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Article: How to Choose The Right Pendant Lights for Outdoor (Patio)

How to Choose The Right Pendant Lights for Outdoor (Patio)

Written by Henry Phan Update
rattan lights

Are you gearing up to host epic summer gatherings on your patio? Well, get ready for a glow-up that'll elevate your outdoor space to a whole new level! It's time to shed some light on choosing the perfect pendant lights that will turn your outdoor space into a cozy oasis you'll never want to leave.

Sit back, relax, and let's come with Rowabi lighting to uncover the secrets to finding those ideal pendant lights!

How do I choose an outdoor light fixture?

Choosing the perfect outdoor light fixture can be a breeze when you understand the three main types of lighting and consider factors like size, location, style, and scale. Now we will help you ease the way in:

Understand the three lighting types

Outdoor spaces come alive with three brilliant types of lighting:

  • Task lighting: shines a spotlight on your favorite activities, from sizzling barbecues to cozy reading nooks. Wall-mounted lights near grills, spotlights along paths, and pendant lights over workspaces create the perfect ambiance. Choose fixtures with adjustable heads for ultimate versatility and brightness that adapts to your needs.
  • Ambient lighting: bathes your entire patio in a warm, inviting glow. Overhead fixtures like flush-mount ceiling lights or charming post lights along paths create an even, welcoming atmosphere. Soft, diffused light sets the mood for relaxation and conversation, making your outdoor space a true extension of your home.
  • Accent lighting: Uplights, well-lights, and wall-mounted fixtures showcase stunning trees, sculptures, or textured walls, turning your outdoor space into a work of art. With easily adjustable fixtures, you can create the perfect look for any occasion, from intimate gatherings to grand celebrations.

lighting types highlight different purposes and effects enhancing your overall design
Each lighting type helps visualize the different purposes and effects of each lighting style


When choosing the perfect outdoor light fixtures, size matters! A good rule of thumb is to select fixtures that are one-third to one-fourth the size of your door or the area they'll illuminate. This ensures a balanced, harmonious look that complements your space beautifully.

different light sizes serve various functions and needs
Each type of light comes in different sizes, leading to various functions. Source: WebRadar (1)

For smaller homes or cozy outdoor nooks, opt for sleek and compact fixtures like wall sconces or slim post lights. These space-saving wonders provide ample illumination without overwhelming your intimate setting.

If you're blessed with a sprawling outdoor oasis, go bold and express your personality with stunning chandeliers or oversized lanterns.

Decide on an area to illuminate

When deciding where to place your outdoor lights, be strategic and selective. Focus on areas that will benefit most from illumination while keeping costs in check. Here are some key locations to consider:

  • Pathway Lighting: Guide your guests safely and create a warm, welcoming ambiance with pathway lighting. Low-level path lights or bollard lights provide just the right amount of glare-free illumination. Space fixtures evenly, about 6 to 8 feet apart, for consistent lighting that eliminates dark spots.

pathway lighting guides guests safely to your home
Pathway lighting is essential for guiding guests to your home. Source: Gardenista (2)

  • Landscape Lighting: If you've invested in beautiful gardens, trees, or water features, showcase them with landscape lighting. Uplights dramatically highlight trees or architectural elements, while well lights bathe planting beds in a soft, inviting glow. Get creative with techniques like silhouetting, shadowing, and grazing to add depth and visual interest.
  • Front Entry Lighting: Make a grand entrance with front entry lighting. Symmetrical wall-mounted sconces on either side of the door create a classic, balanced look. For taller entryways, a pendant light above the door makes a stunning statement. Guide visitors safely with post lights near steps or along the walkway.

the front door light also makes the home feel more open and spacious
The front door light also makes the home feel more open and spacious. Source: This Old House (3)

Style & color

When choosing outdoor lighting, consider your home's architectural style and environment to create a cohesive and inviting look. Here are some fantastic options for different styles:

