If your backyard has been feeling a bit lackluster lately and you’ve been stumped at how to improve the space, we’ve got the perfect solution: Pergola Lights! The small addition to your backyard can seriously make all the difference. 

You can transform the space from dull and dark to light, whimsical, and golden with a simple string of lights. Cost-effective, easy to install, and gorgeous, what’s not to love? But with so many choices, you might be wondering what’s best for you. 

Don’t worry. We’ve rounded up our favorite pergola lighting options that will help you make your decision. From fairy and firefly lights to multicolored nets, you’ve got many options that might be a little hard to resist!

And if you don’t have a pergola or wonder what exactly they are and if you should get one, check out our pergolas guide.

Edison Bulb Pergola Lights

Edison Bulbs are the classic choice for pergolas lights as they emit a low, ember color. They’re also great for a minimalistic or rustic look, perfect for a backyard space. Edison Bulbs are unique as they have a clear bulb, so you can see the electricity in the center, which is how it achieves the warm glow effect. 

These lights can come in various sizes, from rounded to long skinny tubes, but the design remains the same at its core with the exposed wiring. If you’re looking for a light strand that sets the mood and warms any space, these Edison Bulbs are a perfect choice.

As mentioned above, manufacturers offer different shapes, styles, and sizes, but you will also be able to customize the wiring color to fit your needs. You may also be able to find a remote-controlled option that allows for different flickering and intensity settings.

These lights will make a statement year-round as they are resilient against most weather conditions and add warmth most other options can’t achieve.

  • Good for: Those that want the traditional pergola lights look with a warm finish. These are the most popular style for a reason!
  • Why you should try this: These lights are the perfect intersection of affordability and style. Try these if you’re looking to elevate your space without breaking the bank.

Fairy or Firefly Pergola Lights

Fairy pergola lights are another classic option for lighting your pergola. Lightweight, whimsical, and dream-like, just as the name suggests, these lights are perfect for creating a lightweight space.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that fairy lights are typically used more as a decorative element than with the sole purpose of lighting. Because they’re usually very small balls of light on a thin string, they don’t provide much illumination but offer an added level of décor.

You can find fairy lights in many different forms, making the style adaptable. If you purchase a bundle of lights, you can unravel and attach the thin string of light to your pergola as you would normal lights.

Fairly lights are also sold inside bulbs so that the whimsical effect fills the traditional bulb that hangs from your pergola. While most people prefer a golden yellow color for their outdoor space, you may also find white LED lights and even colored ones like pink and purple.

  • Good for: These lights are great for those who want a minimal addition to their pergola, perhaps without the larger lights hanging down or such obvious lights.
  • Why you should try this: Try these lights if you’re unsure of whether you’ll like pergola lights. These are a great entry-level addition to make sure you’re happy with the colors and intensity that pergola lights can bring.

Dangling or Curtain Pergola Lights 

Pergola lights that hang vertically rather than horizontally snug to the pergola are a great option! They can add a layer of style that extends past the top of the pergola and toward the ground, compared to horizontally strung counterparts.

Contributing to the whimsical feel, you can find lights that vary in length from a couple of feet all the way to the floor, acting as a curtain that can be pulled aside or dangle freely.

Additionally, you will have options regarding colors, primarily between a bright white, nearly silvery look or a golden ember. These lights are often used as photo backdrops and for outdoor parties like weddings, but there’s no reason not to welcome the elegance and style year-round! Your backyard can be as beautiful as you want it to be, and with these curtains and dangling pergola lights, you’re one step closer.

  • Good for: Anyone and everyone that wants a touch of elegance and celebration but doesn’t mind the dangling strings getting in the way of maneuvering at times.
  • Why you should try this: These strings add elegance to your backyard space year-round. Want to feel like you’re on vacation every time you step outside? These lights are a great choice to get you there.

Remote Controlled Pergola Lights

Referring more to an amenity than a style, you’ll have the choice for most pergola light options to opt for a remote-controlled operation. This is not a necessity, but definitely something you’ll want to consider if you’re looking for ease and potentially the ability to change colors throughout the year.

Additionally, you will be able to adjust the flicker patterns, glow intensity, and stop and start depending on the manufacturer. This means you won’t need to unplug at the end of the night or manually climb to adjust something. Instead, it should all be done via the remote, a great luxury when trying to relax in your backyard oasis.

  • Good for: Those who lead busy lifestyles or do not have the physical ability to adjust their lights manually. Also, those who simply want the luxury of adjusting with the push of a button.
  • Why you should try this: Though not necessary, remote-controlled lights are a nice bonus that provides ease and has the capability to grow with your family by being easily accessible and adjustable.

