From apartments to houses, a deck can be a perfect place to spend your free time with your friends, pets, or those afternoons with a good book. As evening approaches, and the daylight begins to fade, you may find yourself not quite ready to end your afternoon indoors and may want to light your deck, porch.
With so many options on the market, understanding options becomes an important step in shopping for what you want, rather than the first option on the store shelf.
Color of Light
One of the first key elements to consider when thinking of lighting is the color of the light you'd like on your deck. While you may think about the purple, green, or red light bulbs seen on some porches, that's not quite what we're talking about today.
The warmth of lighting, often referred to as the temperature of lighting, has been known to create a feel, or environment of a given area.
Natural lighting often refers to colors from a fire orange and yellow, whites, and bright blues. With a wide range of options, cost of your build and maintenance remain relatively low, with fixtures being the major cost differences.
Ultra Warm Lights
Often referred to as having an orange tint, ultra warm lighting is used to create a decorative, 'warm' feeling, often compared to the visual warmth of a fire. The whiter scale of ultra warm lights are often used as vintage or fire/oil lamp lighting.
Used to create calm, warm, or vintage feeling environments, warm white lighting has continued to grow in popularity. This lighting is known to visually enhance colors such as pink, red, yellow, and oranges, becoming a popular option to visually enhance woodwork.
Used for home lighting, these lights are encouraged for task areas where you may want to be focused on a given task as they can even promote wakefulness and alertness.
Known for their blue tint, these lights give a 'clean' feeling as they produce a very bright lighting. Cool white lighting brings out blue, white, and purple colors making this a great accent for white accented areas.
A great accent for your deck, porch, patio, gazebo, or other entertainment areas may be colored LED lighting. With color options covering the entire color spectrum, and many lighting options being color changings or adjustable, this lighting creates the option to adjust the 'feel' or visual representation of your space.
While using warm colors such as orange or yellow creates a relaxing environment, colors such as blue or purple create a fun more energetic environment.
With many variables in color, most colored LED lighting should be bought in a kit to receive the same color of blue. This limits the options of fixtures available, with LED strips being a popular option.
A great option for any social area becomes decorative lighting. These are lighting fixtures or effects that, while they may not produce a lot of light in terms of brightness, create amazing visual effects. This includes fixtures and lighting such as flame LED light bulbs, which create a moving fire effect in any lighting fixture.
Another popular choice are hanging lights, which are strung from trees, railings, and other frameworks to create a flow of floating lights. String lights are found as simple bulb strings similar to Christmas lights, or as complex as miniature hanging fixtures. These miniature fixtures can often be found to match or compliment other mounted lighting around your deck.
When considering fixture styles, you should think about what the fixture looks like, where the fixture is mounted, and where the light is pointing.
Post Cap Lights
For decks, porches, walkways, and handrails using support posts, this lighting style covers the top of those posts. Not only do these lights create a great visual effect on the top of each post, these caps cover and protect the wood from sun and water damage to promote longevity.
Side Mounted Lights
This option works great on multiple surfaces, from walls, to stone fixtures, to the porch sides themselves. Often supplying a cross light that shines light across the decks, this option creates great visibility and a stylish appearance.
Under Rail Lighting
These lights create a great visual appearance pointing straight down along the outer edge of your deck or porch, creating a shining effect both from the top, and from the outside. Similar lighting is utilized under counters or bar tops to create a great accent.
Stair and Step Lights
A great addition to any set of stairs, from single stops to full staircases, these lights not only look great but also supply a safety aspect. Often shining both down and out across the stair, these lights focus on visibility. With solar options available to create stand alone lighting which may turn on through motion or light availability, there can be increased visibility and accenting as the sun goes down. These lights are commonly mounted on or near the edges of the stairs to create a downward glowing effect.
Focused on visually enhancing the surrounding landscape, this lighting source brings accent and texture to a dark smooth night. Utilize this lighting style with uplights, pointing up trees, walls, or decking, or horizontal pointing across ground accents such as water or grass fields.
Deck Top Lights
These lights are great for deck tops and pathway trails. While often mounted to the top of the deck or trail, lighting is often shined out and down across the ground. These lights are great for marking deck edges, or creating a landscaping visual accent. This style of lighting is also used on each step end to create an adjacent stair and step light.
One thing to consider when looking at new lighting is the available power source.
Standard Power Source
One option with lighting is a standard power source, hard wired into your house's power. This opens the options for light switches and dimmers. This wiring is usually larger in size, reducing the risk for failure, and the lack of complex components such as those found in a solar light create a simple, long lasting solution.
These light locations are limited to the location of powers, and should be installed by someone with previous home electrical knowledge, or a professional. Adding lights into this system becomes a complex task as well, as the new lights must be wired separately, or linked into the original setup.
Solar Power Options
Solar power has become a popular option for deck lighting, allowing extreme ease of installation, without any added wiring. Solar power lighting collects energy from direct sunlight, which is stored internally within a built in battery, and once nightfall arrives the lights often automatically turn on. These lights could be manually turned on or off as well, but with each light being its own source, you would need to go light to light.
Keep direct light in mind when installing solar powered lighting, as tree cover or roofing may create issues. With the more complex design of these lights, be sure to buy quality solar panel lights for longevity.
With a deeper understanding of the available options for outdoor lighting, you are able to better plan and envision what you would like your porch, deck, walkway, gazebo, and other outdoor areas to look in the upcoming season. With different lighting colors and visual effects, you can now accurately and confidently create the mood and appeal you truly want.
From a relaxing warm outdoor space to read your favorite book, to talking and laughing to the sound of music and the smell of barbeque, your deck space can now wow your friends and family.