If you find your outdoor kitchen lacking a little spark, installing light fixtures can be a great way to improve aesthetic appeal, promote safety, and increase the overall functionality of the space. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your outdoor kitchen or create the ultimate grilling and BBQ area, updating your outdoor lighting is one of the most cost-effective solutions! This guide will cover our favorite outdoor kitchen lighting ideas to give you some inspiration. 

Ambient Outdoor Kitchen Lighting Ideas 

Ambient lighting is a uniform source of light designed to spread evenly throughout a space. Designed with an emphasis on aesthetics, ambient light allows you to personalize the look and feel of any area of your home with the flip of a switch – literally! Going for a comfy and homey vibe? Try warmer toned lighting. Interested in a more minimalistic style? Cooler settings are the way to go. 

Outdoor Light Dimmers 

Installing light dimmer switches to any of the light fixtures in your outdoor kitchen is a great way to add more ambient light and set the perfect mood for any occasion. Brighter settings can be used to illuminate your cooking space, while dimmer settings can be used to invite a calm, relaxing atmosphere for gatherings. 

Outdoor Pendant Lights

An outdoor kitchen with wicker pendant lights, and a dining table with chairs against a background of plants

Pendant lighting, which are also called drop lights or suspended lights, refers to light fixtures that are suspended by a chain or cord. Outdoor pendant lights seamlessly blend functionality and style to provide perfect ambient lighting to any outdoor space. Some trendy pendant light styles for backyard kitchens include Edison-style glass fixtures and more boho designs like wicker cage lights. 

Outdoor String Lights

String lights are another popular way to add a bit of ambiance to your outdoor space. These versatile fixtures are strands of multiple hanging lightbulbs that can be added to pergolas, fences, and decks for a warm, ambient glow—perfect for evenings at the grill. 

Outdoor Kitchen Task Lighting Ideas 

Task lighting is designed with focus and safety in mind. When layered into a space, outdoor task lighting can improve aesthetic appeal, promote safety, and increase the overall functionality of a space by highlighting specific objects and features. For example, task lighting in an outdoor kitchen might brighten up your cooking area making it easier and safer to work in.  

GFCI Outlets 

A great way to improve the safety and functionality of your outdoor kitchen area is by upgrading any exterior outlets with GFCIs outlets. Also known as a ground-fault circuit interrupter, this safety feature can protect you and your home from potential electrical shock and fires by automatically turning off your outlets if a risk is detected. This is especially important for outdoor electrical features as well as indoor spaces like kitchens and bathrooms, which usually have higher moisture levels. 

Outdoor Track Lighting 

Track lights are a series of individual fixtures attached to a long bar called a track. The track contains electrical conductors that power each individual light. Outdoor track lighting is easily adjustable, so each light can be angled in a way that doesn’t shine directly over your head. This will keep the lights from casting shadows over your workspace while you’re trying to prep food, cook, or grill. 

Outdoor Pathway Lights

An outdoor backyard path is lined with pathway lighting and flowers.

Outdoor pathway lights, also known as walkway lights, are usually small standing lights that line outdoor pathways to help safely guide you through a space when it’s dark outside. These durable exterior light fixtures provide just enough focused illumination to highlight any tripping hazards while also leading you to and from your outdoor bar, lounge, kitchen, or dining space. Plus, pathways lights are available in a large variety of designs options, making them suitable for any exterior decorating style. 

Outdoor Kitchen Accent Lighting Ideas

Outdoor accent lights are meant to add the final touches of style and comfort to your space. While they can definitely contribute to the overall brightness of your outdoor space, the primary purpose of accent lighting is to extenuate specific areas or draw the eye to unique features. 

Exterior Wall Sconces

A beautiful outdoor kitchen and grilling area with exterior wall light sconces installed

Wall sconces come in a large variety of designs to meet any aesthetic style and add extra character to a space. In addition to providing extra illumination, outdoor wall lighting also allows you to highlight the architectural details of your outdoor kitchen, instantly adding interest and appeal to the space. 

Outdoor Color Changing LED Lights 

Color changing LED lights make it easy to adjust the atmosphere of any outdoor space, while simultaneously adding additional layers of brightness for functionality. LED lights have lots of benefits as well, like a longer lifespan, energy efficiency, reduced fire risk, and more. One of the biggest benefits of outdoor LED lighting is that they don’t attract bugs, making them the perfect fixture for your grill or BBQ area.  

Sonoma County’s Trusted Electrician for All Outdoor Lighting Installation 

If you’re interested in incorporating outdoor lighting around your home, Schafer Electric has you covered. We’ve been providing residential electrician services for clients all over the North Bay for years, so you can trust us to bring your outdoor kitchen to life. To request an electrician, contact us today by filling out our online form or giving us a call at (707) 545-3300.

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