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Gorgeous Outdoor Lamps That Let You Take Your Interior Design Outside

The line between indoor and outdoor spaces has been blurring for a while now, first with the advent of outdoor kitchens and now with the rising popularity of multi-season indoor/outdoor rooms, covered or partially enclosed patios, and folding glass walls that effectively let you join your living room and patio. But that doesn’t just mean people are spending more time outside – it also means that interior styles are getting updated, weatherproofed, and exported outdoors, from chic outdoor livingroom sets to surprisingly stylish outdoor lamps.

Why Outdoor Lamps?

If you want to add a little indoor designer flair to your outdoor spaces, outdoor lamps are a great place to start (by Camelot Homes)
If you want to add a little designer flair to your outdoor spaces, outdoor lamps are a great place to start (by Camelot Homes)

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Good lighting is one of the main factors in building aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces, but while that used to mean good landscape lighting, the definition of “outdoor lighting” has expanded quite a bit recently. Instead of hard-wired spotlights, path lights, and so on, it’s now possible to find lamps that have all the style you’d expect for an indoor living space, but designed to be used outside. That means you can have quality, attractive lighting fixtures that actually illuminate your outdoor set rather than just the space around it.

What’s The Difference Between Indoor And Outdoor Lamps?

Outdoor lamps have all the designer appeal of traditional lamps, but upgraded to be usable outdoors in all weather conditions (by Elegant Interior Designs)
Outdoor lamps have all the designer appeal of traditional lamps, but upgraded to be usable outdoors in all weather conditions (by Elegant Interior Designs)

So why not just plug in a regular lamp outside? Normal lamps just aren’t designed to be used in outdoor conditions. Outdoor lamps are designed with heavy duty cords, are topped with easy-to-clean, weather-proof shades that can be left out in any weather, and contain bulb enclosures to protect the bulb and electrical connections from exposure. At a glance, outdoor lamps have the same luxurious look and feel you’d expect for an indoor living room, but are made to safely handle a lot more wear and tear.

What Kinds Of Outdoor Lamps Are There?

Good lighting is what really gives indoor/outdoor spaces that extra homey touch (by Maisons du Monde UK)
Good lighting is what really gives indoor/outdoor spaces that extra homey touch (by Maisons du Monde UK)

The vast majority of outdoor lamps are table lamps, in no small part because table lamps are what give your living space that cozy, homey, finished feeling. Outdoor table lamps not only provide light, but also make those transitional indoor/outdoor spaces feel a little less outdoorsy and a little more designer. They also, of course, provide plenty of light – usually with your choice of conventional or LED bulbs, and sometimes dimmer switches – but are often as much for decoration as functionality.

What About Outdoor Floor Lamps?

There's just something about a floor lamp that can make even an open-air space feel like a finished living area (by Shaun Ford & Co.)
There’s just something about a floor lamp that can make even an open-air space feel like a finished living area (by Shaun Ford & Co.)

You can also find outdoor floor lamps, either in their own designs or ones made to match a coordinating set of table lamps. While table lamps provide soft, targeted lighting, floor lamps are a bit better for all-over ambient lighting. Especially if you have a seating area centered around a firepit (or one with overhead lighting on a covered porch), outdoor floor lamps are great for pushing back the shadows in the corners of your outdoor space and giving the area a bright, inviting look and feel.

Can Outdoor Lamps Be My Primary Outdoor Lighting?

Outdoor Arc Lamps let you get centralized light for your seating set, even if you don't have a covered deck or patio (by Hollam Design)
Outdoor arc lamps let you get centralized light for your seating set, even if you don’t have a covered deck or patio (by Hollam Design)

Whether or not you can rely entirely on outdoor lamps depends a little on your outdoor space. But for uncovered patios that don’t have a fire pit or other source of light in the middle, you aren’t out of luck. Outdoor arc lamps take up about as much space as conventional floor lamps, but have long, flexible necks that let you put the actual lightbulb part of the lamp right in the middle of your seating area – like an overhead light with no ceiling needed. Across all three types of outdoor lamps, you should be able to get full coverage of your outdoor living spaces  – though you might need another solution for your back yard!

Are There Any Drawbacks To Outdoor Lamps?

Outdoor lamps can be the perfect finishing touch for your deck or patio, but the cords do have to go somewhere! (by DK Design)
Outdoor lamps can be the perfect finishing touch for your deck or patio, but the cords do have to go somewhere! (by DK Design)

Of course, the biggest problem with outdoor lamps of any size, shape, or style is the same problem you might have run into with indoor lamps: you need a place to plug them in, and once you do, you’ll have a cord running between your outlet and your lamp. Again, outdoor lamp cords are rated for outdoor use, meaning they can handle getting wet and won’t get too upset if you step on them. That said, it’s something to be aware of both in planning the layout of your furniture and planning out the wiring for your outdoor space, since you’ll need to ensure you have enough outdoor-rated outlets to go around.

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