The Best String Lights To Brighten Up Your Outdoor Space

Whether it's a small balcony or a full-blown patio and yard, having an outdoor space to call your own is a luxury many people prioritize when looking for a place to live. While decorating an outdoor space is usually simple enough, lighting it can be difficult but essential if you want to enjoy it throughout the evening. This is why many people choose to decorate their outdoor spaces with string lights. 

String lights are an incredibly cost-effective and an easy way to light up a dark area while also adding significant decorative appeal. As Georgia LightScapes explains, they're also a lot safer than other lighting options and help provide the light that deters potential burglars or pesky wildlife. While string lights can add general ambient lighting to a larger area, they can also be strategically placed to highlight particular architectural or decorative features, like a koi pond, garden, etc. Keep reading if you're on the hunt for the best possible string lights for your outdoor space.

Pottery Barn black string lights

String lights for your outdoor space can come in various styles, including modern and trendy globes, delicate fairy lights, or simple bulbs, like this set from Pottery Barn. The black strand lights are offered in three different lengths and price points — 12 feet for $59, 24 feet for $89, and 48 feet for $179. While this is certainly pricier, they're meant to be a more permanent installation. They can also be linked together, so you can start small and build up as needed.

Aside from the classic café style of the actual light bulbs, one of the practical benefits of these bulbs is that they're acrylic, which has many advantages over traditional glass. According to Lamp Post Globes, one of these major advantages is that they are a lot more durable and withstanding than glass bulbs. They're also much less likely to shatter than glass, making them an undoubtedly safer choice for outdoor use. This classic and durable strand of outdoor lights is worth the price in the long run.

Newhouse Lighting globe bulb lights

Next up are Newhouse Lighting's globe-shaped string lights, the 50-foot string of lights sold for just $30 at Home Depot. The strand has 50 lights, but the purchase comes with an additional five lights for free, allowing you to replace any dead or damaged light bulbs as needed.

This set of string lights is ideal for decorating a large area on a budget. It also has a much more modern aesthetic design, with perfectly round, globe-shaped light bulbs, perfect for a contemporary outdoor space. The one drawback of this set is that they are incandescent bulbs instead of LEDs. As Liquid LEDs warns, incandescent bulbs tend to cost as much as $150 more per year and are less environmentally sound and more dangerous. Incandescent bulbs can get very hot when turned on for prolonged periods, making them a safety hazard if plugged in all day.

Brightech solar lights

Another set of string lights with a more classic, vintage design comes from Brightech. These solar-powered string lights are sold in two lengths and prices: 27 feet for $49 and 48 feet for $69. The LED lights have an Edison-style design connected by a sleek black cable. The lights also come with a solar panel you can stake in the ground to power it up.

While these lights are a little pricier, as OutdoorLights points out, solar lights make up their price over time since they don't require electricity to run. Plus, if cared for properly, solar lights last a very long time, over 20 years. Of course, solar lights are also incredibly environmentally friendly, allowing you to illuminate your outdoor space without negatively impacting the earth. They're also very convenient since you don't have to plug them in or turn them on and off. This specific set of string lights goes further by automatically sensing when it gets dark or light outside, switching on and off as needed.

Wiltshire solar powered globe lights

If you want the practical benefits of solar string lights for your outdoor space, but prefer a more modern design, look no further than these Wiltshire globe bulb string lights sold at Wayfair. The 20-foot, 30-bulb string lights are offered in five different colors — traditional warm white or white, as well as blue, green, or red. The colored bulbs are a little cheaper, ranging from $26 to $30, whereas the white bulbs cost $45, and warm white ones cost $41.

Globe-shaped light bulbs add a certain level of elegance and, as 1000Bulbs identifies, glamor to the space they're implemented. They even determine that globe-shaped bulbs are the ideal shape for string patio lights. These lights require you to manually turn them on and off, but they have an additional flash setting. Ensure they're situated so they can receive a minimum of six hours of light daily, resulting in seven to eight hours of operation time at night.

Better Homes & Gardens curtain lights

While most string lights are strung through fences or gates or draped on the ceiling of a canopy, some may prefer a more romantic, fairy-tale approach. If this is the case, you'll love curtain lights, precisely this set from Better Homes & Gardens, sold at Walmart. As the name implies, curtain lights hang down like curtains. This set costs $15 and has 15 strands for a total of 240 LED bulbs.

These lights are also straightforward to install, looking great on a roofed patio, gazebo, pergola, or anything else with a ceiling. You can also install them against a flat wall if you don't have a roof or ceiling to tack them onto. Per Life Love Larson, use small hooks installed flush against the wall or ceiling to keep your string lights in place. You can also use Command utility strips if you don't want them to be a permanent installation.