  • Suburban: Embrace the simple, traditional charm of suburban homes with classic outdoor lighting. Lantern-style wall sconces, post lights, and hanging fixtures in timeless finishes like bronze, black, or brushed nickel will create a warm, welcoming atmosphere that perfectly complements your spacious, airy surroundings.
  • Apartment: Make the most of your urban apartment's limited outdoor space with sleek, modern fixtures. Opt for minimalist designs in neutral colors that seamlessly blend with your building's architecture. These space-saving solutions will elevate your balcony or small patio, creating a chic, contemporary oasis in the city.

outdoor string or wall lights add warmth and an inviting feel to any space
Outdoor string or wall lights are simple yet effective in creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Source: Nanoleaf (4)

  • Coastal: Capture the laid-back, nautical spirit of coastal living with the perfect outdoor lighting. Choose fixtures in refreshing white, blue, or seafoam green hues that evoke the serenity of the sea. Look for designs featuring glass or metal cages, rope accents, or distressed finishes to create a delightful, beachy ambiance that transports you to the shore.
  • Farmhouse: Embrace the rustic, vintage-inspired charm of farmhouse style with outdoor lighting that exudes warmth and character. Opt for fixtures in rich, aged finishes like copper, oil-rubbed bronze, or black. Barn lights, gooseneck wall sconces, and industrial-style pendants will perfectly complement your farmhouse aesthetic, creating a look that feels like home.

farmhouse style lighting is best with copper or black fixtures featuring a vintage design
For a farmhouse style, opt for copper or black fixtures with a slightly vintage shape. Source: Barn Light Electric (5)


When selecting outdoor lighting fixtures, it's essential to consider the size and scale of your outdoor space. For larger outdoor spaces, go boldly with substantial fixtures that provide ample illumination and make a stunning statement.

On the other hand, for smaller areas like balconies or cozy patios, opt for compact, space-saving fixtures that won't overwhelm your intimate setting. These carefully chosen lights will provide just the right amount of illumination without dominating the space visually, ensuring a perfect balance.


Placement of the lighting fixtures is something to consider when choosing the proper ones. Here are some brilliant options to consider:

Wall-mounted fixtures

Elevate your outdoor space with wall-mounted fixtures that cast a beautiful upward and downward glow. Strategically place these fixtures to illuminate entryways, patios, or garage areas for a welcoming ambiance.

wall mounted fixtures effectively illuminate different outdoor areas
Wall-mounted fixtures can be utilized to illuminate various outdoor spaces effectively. Source: Caribou Lighting (6)

While their coverage may not be as extensive as pendant lights, you can easily create a continuous, inviting atmosphere by installing multiple fixtures along a wall. Just be sure to measure the distance carefully to determine the perfect number of fixtures needed.

Ceiling lights

Transform your covered porches, verandas, or outdoor kitchens into enchanting retreats with ceiling-mounted fixtures. These overhead lights provide a warm, inviting ambiance that will make your outdoor space feel like an extension of your home.

Opt for fixtures with sealed housings to protect against moisture and insects, ensuring they'll continue to shine beautifully for years to come.

Post lights

These fixtures are perfect for lining driveways, pathways, or garden edges, guiding you and your guests safely through the night. Install posts at just the right heights and spacing to ensure even, enchanting illumination that highlights your beautiful landscaping features.

post lights also known as post cap lights are outdoor fixtures mounted atop posts or columns
Post lights, also known as post cap lights, are outdoor fixtures mounted atop posts or columns. Source: Pinterest (7)

Step lighting

Ensure the safety and beauty of your stairways or deck areas with step lights. These low-profile fixtures minimize obstruction while providing a soft, guiding light for safe passage. Opt for fixtures with downward-facing illumination to prevent glare and ensure proper visibility on each step.

