24 balcony lighting ideas to create a cozy outdoor atmosphere
Our beautiful balcony lighting ideas will give you lots of inspiration to brighten up your space throughout the year
Need a dose of inspiration for your balcony lighting ideas? There are plenty of interesting ways to add some atmospheric ambiance – and the best outdoor lighting ideas for smaller spaces are all here for you to explore. Why not add some magic with a curtain of fairy lights, or place a flickering firefly lantern beside your seating area? You can swag your space with beautiful festoon lights too, and illuminate the walls with softly directed wall lamps.
Lighting is an essential element of any good balcony space. Marlena Kaminska, a designer at Value Lights, explains that not only does lighting increase functionality, allowing you to enjoy the space no matter the season, but choosing the right lighting is also central to creating an inviting atmosphere.
'Outdoor lighting doesn’t just have to be practical though: there are plenty of modern lighting options that can visually take your balcony to the next level in terms of design and style. When it comes to accent lighting, we suggest starting by thinking about the mood you want to create,' Marlena says.
24 gorgeous balcony lighting ideas for your outdoor space
Whatever your favored aesthetic might be, find your perfect lighting option to complement your balcony ideas.
1. Add a modern touch with festoon lights
Festoon lights are an absolute classic for balcony decoration, with plenty of styles and colors available. You can make a big visual impact with the best festoon lights strung across the walls, and choosing bigger bulbs placed up high can really add a sense of depth to your space.
'Begin to zig-zag each string of festoon lights overhead, securing in place with hook screws or cable ties to create a twinkly canopy to complement the night sky,' Emily Kelsey of Lights4Fun suggests.
'Alternatively, loop the string of festoon lights along the balustrade of your balcony, securing it in place with cable ties for a tranquil after-dark glow.'
The perfect way to add a touch of sparkle to your balcony is with these warm light festoon lights with LED bulbs. Powered by a solar panel, there are 50 lights spaced 6 inches apart that can operate on six different settings.
These plug-in lights evoke a vintage feel with their Edison bulb-style appearance. Hung from a tough black rubber cord that measures 48 inches, there are 15 LED lights that are highly weatherproof, durable and dimmer-compatible, too.
Why not go the elegant route with these stunning brass-capped festoon lights? We love the timeless beauty of the hanging bulbs, and the fifteen LED lights placed on this 10' plug-in cable are stunning whether lit or not.
5. Boost the romance with lanterns
Lanterns filled with candles bring in a sense of romance to an outdoor space and are perfect for curating a cozy balcony scene. Marlena Kaminska suggests using LED candles: they have all of the ambiance-boosting charm but without the risk of real flames.
'Designed to flicker like real candles, they’re perfect for creating a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor spaces,' Marlena says. These LED candles can be left outdoors all the time.
This duo of black metal lanterns will give any balcony a modern edge. The battery-powered LED candles inside emit a flickering warm light that's just as atmospheric as real flames. There's a handy 6-hour timer, too.
These twinkling firefly lanterns are such a magical addition to an outdoor balcony when evening rolls in. The lanterns are battery-powered and have a timer setting. As they're made from durable plastic, they'll need protection from the elements.
If you're after elegance and sophistication on your balcony, make a statement with these beautifully structured solar lanterns. The LED candles inside will glow happily all night, while the rope-accented frame adds a rustic touch.
9. Add a practical wall light to your balcony
Wall lights are a fantastic way to add no-fuss illumination to a balcony, along with a touch of elegance and class.
Ben Marshall, Creative Director at Hudson Valley Lighting Group, says balanced sconces are the way to go, as they can flank the balcony with even mood lighting. 'Put these sconces on a dimmer switch,' Ben says, 'so you can define the mood versus having hot bright light in your face while you are trying to take in a moment.
'If you do switch the sconces up, I would recommend indirect lighting – a wall wash so that light is never glaring.'
For minimal and maintenance-free mood lighting, these wall sconces from Amazon are a great choice. The four hard-wired light fixtures are made from sleek, rust-free aluminum and shine a soft, ambient light both upwards and downwards.
Why not add some modern artistry to your balcony lighting? The single bulb of this wall lantern is housed within a rectangular brass frame, giving a sense of clean, contemporary lines.
Hanging lanterns are a lovely way to add a whimsical touch to your balcony, evoking memories of camping trips gone by. These solar-powered lanterns are both water and dust resistant, and come on automatically at night.
