used for safety. These designs feature vents and shrouds whose purpose is to direct light down toward the deck steps.

But many of the newer designs go beyond this utilitarian purpose and feature stunning design and lighting effects.

There are also LED step lights available that can be installed in the sides and risers of the deck steps, which offer a more stylish alternative to traditional LED step lights.

LED Recessed Deck Lights

LED recessed deck lights are typically used as up-lighters to illuminate the main surface areas of the deck. Its purpose is to shed a muted and diffused light over the main decking areas. These lights will, more than likely, be the cornerstone of your outdoor deck lighting. Every other deck light will complement these lights.

These lights, as with all of the other forms of outdoor deck lighting, come in many styles, sizes, and designs. You can easily find cheap recessed solar deck lighting kits at most home improvement stores that contain sets of 20 or more lights. So you don’t have to go broke lighting your deck with some nice LED recessed lighting.

Umbrella Lights

Umbrella lights are best suited for general lighting or a more laid-back setting. These lights most often use LED bulbs.

Mix and match these 5 types of deck lighting fixtures to bring your outdoor deck lighting ideas to life. By no means are these the only types of deck lighting, but they are the main types. Working with these types should get you off to a splendid start in transforming your deck into a beautifully lit setting where everyone will want to spend time.

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