Mounting height

Choosing the perfect mounting height for your outdoor light fixtures is the key to creating a stunning, functional, and safe space. Here's how to achieve outdoor lighting perfection:

  • Entryways: Greet guests with a warm, inviting glow by mounting wall sconces or hanging fixtures at a welcoming 66 inches (5.5 feet) from the center of the fixture to the floor, or slightly above eye level.
  • Garage Doors: Ensure your garage is beautifully lit and secure by installing wall-mounted fixtures on either side at a perfect 66 to 72 inches (5.5 to 6 feet) above the ground.
  • Pathways and Walkways: Guide yourself and your guests safely along pathways with path lights or post lights positioned at an optimal 14 to 18 inches above the ground. Space fixtures evenly, typically 6 to 8 feet apart, for consistent, enchanting lighting that adds both function and charm.
  • Patios and Decks: Create an ambiance that's perfect for dining, lounging, or entertaining by hanging ceiling lights or pendants at a cozy 84 to 96 inches (7 to 8 feet) from the floor to the bottom of the fixture.

proper mount height ensures a cohesive and polished look for your home s lighting
Setting the mount height appropriately is essential to achieving a cohesive and polished look for your home's lighting. Source: Mid South Night Lights (8)

What bulbs should you consider for outdoor lighting?

Choosing the right bulbs is essential for creating the perfect outdoor lighting experience. Here are our tips for selecting bulbs that will transform your space:

Functional bulbs

  • Illuminate your outdoors with purpose using functional bulbs. Opt for energy-efficient LED or CFL bulbs that provide ample lighting for safety, security, and visibility.
  • These long-lasting options are perfect for brightening pathways, driveways, and outdoor living areas.

Decorative bulbs

  • Add a touch of magic to your outdoor oasis with decorative bulbs. Edison or filament bulbs create a warm, inviting ambiance that will make your space feel like a true retreat.
  • These enchanting bulbs are ideal for highlighting architectural features, accentuating landscaping, or setting the mood for a cozy outdoor dining experience.

choosing the right bulb is key to prolonging the life of your outdoor lighting
You should choose the right type of bulb to extend the lifespan of your outdoor lighting. Source: IKEA (9)

Common types of outdoor bulbs

Common types of bulbs used for outdoor lighting include:

  • LED bulbs: Versatile and energy-efficient, LED bulbs are a top choice for outdoor lighting. With various color temperatures available, you can create the perfect ambiance for any setting. These long-lasting bulbs will keep your outdoor space shining brightly for years to come.
  • CFL bulbs: Compact fluorescent bulbs offer a bright, energy-efficient solution for general outdoor illumination. While they may take a moment to reach full brightness, they provide a cost-effective way to light up your space.
  • Halogen bulbs: Bright and powerful, halogen bulbs are perfect for highlighting specific areas or features in your outdoor oasis. While they may not be as energy-efficient as LED or CFL options, they provide a stunning, white light that will make your space shine.
  • Incandescent Bulbs: For a warm, inviting glow, incandescent bulbs are a classic choice. While they may not be as energy-efficient as other options, they offer a charming, decorative touch that's perfect for accent lighting or creating a cozy atmosphere.

Introducing Rowabi, the best place to find pendant lights for your patio

Based in Houston, Texas, Rowabi is a cherished family-owned business with almost five years of industry experience. We're known for our expertly crafted rattan pendant lights and modern pendant lights, celebrated for their exceptional quality and unique designs, perfect for any setting.

Each of our products undergoes meticulous crafting using high-quality materials, with extensive time dedicated to model building and testing to ensure durability and longevity. We take pride in delivering designs that not only meet the highest standards but also stand the test of time.

For outdoor lighting, you can choose from modern pendant lights for a contemporary touch or opt for natural materials like rattan pendant lights and bamboo pendant lights to blend seamlessly with nature, aiming for sustainability and eco-friendliness. Here are a few suggestions from us for your consideration:

The Barrett Pendant Light features a lantern-shaped frame without a shade, exposing the bulb for a simple yet striking look. These lights are minimalistic yet provide enough accent to brighten and highlight your garden area. The combination of iron and rattan wrap creates a unique touch to this design, adding a distinctive flair.

the barrett pendant light combines various materials for a unique standout design
The Barrett Pendant Light features a unique combination of materials to create a distinctive look. Source: Rowabi

If you prefer materials that are more natural, blending harmoniously with nature, you may opt for rattan. Allow us to introduce you to the Senera Rattan Pendant Light, a design resembling a fishing basket, unique and refreshing.

the senera rattan pendant light creates a natural harmonious atmosphere
The Senera Rattan Pendant Light brings a sense of connection with nature. Source: Rowabi

Crafted entirely from authentic rattan by skilled artisans, these lights exude an unmistakable authenticity. However, with rattan, it's essential to exercise caution in outdoor storage and maintenance.

