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Lighting Can Turn a Patio into a Piazza

Outdoor Room SonomaThere is nothing like inspired lighting to take the harsh edges off an environment and make it appealing…if you don’t believe me, consider the disco ball. That twirling, mirrored monstrosity is responsible for an entire era of bad clothing and dancing decisions; somehow it all looked okay in that sparkling refraction of light.

And the right lighting outdoors can turn a patio into a piazza; a pool into paradise; a deck into a dance floor. It can even make a picnic table look like, well; it will still look like a picnic table, but what a picnic table. And the right lighting can take ten years off your face. Gotta love that.

There are a myriad of ways to use lighting outdoors. There are, of course, lots of outdoor lamps and lights on the market, which have waterproof fixtures and bulbs.

Some of them are outdoor versions of the traditional “lamp and a shade,” and these are adequate and functional. But don’t settle for just anything; there are absolutely inspired outdoor lamps that can completely transform the look of your outdoor space.

Good old fashioned lanterns are very trendy right now; there are metal and ceramic versions, and many of them come in sets with varying sizes, making it easy for you to create an artistic display. Some are made to burn candles; you can opt for traditional candles or use one of the many LED candles available.

Paper lanterns are also the rage; they too come in different shapes and sizes and can be lit utilizing single LED lights or a string of Christmas lights. You can go for the retro big round ball version for setting a fun party mood; or get some paper star lanterns and aim for an enchanted evening.

Do you own an umbrella and desire a little extra lighting? Consider the 6 Light Vega Umbrella Lamp by Treasure Garden pictured right; view the Vega Umbrella Lamp here. It attaches to standard umbrella poles and offers eight LED lights.

Keep it casual with a jar; Mason jars are gracing everything from backyard barbeques to wedding receptions and offer a lot of versatility; add a simple white votive and place them around your patio area, or twist wire around the rim and hang them from branches. You can decorate the jars with raffia or ribbon, or fill them with river stones, water and a floating candle. 

You don’t have to wait for Christmas to crack out the luminaries – they are cheap and easy and can turn your backyard into a breathtaking display of light. Simple brown or white paper lunch bags are the easiest options; you can purchase pre-decorated versions, or, if you are the crafty type you can poke designs through the bags with large needles. That could be very therapeutic.

Another beautiful, cheap and easy idea (the trifecta) is in the luminary vein; battery operated LED “tap” lights, available nearly everywhere, form the base of the lamp. Interesting or decorated paper is rolled into a tube and placed over and around the light. There are all kinds of beautiful papers available at your local art store; you can buy a large sheet for just a few dollars.

Outdoor Room Sonoma Fireplace

If you have a pool or pond, buy “bullet” LED lights at your local craft store (they come in a package and are suitable for water submersion). Blow up a balloon, pop a light inside and toss it into the water.  You can use these for all types of “floaters” – use your imagination. You cannot, under any circumstances, use your husband, however.

Another clever idea is to shove strings of Christmas lights into (empty) wine bottles to create fun lighting for a wine tasting; this will be accomplished very easily if you drink all the wine in the bottle. Or repurpose those empties as candle holders; group them in together and they can serve as lighting as well as a centerpiece.

Chandeliers used to be reserved for stuffy foyers and dining rooms and occasionally as murder weapons in films. They are popping up outdoors, in an incredible array of designs. There are electric, battery-operated and candle versions. You can buy one, but you can also have fun making your own with beads, chicken wire, and found objects.

With a little cash, a little effort, and a little imagination, you can transform your patio into something amazing. And hopefully one of these outdoor lighting ideas will work around your home, your swimming pool or your patio furniture; view Family Leisure Patio Furniture here.

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