No deck is complete without lighting. A good lighting plan with clear visibility and a warm ambiance makes an outdoor living space more than just a living space; your deck becomes a social destination at night with the right lighting scheme. Lighting your deck railing is one of the best ways to bring a fresh appearance to your deck. Deck rail lighting in particular lights not only your deck but also the space around it, including your deck stairs and possibly nearby walkways or areas of your yard.
At DEKOR, we specialize in deck lighting options that are easy to install and last in a variety of weather conditions. If you’re searching for deck lights, look no further: here are 7 deck railing lighting ideas that will make your deck shine, perfect for DIY installation.
1. Strip Lights
One of the most convenient, most popular deck rail lighting ideas is to install strip lights under the railing of your deck. Many homeowners opt for this option because strip lights provide consistent lighting across the length of your railing, the fixtures themselves are subtle (especially during the day when they are off), and they are surprisingly powerful. Strip lights can often be customized to specific lengths or strung together in a series, so you can run them along the whole deck railing or just one part of it. For example, you may want strip lights selectively installed on your deck stair railing for increased safety.
DEKOR offers two different options for deck strip lighting. Our No See Em LED Strip Lights are the perfect versatile offering, with three different size options, custom lengths, and pigtail connectors so you can string the individual light fixtures together. The Infinite LED Strip Lights are another great option, designed to stay subtle and be strung together.
2. String Lights for Deck Rails
You have likely seen inspiration pictures of string lights brightening decks and patios. They’re especially attractive along railings, pergolas, or overhangs, and can add a cozy sense of style to your backyard. Keep in mind that string lights may not be enough to fully light your outdoor area. They are usually designed to add a dim, warm light mostly intended for ambiance and will not provide enough illumination in areas that are a safety concern, like steps. That being said, you can combine string lights with some of the other ideas on this list to create a standout deck rail lighting plan.
3. Decorative Post Lamps
Post lamps or lanterns are a great way to light the path leading up to your deck, deck stairs, and the area surrounding any deck posts. If you have consistent posts around the perimeter of your deck, these lamps can function as decorative elements as well as lighting fixtures. Post lights like these are also usually some of the easiest deck lights to install since they are simply attached to deck posts with mounting brackets.
DEKOR offers a number of post lamps ranging from functional to decorative. Some of our favorite decorative post lamps include the Tear Drop Style Post Lamp and the Holly Post Lamp, both made from heavy-duty cast aluminum.
4. Directional Lighting
Decorative post lamps do have their downsides. While they look great on posts along your deck railing, they can only cast light downward from a single LED bulb per lamp. Directional post lamps and rail lighting give you more flexibility so you can choose exactly where you want light to shine. You can even find bidirectional or multidirectional light fixtures, which cast light in multiple directions at once.
Check out the Directional Petite Post Lamp from DEKOR, which has a full 360-degree rotation and a light angle of 35 degrees. This light is perfect for the posts around your deck railing, at the end of the railing, or creatively used in other locations in your deck space. We also offer a Bidirectional Light that shows a different light pattern when rotated.
5. Accent Deck Rail Lights
Accent lights are the happy medium between decorative and functional deck lighting ideas. Use accent lights as a supplement to other deck rail lighting or on their own for a streamlined look. They can be particularly effective in combination with post cap lights or stair lights. Accent lights often come in a variety of shapes and styles, so you can choose the one that best matches your outdoor space.
There are a few accent lights designed by DEKOR that are perfect for deck railings and posts, including the Sapphire Accent Rail Light, the Diamond Post Medallion Accent Light, and the Bar Post Medallion Accent Light. Because these accent lights are so easy to install and arrange, they can be placed in creative ways to create different designs around your deck railing if desired.
6. Deck Rail Lighting Kits
If you plan on lighting your whole deck railing (or even a large portion of it), you’ll want to purchase deck lights in a kit, rather than individually. By buying a kit, you’ll ensure you have everything you need to start your project. 8 to 10 lights (depending on the kit), cables, transformers, etc. are often included in kits. Sometimes, lighting kits like the Infinite LED Strip Light Kit even include controllers, timers, or dimmers.
7. Creative Railing Lighting: Recessed Lights
Let’s get creative! Most people use recessed lights as deck floor lighting or stair lighting. But, did you know they can also shine with great effect when installed under deck railings as well? Recessed lights install flush with a wood or composite surface, so they will have an effect similar to strip lighting when they are installed underneath a railing: subtle during the day, bright at night.
DEKOR’s classic Outdoor Recessed Up/Down Lights are perfect for this purpose. Easily install them along your railing for a brighter, safer deck.
For more deck lighting ideas, check out our list of the 15 best deck lighting ideas, with plenty of options to customize your deck lighting plan, from the railing to the stairs to the features around your deck.