FAQs: How to choose the right pendant lights for outdoor

How do materials contribute to durability?

  • Durable materials like stainless steel, brass, and aluminum resist corrosion and harsh weather, making them perfect for creating long-lasting, beautiful outdoor lighting. Powder-coated finishes add an extra layer of protection, ensuring your fixtures remain stunning and resilient.

Should all exterior lights match?

  • While matching fixtures create a cohesive look, mixing different types can add visual interest and depth to your outdoor space. As long as the designs and finishes complement each other, you can create a harmonious and captivating lighting scheme.

Should outdoor light bulbs be cool or warm?

  • Warm light (2700K–3000K) creates an inviting and cozy atmosphere, perfect for relaxing and entertaining in your outdoor oasis. Cool light (3500K–5000K) provides brighter illumination, ideal for enhancing security and task lighting.

What finish is best?

  • Bronze, black, and stainless steel are popular choices for their timeless appeal and durability, effortlessly enhancing any outdoor space. They offer a classic, low-maintenance look that complements various home styles.

What if you only have one light beside the door?

  • When limited to a single light source, opt for a larger fixture or one with multiple bulbs to provide ample illumination. Consider using higher wattage bulbs or integrated LED lights for optimal brightness and energy efficiency, ensuring your outdoor space is both beautiful and functional.

How do I know what size to get?

  • For single-story homes, the fixture should be one-third the height of the door, while for two-story homes, one-fourth the height is ideal, creating a balanced and visually pleasing entrance that welcomes guests in style.

How do I choose lights with character?

  • Select fixtures that reflect your personal style and seamlessly blend with your home's architecture, creating a cohesive and captivating outdoor lighting scheme.

How to choose pendant lights to provide enough lighting?

  • Larger areas may benefit from multiple pendants or multi-light fixtures to ensure adequate illumination, while adjustable heights allow you to fine-tune the lighting to create the perfect atmosphere for any occasion.

What is the best wattage for outdoor lighting?

  • For ambient lighting that creates a warm and inviting atmosphere, 40–60 watts (450–800 lumens) is sufficient, providing a comfortable and relaxing environment.
  • When focusing on security and safety, 75–100 watts (800–1500 lumens) is recommended for optimal visibility, ensuring your outdoor space remains secure and well-lit.

Which is better: warm or cool outdoor lighting?

  • Warm lighting creates a welcoming and relaxing ambiance, perfect for entertaining and enjoying your outdoor space with family and friends. Cool lighting is ideal for security purposes and tasks requiring clear visibility, ensuring your outdoor area remains safe and functional.

How to pick the right pendant light?

  • Consider the space, ceiling height, and your home's overall style when selecting a pendant light to ensure a cohesive and visually appealing look.

How big should an outdoor pendant light be?

  • For entryways, the pendant should be approximately one-third the height of the door to maintain a balanced proportion that enhances your home's architectural beauty.

How to pick an outdoor light fixture?

  • Consider the area's specific lighting needs, whether it be ambient, task, or accent lighting, to select a fixture that provides both functionality and style, enhancing your outdoor space and creating a warm and inviting environment.

Do all outdoor light fixtures need to match?

  • Mixing different types can add visual interest and depth to your outdoor space, creating a unique and captivating lighting scheme. As long as the designs and finishes share similar elements and complement each other, you can create a harmonious and stunning outdoor oasis.


In conclusion, think about the mood you want to set and how the design of the lights will complement your patio's style. Remember, it's not just about looks—consider durability and functionality too.

The right lights will enhance your outdoor experience, making your patio a favorite spot for all occasions. Happy lighting!


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