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guide to deck lighting

When it comes to creating an inviting and safe outdoor space, deck lighting plays a pivotal role. Beyond its functional aspect of providing safety, deck lighting also contributes to setting the mood for gatherings, enhancing aesthetics, and extending the usability of your outdoor oasis into the evening. At Creative Concepts & Design, we’ve built hundreds of decks in the KC area and we’ve installed dozens of different lighting options. In this guide to deck lighting, we’ll delve into ten different types of deck lighting, each with its unique advantages and considerations.

Importance of Deck Lighting for Safety

While lighting does add plenty of ambiance and beauty to your deck, it is also a necessary deck element. Adequate lighting is crucial for ensuring the safety of your outdoor space. Well-lit decks prevent trips, slips, and falls, making it safer for family and guests to navigate the area, especially in the evenings. We always recommend including at least the basic amount of lighting for safety’s sake and we ensure that walkways and stairs are always well lit.

Deck Lighting Sets the Mood

Lighting is one of the most powerful tools for creating ambiance. Whether you’re hosting a lively gathering or enjoying a quiet evening alone, the right lighting can transform your deck into a cozy retreat or an entertainment hub. Luckily, there are plenty of options for lighting your deck and we’ll walk you through them in this guide to deck lighting.

Types of Deck Lighting

Deck Post Cap Lights

These lights are installed on top of deck posts, providing a soft and subtle glow defining the perimeter of your deck. Post cap lights are available in various styles and materials, allowing you to choose a design that complements your deck’s aesthetic. However, they might not provide sufficient brightness for larger decks, so plan to use them with additional lighting.

Step Lights

Ideal for decks with multiple levels, step lights are installed on stair risers to illuminate each step. They enhance safety by clearly defining the path and preventing tripping hazards. Choose LED step lights for energy efficiency and longevity.


Spotlights are perfect for highlighting specific features on your deck, such as a focal point or architectural elements. They add drama and depth to your outdoor space but should be positioned carefully to avoid shining in eyes or creating harsh shadows. Spotlights can even be added to nearby trees to expand your backyard beyond the deck.

Deck Sconces

Mounted on the walls of your home or on the deck itself, sconces offer a stylish lighting solution. They contribute to the overall design while providing sufficient illumination. However, placement is key to avoid glare and achieve balanced lighting.

Deck Rail Lights

Mounted on the deck railing, these lights offer both safety and aesthetics. They illuminate the perimeter of the deck, creating a visually appealing border. However, be cautious about glare and choose fixtures with shields to direct the light downward.

Recessed Deck Lights

If your deck has overhead protection, recessed lighting can be installed in a ceiling or pergola to provide quite a bit of brightness. This is ideal if you have an outdoor kitchen and need task lighting for preparing food and drinks. Ceiling fans with light kits attached also work well here.

In-Floor Lights

Embedded into the deck floor, these lights create a visually striking effect while providing practical illumination. They are perfect for outlining the deck perimeter or adding a modern touch. Keep in mind that they may require professional installation and can be more challenging to maintain.

String Lights

String lights are a versatile and trendy option for adding a warm, inviting glow to your deck. They are easy to install and come in various styles, such as round Edison bulbs or fairy lights. You can even wrap nearby trees with these twinkling lights for a magical touch. But remember, while they are perfect for creating a charming atmosphere, they may not provide sufficient brightness for tasks like cooking. Think of these lights as accents to other more functional lighting fixtures.

Deck Pendant Lights

For a touch of sophistication, consider pendant lights suspended above your deck. They add a decorative element while casting a focused light on specific areas. Keep in mind that they may require proper weatherproofing and should be positioned strategically to avoid obstructing views.

Solar Deck Lights

Environmentally friendly and cost-effective, solar deck lights harness energy from the sun to illuminate your deck at night. They are easy to install and eliminate the need for wiring. However, their performance may be affected by weather conditions and the amount of sunlight received.

Portable Lights

If you are having a gathering and need more lighting but haven’t officially added enough permanent lights, you can always bring a battery-powered lantern or two to fill in until you have permanent lighting installed.

Deck lighting is a key element in transforming your outdoor space into a safe and inviting haven. By understanding the various types of deck lighting available, you can tailor your choices to match your design preferences, enhance safety, and set the perfect mood for every occasion. Whether you opt for the boldness of spotlights, the subtlety of recessed lights, or a few charming strands of string lights, a well-lit deck ensures that your outdoor retreat remains both functional and aesthetically pleasing, both day and night. The choice is yours and you can combine these lighting variations any way you like.

Kansas City’s Custom Deck Builders

If you’d like some guidance, the amazing design team at Creative Concepts and Design is ready to help. We’ve seen some pretty awesome lighting ideas and we’re always excited to share our expertise. At Creative Concepts & Design, if you can imagine it, we can help you design it and build it. Our design talent sets us apart from a lot of other deck builders in Kansas City. We really listen to what you want. Our designers can take an ordinary deck and tweak just one or two features and create something more functional, unique, or beautiful. We can customize your deck to fit your space and your budget. With today’s composite decks lasting decades, it’s worth spending a little extra time in the design stage to make your finished deck an addition that will add aesthetic value to your home for years to come.

We’d love to hear your deck ideas – the more creative, the better! We’ve been building custom decks in Kansas City and we have plenty of satisfied customers you can talk to. Call us at (816) 301-0275 or contact us online. You can even schedule a deck design meeting and get a free quote. Plus, we offer easy financing. We’d love to bring your backyard dreams to life!

Caleb Hunt in Kansas City, MO on Houzz  
5559 NW Barry Road #442
Kansas City MO 64154

Creative Concepts & Design LLC – Kansas City's Highest Rated Deck & Pergola Builder