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The Top 4 Most Beautiful *AND* Useful Deck Lighting Types to Consider

Deck lighting options have come a long way in recent years. Most homeowners rely on their back porch light to illuminate their outdoor spaces, but it often falls short in form or function. Either it doesn’t provide light where you need it, or they’re too bright to enjoy a quiet evening outdoors.

cozy outdoor living space with seating and grill on large deck

When you’re planning your new deck, you should think about how you’ll be using it in order to understand what kind of lighting will be helpful. By adding lighting to the design and concept development you increase the value, usefulness and comfort of your new deck. Not only do deck lights give cozy ambiance, but they also provide safety by illuminating any trip hazards.


  • It’s ideal to install when you’re building (or at least have it pre-wired), because it’s difficult to install after the deck is complete.
  • Look for powder-coated or rust-free and fade-resistant products to withstand the elements.
  • LED bulbs are energy efficient and should be used whenever possible.
  • Try to visualize where are there likely to be shadows or hard to see spaces?
  • Decide where you need lighting for safety, and where you need style for cozy ambiance.

After you’ve considered the above points you can start to get down to decision making. While there are a lot of options to wade through, we tend to sort deck lighting ideas into the following 4 categories:

In-deck or Ambient Lights:

These are mounted flush with the deck surface. They create soft light and give an ambient up-glow. They’re great for marking the perimeter of the deck or highlighting different levels, especially when there are aren’t railings.

In-deck ambient light

Stair or Riser lights:

These lights are both elegant and helpful. They can be installed in the tread or riser of the stair and give a soft glow. They subtly light the path to make staircases safe at night. They can sit on each step or be staggered to every second.

Stair riser lights help light your path

Post Cap or Sleeve lights:

You can choose to install lights around the cap of the post, or mounted on the sleeve of the post itself. The post lights are usually dome shaped, causing the lights to shine directly down, casting a delicate glow on the decking. Cap lights are a ring or collar of light around the post cap. Keep in mind that these lights would be at eye level when seated and might make it hard to see past at night.

Post top lights on white railing

Under-rail lights:

These lights are mounted under the rail and run in a continuous line, or separated and placed between every few balusters. They are hidden and provide a soft down-glow of light around the perimeter of your deck.

White under railing lights on deck

Don’t forget other smart options, like timers or remote dimmers giving you complete control. Timers can be set to come on at dusk and off at dawn or run for specific hours. Dimmers allow you to control the ambiance with just a click of a button.

Smart lighting choices made early on in the design can save you money, and provide you with greater satisfaction in the long run. Living in Halifax, we all want to make the most of the deck season we get each year. So while your deck lighting increases the safety of your family and guests, it should also extend the usability of your outdoor space.

We’ve pulled together this gallery of some of our most popular outdoor lighting options. Our expert deck and deck lighting designers are always a click or a call away to discuss what choices might best “bring your ideas to light” (902) 201-2843