Outdoor Lighting Tips

Your outdoor space may be built around making the most of natural light, but come nightfall the glow of the moon and fireflies will only get you so far. If you want to dine alfresco—or simply illuminate your entryway for late-night guests—you’ll need to find some outdoor lighting to suit your terrace, porch, or patio. Try a wrought-iron pendant or a statement chandelier over the dining area. Or flank the front door with wall-mounted lanterns. For a real statement, try a group of two or three on the porch or covered patio. Just remember to make sure a fixture is damp rated to accommodate your outdoor setting—covered or not. Here, we’ve collected some instructional examples from the AD archives.

The outdoor dining area at Michelle Pitcher’s Palladian-inspired villa in San José del Cabo, Mexico, is crowned with a chandelier by Formations.

Architect John Murray and decorator Elissa Cullman employed a glass cube lantern in this pergola-topped outdoor dining area in a Manhattan penthouse.

A wrought-iron lantern illuminates the 18th-century French stone doorway of designer and antiques dealer Richard Shapiro’s Malibu, California, retreat.
The rear loggia of a Los Angeles villa designed by Mark Boone resembles an outdoor living room, illuminated by a couple of wrought-iron lanterns.
Simple black sconces from YLighting illuminate this sprawling rooftop terrace in a Manhattan penthouse devised by Dufner Heighes and Brooklyn-based landscape firm Future Green Studio.