Whether you’re planning to build a beautiful outdoor kitchen or you already have one, outdoor lighting helps you get full enjoyment of your entertaining space. Not only is adequate illumination essential for outdoor food prep, it’s also essential for enjoying the food you’ve prepared. After all, who likes to eat in the dark?
Here’s how the right outdoor kitchen lighting enhances your cooking, dining and entertaining experience, even after the sun goes down.
1. After-dark entertaining keeps the party going
After dark is when an outdoor kitchen can really shine. Whether you love to get together with your family over a delicious meal or you enjoy impressing your friends with your skills on the grill, outdoor lighting keeps the party going well into the night.
Make sure to thoroughly light your outdoor cooking space. Using floodlights or pole lights can illuminate large areas like patios or decks. It’s often more effective—especially in terms of aesthetics—to layer your lighting. Rather than taking a heavy-handed approach to lighting with a few overpowering fixtures, mix string lights, sconces, spotlights and even under-counter fixtures. They’ll all work together to provide a soft glow and a charming atmosphere.
Having outdoor kitchen Festoon Lights that blend naturally with nearby hardscape and landscape lights is ideal for long nights spent outdoors enjoying the fresh air, great food and great company.
2. Shed a little light on safety while you cook
It’s never a good idea to cook in the dark, especially when you’re grilling. Proper lighting is essential for safe grilling and ensuring your food is always cooked to perfection.
While floodlights and sconces or post lights can bathe large areas of your cooking space with light, consider adding spotlights directly above the grilling area to enhance visibility. Since you’ll likely use these lights only when cooking, it’s wise to wire them to a separate switch near the grill. Don’t feel like you need blinding light, either. A little illumination goes a long way when it comes to checking on if the chicken is done.
3. Ambiance is everything for outdoor living
You don’t need to be a professional lighting designer to add some unique touches to your outdoor kitchen. Indirect lighting lends a soft, cozy glow to your entertaining space.
Install under-countertop lights for instant ambiance. Below-counter lights not only highlight the beautiful stonework of your built-ins, they also help you see what you’re doing as you’re grabbing things from the mini-fridge, cabinets or other storage spaces.
Ledge lighting is another popular addition to outdoor kitchens. Casting light downward at waist-level serves to give you sure footing when you’re carrying trays of food to and from your prep areas.
4. Keep critters away from outdoor kitchens
Outdoor kitchens are meant for cooking and entertaining by design. Unfortunately, you and your guests aren’t the only ones who are tempted by the tantalizing scent of meals prepared on your outdoor grill or smoker. The hungry critters nearby can smell it, too! Quality outdoor lighting is a great way to keep animals at bay.
Rather than giving rodents and birds free rein to scavenge crumbs and scraps left behind, it’s wise to invest in professional outdoor lighting fixtures for your backyard kitchen. Wild animals scare very easily, and setting up motion-sensing lights is a great deterrent, startling animals as soon as they get too close. It’s one of the best ways for keeping critters from making themselves at home in your outdoor cooking and eating space.
5. Set a romantic mood for an outdoor date
Sometimes, the best date nights are the ones that don’t require you to leave the house. There’s really nothing more romantic than a dinner under the stars, and with an outdoor kitchen you have full control over the quality of your meal—not to mention complete privacy.
Lighting can create the perfect atmosphere for romance. Hang up string lights to add a twinkling glow overhead as you prepare and enjoy delicious meals in the privacy of your outdoor space. Invest in fixtures that are dimmable, so you can adjust them to set the mood for a cozy night in.
6. Illuminate the value of your outdoor kitchen
There’s plenty of time and effort—not to mention the financial investment—that goes into creating the ideal outdoor kitchen. Why shouldn’t you show it off after dark? By creating a layered lighting strategy with carefully-chosen and thoughtfully-placed fixtures, you not only make your space more functional, you also highlight all of its special features.
From hardscape to built-ins, patio furniture to your prized grill, adequate lighting ensures that you and your guests appreciate them all to the fullest well after the sun goes down. And, if you’re thinking of selling your home in the future, a well-lit outdoor kitchen may very well be the big-ticket feature that pumps up the price.
Outdoor kitchen lighting isn’t a perk; it’s a necessity
An outdoor kitchen is one of the best features you can bring to your outdoor space, but you need proper lighting to enjoy it to the fullest. While a layered lighting strategy improves the overall ambiance of your outdoor kitchen, it also makes the space much more functional, allowing you to safely prepare and enjoy delicious meals in your private oasis.