Bright Ideas: Use Accent Lighting to Set the Scene

Lighting your outdoor space is a no-brainer during the day, but if you’re planning to use your patio after sunset you’re going to need more than what mother nature provides.

Patio String Lights

String Lights

String lights are an outdoor entertaining staple. Everyone uses them, and for good reason. They add fun to just about any backyard, they’re available year-round, and they’re super easy to hang.

You can put them just about anywhere. Wrap them around trellises, trees, and umbrella poles. String them overhead or run them around the yard. And one of our favorite touches: use icicle lights on a banister, and let the light drip down the handrail.

If you’re throwing a theme party, you can even get string lights shaped like pineapples, globes, whatever you want.

Pineapple Lanterns

Lanterns and Luminaries

Want to set up a cozy nook, but don’t have any portable walls for your yard? No problem. Divide your space into conversation sets with patio chairs and lanterns. The little pools of light and comfy seating can make even big open spaces a more intimate feel.

Set out lanterns with candles, hurricane lamps with tea lights, or mason jars filled with battery operated lights. Put them on tables as centerpieces, light up foot paths, or just put them on the ground by the chairs. Just use battery-operated lights if you’re going to put them by anyone’s feet.  “Burning down the house” is a song, not a suggestion.


If you’re looking for a low-tech lighting option, torches are a fun, casual way to light a party. Just pull them up and move them where you want them.

Fire’s an instant attention-getter, so it’s a snap to create focal points. Flank the food table, back-light the bar, and outline the dance floor. Bonus? You can fill them with citronella oil and use them to keep your gatherings bug-free.

Just remember, however you decide to brighten your evening, the spotlight should always be on having fun.