I have always believed that lighting is what makes or breaks any room – whether it’s indoors or out. So adding some spectacular outdoor lights is one of the last steps I need to do in order to finish the deck makeover I started in the spring. With all of these outdoor pergola lighting ideas, I should be able to come up with something that works!
Pergola Lighting Ideas
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A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the ideas I found for installing a waterproof cover over my pergola. That is one of the projects I didn’t get to back in the spring when I did my deck makeover.
One of the other items on my to-do list was to update the lighting under my pergola.
So while I was researching how to make a retractable pergola canopy and other ways to create some shade for my pergola, I was also looking for outdoor pergola lighting ideas.
To be clear, this is actually for the gazebo / pergola that is on my deck (as opposed to the pergola over my outdoor kitchen area that I was looking at last time.)
I never know whether to call this structure a gazebo (because it has a roof line like a gazebo) or a pergola (because it doesn’t have an actual roof).
But when I was looking for inspiration pictures, it seemed like the pergola pictures fit best with what I’m looking for so that’s what I went with.
Without further ado, here are the pergola lighting ideas I found for inspiration.
A note about pinning: Some of these pictures are from houzz.com and cannot be pinned due to their copyright restrictions.
1 | Outdoor String Lights
Let me start with the most popular pergola lighting idea I saw. Patio string lights.
I think because these are easy to install, give off a fair amount of light and are relatively inexpensive, they are everywhere!
I also found solar-powered string lights (HERE*) which would be very convenient if you don’t have an electrical outlet nearby.
Most people string them across the beams. You can do that either in a straight across pattern, like the pergola above.
Or a zig zag pattern like this one.
Or string them around the perimeter of the structure.
You can even get them in different shapes like the little lanterns you can see in the background of this picture.
I originally had very similar little lanterns hung around the outside of my pergola / gazebo. And they work quite well for ambient lighting.
If you’re looking for a little more pizzazz, you could also change out the clear light bulbs for different colored ones.
Or go for an over the top awesome version by covering the whole structure in fairy string lights and icicle lights. Which looks like a lot of work, but it is definitely a show stopper!
2 | Outdoor Pendant Lighting
Installing outdoor hanging lights under your pergola is another way to go.
This is what I did for the pergola over my outdoor grill area. They provide lots of light for the bar area and look pretty, too.
Since mine are over a counter top, I only installed a couple of them. One at either end of the bar where they wouldn’t block anyone’s view.
But if you are putting up pendant lighting over an open space (like under my gazebo), you could space them out to cover the whole area.
Or if you have a large pergola, construct a fake tree in the middle that holds the lights at different heights and definitely makes a statement.
In this case, I think the “trunk” is actually a support post for the structure. So making it into a tree helps to make camouflage it.
3 | Waterproof LED Lanterns
Hanging LED lanterns in your gazebo makes it look like you’re always ready for a party.
Fortunately, you can get lanterns (like these*) that look like paper but are really made out of nylon. So they can be left outside even if it rains.
4 | Outdoor Mason Jar Lights
Next on my list of pergola lighting ideas are mason jar lights.
These can be installed like as sort of a cross between pendant lighting and string lights by hanging them in straight lines from the beams. At this restaurant in Miami Beach, they also varied the size of the jars and the heights that they are hung at to make it more interesting.
You can also bunch the mason jars together in groups for a more eclectic look.
Mason jar lights even come in a solar version (which you can find HERE*). Perfect if you’re pergola gets a lot of sun and you don’t have an electrical outlet nearby.
Of if you’re looking for a DIY project, make your own by drilling a hole in the lid and adding them onto an outdoor light cord. Just be sure to seal around the whole in the lid so water can’t get into the jar.
5 | Outdoor Chandelier
You know I love a good chandelier (I have one in almost every room!) So you probably aren’t surprised that I think they belong outdoors, too.
The outdoor candelabra that I have hanging over the table in my pergola is definitely a statement piece. It’s one of my favorite outdoor decorations!
Since it doesn’t require electricity, it’s also really easy to install.
While mine is more of a planter / chandelier, you can also get outdoor chandeliers that have a more traditional design.
One note: Unless you have a covered pergola, most of the waterproof traditionally-shaped outdoor chandeliers I found are candle-lit rather than electric. (I imagine it’s hard to waterproof all those connections).
But the candle light does create a really nice atmosphere.
6 | Pergola Downlights
Using downlights in the garden is one of my favorite landscape lighting techniques.
Although this is the standard way to light rooms indoors, outdoors it feels special. Like the moon is especially bright (which is why this technique is also called moonlighting).
In this pergola, the lights look like they are hardwired.
But you could also use landscape lights to do this. Which would be much less expensive and doesn’t require an electrician. If you’re interested to find out how, check out my tutorial on installing landscape lighting.
7 | LED Rope Lights
For a modern outdoor lighting look, try LED rope lights*. Many of them come with a remote control that lets you change the color, so you can create a different atmosphere depending on your mood.
For this outdoor space, they installed them around the window and under the sofa (which is a very cool choice!)
But you could also put them up around the perimeter of your pergola or even running across the beams.
8 | Wall Sconces
The last option on my list of pergola lighting ideas is to use wall sconces.
If your structure happens to be installed next to the house, then you could have an electrician add some to your outside wall.
Otherwise, you can hang wall sconces from the pillars of your pergola on either the inside or the outside, depending on where you want it.
Well that’s it for my list of pergola light ideas. Hopefully, you’ve found some inspiration for your own outdoor space.
Other Outdoor Pergola Ideas You Might Like
- DIY Waterproof Pergola Cover Ideas: 7 Ways To Protect Your Patio From Sun and Rain
- How to make Outdoor Curtains For a Pergola or Gazebo
- Deck Makeover
Do you have any other creative ways to light a pergola? Tell us in the section below.
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This post was originally published on August 16, 2019 but was updated with new content on November 20, 2021.