Paper Lantern Pergola Lights

Paper lantern lights are an adorable addition to any pergola. Coming in many different colors, sizes, and styles, these lights offer a less direct glow while maintaining a certain level of ambiance. The added touch of warmth these can add to your pergola is unmatched.

It’s easy to find a style that works well for your space without detracting too much from the beauty of your backyard itself. Whether you opt for muted colors like whites and tans or choose to add a pop of color with rainbow string paper lantern lights, you’re in full control of your pergola’s style.

Today’s Homeowner Tips

Just don’t forget to make sure they are outdoor safe to withstand all of the elements throughout the years or be sure to remove them after summer is over because the paper material may not do well with the rain depending on the manufacture.

  • Good for: Anyone who wants an extra pop of color or style without forfeiting the functional purpose of bringing light to the pergola.
  • Why you should try this: Paper lantern pergola lights are a fun way to make your pergola pop. Regardless of whether you choose a neutral color or one that screams you, you won’t regret the decision!

Crackle Glass Pergola Lights

A less common choice but a beautiful one nonetheless is the crackle glass pergola lights. These unique bulbs provide a dim glow that is refracted on the surface nearby due to the cracked effect on the glass. Don’t worry. They’re not really cracked. It’s just a design tool used to help create an alluring look.

Typically, these bulbs are shaped similarly to the traditional round Edison bulbs and even have exposed electrical wiring, but that is not the focal point here.

Instead, the main draw for these is simply the way the light looks as it dances off of the crackled glass to create a bit of a chaotic, mismatched, but mystical look for anyone and anything caught below the bulbs and pergola.

  • Good for: This option may be best for those going for a modern and sleek theme in their backyard. With its strong LED glow and sleek design, it can complement the sleekest of designs.
  • Why you should try this: These crackled glass lights are a unique and mesmerizing effect that will draw visitors in and attention to your beautiful backyard.

LED Strip Pergola Lights

Strip lights are the perfect option for those looking for something a bit sleeker and tucked away than traditional pergola lights. You may have seen these used in other spaces as they are quite popular both inside and outside the home, lighting up bedrooms and balconies alike.

However, you may have never considered adding them to your pergola, which is a shame! These lights come in different colors, intensities, and many are even solar-powered to offer an environmentally friendly option. Just be sure to opt for an outdoor-friendly option too.

These LED strip lights are easy to install and are hidden when not in use, which may be exactly what you’re looking for. Simply peel and stick them along the outer and insides of the pergola, along the pillars, and in between the slabs across the top for some color.

Bonus, if you put the strips in between the top of the pergola slates, creating a halo effect with the glow that is extremely mesmerizing as the colors bounce off the adjacent pieces. If you opt for a remote-controlled and light strip that can change colors, you’ll be able to have a breathtaking glow year-round that fits the color schemes of the seasons and holidays.

  • Good For: LED Strip Lights are perfect for those who want to take a plunge into pergola lights without committing to a bulkier, more prominent option.
  • Why you should try this: These lights are perfect for the versatile household that wants the choice of using and hiding away the lights when not in use.

Net Pergola Lights

Generally used for special events like weddings or holidays, these net lights provide a touch of elegance without all of the hassles. Though, there doesn’t need to be any sort of celebration to add these to your backyard space.

Designed to drape over just about anything, the net lights are a perfect addition to any backyard pergola. Their crisscross pattern and open and airy appearance, allowing to cover the entire pergola in lights while still seeing in and out, makes this option extra special.

Additionally, most of the net pergola light manufacturers offer lights with different functions so that you can get the best of both worlds, well, really all of the worlds. With functions for specific flashing modes and color vibrancy, you can adjust your lights to be slow-glow, twinkling, and more.

While there are simple and elegant color options, which are usually the kinds of looks you’re trying to obtain when styling a pergola, there are also fun colors to add a pop of life to your pergola, including rainbow.

  • Good for: This option is great for those who require little effort upon installation with maximum benefits!
  • Why you should try this: Easy installation, cost-effective, and a decadent light choice, these lights are perfect year-round.

So Many Choices!

The best part about pergola lights is that they aren’t permanent. Depending on the method you use to hang them, a simple adjustment or change can be made throughout the seasons in years.

If you love the idea of remote-controlled multicolored Christmas bulbs in the winter, you can hang those up in those cold months. If the idea of a whimsical gold glow sounds great too, simply purchase and hang those lights in the summer. With these aesthetic additions, you don’t have to be tied down, and you can truly have the best of both worlds or even all of the worlds! 

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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