The European café culture has tremendous appeal among American homeowners. Why wouldn’t it? Outdoor bistro lights are beautiful ways to adorn your outdoor recreation space and entertain guests.

The importance of lighting for patios can’t be underestimated. Outdoor lighting sets the mood for your patio. Picture strings of glowing bulbs swaying back and forth to create a ceiling of light that perfectly lights faces.

Sounds like the perfect place to spend an evening, no? If you think so, bistro-inspired patios are for you. This blog discusses a few different bistro lights to consider for your patio, and how to choose bistro lights that fit your particular design. No matter what kind of outdoor space you have, you can transport yourself to a bistro in your own backyard.

What Are Bistro Lights?

Bistro lights or café lights are decorative light strings that enhance outdoor spaces. They are often used at weddings or nighttime events, but they apply to patio lighting for the purposes of dining and entertainment.

What Are the Benefits to Bistro Lights?

One of the most noticeable benefits of bistro lighting is your ability to fully customize your lighting display. You can create the environment you want by choosing colors and styles that fit your preferences. If you change your mind down the road, it’s easy to change out bulbs.

Tips for Hanging Outdoor String Lights (Bistro Lights)

Choose the Right Brand of Outdoor String Lights

Choosing the correct brand of lights ensures that you get the most out of your investment. Incandescent bulbs are a decent choice if you only plan on using them once in a while. However, if you’re looking for more durable, energy-saving lights, consider LED bulbs. LEDs also require fewer replacement bulbs.

Choosing the Size and Style of Your Lights

Part of choosing your bistro lighting comes down to your lights’ shape and size. Do you want larger bulbs with a warm glow or smaller mini-light bulbs with a twinkle? Do you want different colors and string sizes, different-shaped bulbs or the same light string throughout? No matter your choice, go with pro grade LED bulbs. They offer the most color consistency and quality for your bistro display.

Bistro Lights Ideas

The Anywhere Bistro

With sturdy ground posts and globe string lights, you can turn nearly any place in your yard into an ambient dining area. Get it glowing by placing your table on gravel, patio concrete or grass, stake some posts into the ground (we recommend using DIY concrete bases for stability and weight), and hang your light strings.

glass bulbs

The General Bistro Glow

If your outdoor dining set up prevents you from stringing lights directly overhead, you can create a light canopy around your yard to capture the same feeling. Use a tree or posts to create a yard light canopy.

fairy lights

The Mid-Century Bistro

Bring your home bistro into a different time with a mid-century style. Choose modern outdoor furnishings and string your lights above in a clean, linear pattern.

commercial grade bistro lights

The Contemporary Bistro

You don't have to transform your contemporary patio style to capture the bistro ambiance. Just add the lights to your 21st century home to create a dining space with warmth.

The Contemporary Bistro Lighting

The Bistro Deck

A deck is a great place to create a cozy and intimate outdoor dining space! Place your table in the center and enclose it in beautiful light. Make an X-shape of lights above and swag additional strings around the railings on all sides.

bistro replacement bulbs

The True Bistro

Have an alleyway or narrow outdoor space in your home? Create a genuine bistro-style dining area by filling it with multiple small tables and chair sets in lieu of a large dining table to fit the small space. Then, zigzag your globe lights to create a canopy above. Friends with think they've left the country and entered Italy when they visit your backyard!

The True Bistro Lighting

Hanging Patio String Lights- the Basic Steps

The following steps provide a basic outline for hanging your bistro lighting:

  1. Sketch your bistro lighting plan with measurements.
  2. If you use guy wire, hang this first. Using guy wire can prolong your bistro string lights’ lifespan.
  3. Hang the first bistro light string with the male plug closest to your outlet.
  4. Use zip ties and hooks in between each bulb and if applicable, attach strings to the guy wire.
  5. When working with multiple light strings, finish the first before connecting the male end to the female end of the second string. Continue to do so until all of your string bistro lights are in place. If your light strings don’t have end-to-end connectors, you can run an extension cord to the second light string and continue hanging your lights. If you use incandescent lights, you will have to consider the maximum wattage and switch to a different outlet if necessary.
  6. Plugin your patio lights and enjoy your bistro-style patio with your guests!

Where Should You Hang Patio Lights

If your yard has limited options for hanging your patio lights, you might need to carve some space of your own out. You can fix poles to deck railings or use the railings themselves to hang the string lights.

For larger installations, you can attach your wires to the trees. In smaller patios, you can cement poles into painted buckets or decorative planters.

Areas to install your patio lights:

  • Across the backyard or deck
  • Attached to the trees
  • Hanging against the deck railings
  • Outlining the gazebo or pergola

Conclusion- Creating a Bistro-Style Patio

Using your Christmas lights year-round is easy when you have a patio. Simply use your Christmas lights for patio lighting during the summer and use them for your Christmas tree and decorations in the winter.

Christmas Designers is here for all of your Christmas decoration needs. Whether you have a business that needs a commercial Christmas tree or you need LED lights for your home, we can take care of all of your holiday season needs.

Contact us today to learn more about what Christmas Designers can do for your lighting needs.