Festoon light ideas: 14 fun ways to light up your garden in style

Choose from these fun festoon light ideas to add a romantic atmosphere or a party vibe to your outdoor space

Festoon light ideas: John Lewis
(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

Looking for garden lighting inspiration? Try these festoon light ideas to instantly transform your space. Whether you want a cosy outdoor living room vibe or a party-ready atmosphere, festoon lights are a classic for a reason: they're effective, relatively cheap, and easy to put up, whether you're stringing them along a fence or hanging them from a pergola.

We've rounded up our favourite ways to use and style festoon lights below, from creating a romantic dining scheme to adding a fun touch to an entertaining space. Read on for all the inspiration you need, then check out our garden lighting buyer's guide for even more top buys. 

1. Choose classic monochrome for a sophisticated scheme

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Rust Collections)

Whether your garden scheme is traditional or super-contemporary, you can't go wrong with black festoon lighting. It's a classic style that complements any colour palette and will last you for years, even as your garden evolves – and will look amazing contrasted with white or light fencing and garden furniture. In this scheme from Rust Collections , they stand out against the soft colour palette of the furniture and the natural texture of the wooden fence.

2. Opt for multicoloured lights for a fun addition

Festoon light ideas: colourful festoon lights over an outdoor screen

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Nothing says party like multicoloured lights – remember the disco globes of your childhood? – but they've had a grown-up makeover in the form of these colourful festoon lights from Lights4fun. Used in small doses – strung along a fence, for example, or hung in a tree (but never the two together) – they add interest to a plain area and bring a fun, party-ready vibe to the space.

3. Create a romantic atmosphere in your outdoor dining area

Festoon light ideas: outdoor dining area with festoon lights and paper spheres hung overhead

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

Festoon lights are also known as 'cafe lights' for a reason – they're a great way to add mood lighting and set the tone for intimate settings. Use them to your advantage in your outdoor dining area, like John Lewis & Partners have here: they'll make a dinner party table feel extra special or have a similar romantic effect to candlelight when hung over a bistro set laid for two.

4. Maximise hygge in an outdoor living room

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Next)

We've already mentioned the power of festoon lights to make a space feel intimate, so it follows that they're perfect for cosying up an outdoor living area for the ultimate chill-out space – and we're using this room set from Next as inspiration. String along a fence or hang above the space using a pergola (see below) – the soft glow of the bulbs will gently illuminate the space and aid relaxation.

5. Use as task lighting in an outdoor kitchen

Outdoor kitchen ideas:

(Image credit: Cuprinol)

When you think of task lighting, you're probably imagining lights sat flush to a ceiling or pendant lights hung over a worktop – but outside, festoon lights can provide ample lighting power to assist in prepping everything from salad to skewers in an outdoor kitchen, as this image from Cuprinol shows. Happily, most garden cooking spaces will back on to a fence or wall, so it's easier than ever to attach some hooks and string along your lights.

6. Add interest to your fence

Festoon light ideas: patio set under shade sail with festoon lights on far wall

(Image credit: Ikea)

If they're not covered by climbers or fronted by tall plants, fences can feel quite plain in a garden that's otherwise filled with colour and texture – so add interest with festoon lights to instantly uplift the space. The lights will also define the boundaries of your garden when it gets dark, and can help guests find their way along any paths that run parallel to your fences. This design from Ikea also provides a pretty backdrop to a patio set.

7. Hang in a tree for a beautiful natural feature

Festoon light ideas: Outdoor furniture set under a tree with festoon lights running through the branches

(Image credit: Chaplins)

Trees are a key part of a garden design, so make the most of yours by hanging festoon lights in its branches. As well as providing a beautiful canopy for any seating or dining areas underneath, like in this set-up from Chaplins, the lights will accentuate the natural structure of the branches and cast stunning shadows for an instant focal point.

8. Hang from your parasol for a pendant effect

Festoon light ideas: festoon lights and string lights wrapped around a parasol

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

The beauty of festoon lights is that they can be hung from almost anywhere, so use potential areas to full effect – including parasols. If you leave yours up all summer long, or want to create a special display for a dinner party you're hosting, take your cue from this from Lights4fun. Intertwine string lights around the branches of the parasol, then add festoon lights, making sure they hang down for a pretty pendant effect.

9. Use structures like pergolas to add to your lighting scheme

Festoon light ideas: festoon lights under a pergola

(Image credit: Amazon)

Structures like pergolas and awnings are statement features of their own in a garden, but they come on to another level when they're adorned with pretty festoon lights, like this design from Amazon. Use as many or as few as you like to achieve your desired effect, whether that's a minimalist smattering of lights or a full-blown twinkling canopy (read on for more on that) – either way, your garden will look glorious.

10. Create a canopy of light for a stunning display

Modern garden ideas: dining area with festoon lights hanging overhead

(Image credit: Lights 4 Fun)

There's something to be said for maximalism in a garden – it's easier to get away with going overboard when your space is out in the open. That's why we love this festoon lighting idea from Lights4fun, which uses strings and strings of bulbs to create a pretty canopy over a dining area. That's what we call a magical scene.

11. Try squirrel bulbs for a grown-up take

Festoon light ideas: 'squirrel' festoon lights with a longer, slightly thinner bulb shape

(Image credit: Hicks & Hicks)

We love these squirrel bulb festoon lights from Hicks & Hicks, which are slimmer and longer than their more popular alternatives. Hung against a wall, they'd look a little like mini wall lanterns, but whichever way you use them, they're a subtle twist on a classic for those who like to be a little bit different.

12. Embrace the quirkiness of a mix of bulb styles

Garden lighting ideas:

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

While we were searching around online for the best festoon lights out there, we happened upon these from Cox & Cox, which are made up of an array of bulbs ranging from the classic globe shape to teardrop versions and longer, thinner designs. Perfect for lovers of a vintage look, the mix-and-match effect of these make them perfect for hanging from a tree or pergola for a statement finish.

13. Use them to frame a feature point

pretty she shed opening onto an outdoor seating area with cushions, a coffee table, and festoon lights

(Image credit: Lights 4 Fun)

For long or narrow gardens, festoon lights can be used to great effect to draw your eye to the end of your plot. Simply attach two sets of lights to either edge of your house, then trail both strings to a single point at the end of your garden – whether it's a summerhouse, like this design from Lights4fun, or a fence. 

14. String along a pathway using hook stakes

Festoon light ideas: festoon lights draped along a series of shepherd hook stakes

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Love the idea of festoon lights, but nowhere to hang them from? Light4fun's ingenious shepherd's hook poles make it easy to create mood lighting in an instant. Place them an equal distance apart along a pathway (or at the edge of a fence, if you don't want to hang them on it directly) then string your festoon lights along. Simple, foolproof and effective: that's what we like.

More lighting inspiration: