Different Types of Outdoor Lighting to Improve Your Restaurant

Author: Robert Mazzega  Date Posted:10 January 2023 

Festoon Lights

The atmosphere of a restaurant plays a significant role in creating an enjoyable dining experience. While food and service are essential, the atmosphere sets the tone for the whole night. One powerful way to create this ambience is through the use of outdoor lighting. 

Lighting can influence how a person feels in a room and whether or not a customer will return to your establishment based on how enjoyable the experience was. Creating a comfortable and welcoming environment will not only benefit your customers' experience; it will also benefit your income.

Here are some quick tips to help you understand how different lighting can be used to create the desired atmosphere in your restaurant, bar, or brewery:

Ambient lighting 

Ambient lighting is lighting that illuminates a room in general, allowing people to see without strain. This light can be that which is naturally let in through windows, or artificial lighting supplied from overhead fixtures such as string lights in an outdoor restaurant space.

Task lighting 

This focused light helps you to perform specific functions. Think about the under cabinet lights that help you prepare and cook food on your kitchen benchtops. Or, the bedside table lamps that you use to get in some reading time before bed. Task lighting will be essential in your restaurant, so that guests can read their menus clearly and waitstaff can quickly find and access important items. 

String Lights 

String lights are a popular way to light up outdoor spaces because they provide a warm, inviting atmosphere without being too bright or overwhelming. String lights come in many styles, from tiny bulbs to larger lanterns. This type of lighting can be hung from trees, fences, and poles, or draped over patio umbrellas for added visual interest. Depending on your budget and desired aesthetic, you can choose between incandescent or LED string lights. 


Downlighting is ideal for illuminating pathways and walkways so guests can move around safely after dark. Downlights are usually mounted on posts or walls at varying heights to cast light downward onto the ground below them. This type of lighting is a subtle yet effective way to illuminate your restaurant's outdoor space while helping guests find their way around after dark.


Uplights provide an elegant glow that can transform any space into something magical after dark. Uplighting highlights certain features in your restaurant's outdoor area, like trees, walls, building facades and other architectural elements that can't be seen during the day because they are in shadows or behind a structure. For restaurants with limited budgets, uplight fixtures that run on solar power are also an option. 

Accent Lighting

By drawing attention to key focal points, accent lighting allows you to create depth and intrigue in your space. For instance, a focal point on an outdoor patio could be an architectural feature on the outside of your restaurant, a water feature, or even the back of an outdoor bar. Landscape lighting is also included in this category; it illuminates foliage in the same way indoor accent lighting illuminates a painting.

How Lighting Impacts Your Business's Mood

How do you want to feel in your space? What kind of people do you want to attract? What do you want customers to think about your restaurant?

These are all critical questions to consider when designing your restaurant, bar, or brewery. The answers will help you understand what structures and fixtures you’ll need to create your desired ambience.

With this knowledge, you can select the lighting that best suits your space and sets the appropriate mood for customers. Keep this outline in mind when choosing a lighting option for your restaurant, bar, or brewery. The right choice can do wonders to impress your customers and put your business on the map!

Wrapping Up

No matter what type of restaurant you have, from a romantic bistro to a casual cafe, outdoor lighting can help set the mood and make it more inviting for guests. From cozy string lights to ambient downlighting, Directly2U has plenty of options available to help transform your restaurant's exterior into something special after dark. With careful planning and thoughtful consideration of your budget, you can create a fantastic outdoor atmosphere that will keep customers coming back.