13. Go for the easy option with cordless lights
Don't want to worry about sourcing a plug for your balcony lighting ideas? Look for designs that don't need one. Battery-powered or chargeable options are the way forward. Or, if you have an open balcony with plenty of sunshine, Thalia Shaw at Sparkle Lighting recommends using solar lights.
These styles shown above can be powered in multiple ways, and they are sure to turn heads with their soothing glow that cycles through different hues.
A tall, slender floor lamp is a great way to add elevation to unlit areas of your balcony. We love this solar-powered lamp, which comes in a variety of different hand-woven resin wicker structural designs. The light itself is 40 Lumen in a warm white.
This battery-operated light from Ikea is an absolute steal, and we're obsessed with the patterns it casts through the glass. The handy hook attached to the lid means it can be hung from tree branches or wall hooks.
A beautiful pair of matching table lamps can never go out of style, and these two are particular favorites. The delicate ironwork frames cradle a large bulb in each, which emits a soft light that's bright enough to read by. Both are battery-powered.
17. Save space on your balcony with pendant lights
Balconies are the perfect place for outdoor pendant lights. 'There are so many places to hang the lights from, and you can create impact quickly, as it is a smaller space to decorate,' says Thalia Shaw.
Use any covered parts of your balcony for pendant lights and hang more than one to create a real statement. These designs shown above are simple but certainly effective, and complement a laid-back scheme beautifully.
Suspend these beauties from your covered balcony and you'll have a hard time leaving. The tangle of LED lights inside has a warm light that glows happily through the clear acrylic of each orb, which is hung from a white electrical cord.
We're in love with the intricate patterns on these stunning lacy lanterns from Terrain. Made from synthetic Tyvek material that's hardy enough for all weathers, they can be used all year round and just need wiping with a soft, wet cloth when needed.
These open frames are hung with more than forty star-shaped LED lights. A built-in solar panel keeps them powered up, but there's a rechargeable battery for cloudy days, too.
21. Set the scene with string lights
Aside from festoons, there are other types of string lights to choose from that will instantly boost the mood of a balcony after dark. Strings of mini paper lanterns are one of our go-tos for setting a boho-chic vibe, but they complement all sorts of other schemes, too. Light-up stars, flowers, and other pretty shapes will also add character.
For something a little more delicate, fairy lights are a popular choice for those looking to add a cozy ambiance to their space. 'Being incredibly versatile, the placement of these lights can be adapted to suit the shape and size of your balcony,' Marlena Kaminska explains. Why not try wrapping them around any railings, fences, or the trunks of potted trees?
Emily Kelsey also suggests creating the ultimate backdrop by lighting up your balcony area with warm white curtain lights. 'Hang along the walls on either side of your balcony and plug in, selecting the timer function for effortless illumination each evening,' she says.
24 colorful, flashing stars will bring a sense of fun to any small outdoor space. They're perfect if you're looking for Christmas balcony decor or want to create a party vibe for a get-together with friends.
We love these vintage-inspired light strands which are housed on copper-colored cords. There are six spools of lights in the set, each with 27 warm white LED lights spaced out along the lead. Each strand has its own waterproof battery box.
What's not to love about a curtain of string lights? These beauties play host to 300 waterproof bulbs, all of which respond to eight different light settings. Play with waves, slow fades, twinkles and sequences all night long.
How should you choose outdoor balcony lights?
When choosing outdoor lights for the balcony, it's important to consider their practicality in all weathers, as well as their overall look.
Marlena Kaminska encourages choosing products with sufficient IP protection to shield against any moisture or dirt. 'The higher the IP rating, the more water and dirt-proof it becomes (most outdoor lights should have a minimum IP44 rating). Take this number into consideration depending on how exposed your balcony is.'
If you want a brighter light, perhaps for security, Julian Page, Head of Design at BHS, says you can opt for powerful, PIR flood lights, which use sensors to detect motion, automatically triggering the light.
'You can also consider "dusk ‘til dawn" lights, which conveniently provide light without pressing a button by using photocell sensors that detect natural light levels and switch on accordingly,' he adds.
Freelance writer and author Flora Baker is a keen amateur gardener and houseplant enthusiast. Her small garden in South London is a constant work in progress as she gets to grips with snail prevention, DIY trellises and what to plant in shady spots overrun with ivy.
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