Creative Lighting Ideas for Your Outdoor Kitchen

Sep 24, 2018

For most Rock Valley, Iowa residents, landscape design is of the utmost importance.  Once you get your flora situated and throw in hardscaping like paver patios and walkways, you might think about adding desirable extras like a water feature or a fire pit.  If you really want to make your outdoor space into functional square footage, you can also install a state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen.

Unfortunately, outdoor lighting tends to be one of the last considerations when planning your backyard design, and this is doubly true when it comes to lighting for your outdoor kitchen.  When you think about adding lighting, you might focus solely on bright, functional illumination for your cutting and cooking surfaces, at the expense of ambience.

Like your indoor spaces, however, you can have both overhead lighting for utility and additional fixtures to address aesthetic and stylistic concerns.  Here are just a few creative lighting ideas for your Sioux Center, Iowa outdoor kitchen.


If your outdoor kitchen features a raised bar area, you can elevate the style and create an inviting atmosphere by adding not only bar stools, but pendant lights over the bar.  This will hit the counter surface for the purposes of ensuring safe eating and making food look attractive.  It can also spill over onto adjacent cooking and food prep surfaces for additional illumination.


Who says you can’t get fancy with your outdoor lighting?  If you have a covered outdoor kitchen, especially a structure like a pavilion, think about adding a bold lighting fixture that acts as a sophisticated focal point for your design.  A chandelier is a beautiful way to add both high style and adjustable illumination to your outdoor kitchen space.


Not all lighting has to hang overhead.  Many outdoor kitchens abut the house, often for the purpose of reducing the distance required to move food, dishes, and so on between indoor and outdoor cooking spaces.  This means you have some wall space at your disposal to add lighting fixtures like wall sconces that help to set the mood in your outdoor living space and boost illumination.

String Lights

Traditional fixtures should definitely be considered when planning your outdoor lighting, especially since ample illumination is necessary for safe meal prep and cooking.  However, you have so many options to explore that you needn’t limit yourself to choosing fixtures for function alone.

Even if you already have bright overhead lighting for practical purposes, consider what you can gain in aesthetic appeal by add crisscrossing string lights overhead.  These are a great addition to covered structures like pergolas or pavilions, but with the assistance of anchor points (eaves, sturdy tree branches, or poles, for example) you can install strings of lights overhead to add lighting options and create a festive mood.  Just make sure you select lighting fixtures and bulbs rated for outdoor use.

Strip/Rope Lighting

Hidden illumination has become all the rage, and you can transfer this trend to your outdoor spaces by adding strip or rope lighting to your outdoor kitchen.  Simply affix strips or ropes under the edges of countertops or around eaves, for example, to add soft, dim, and even colored lighting that creates a modern style and a more intimate setting for your evening soirees.