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Is there anything better than hanging on the patio in the warm summer months? Even if the patio in question is less part of a spacious backyard and more of a strip of space on your tiny balcony, there’s something about string lights that make any outdoor scene feel that much cozier. You don’t need a ton of room to hang ’em up and add ambiance to your next al fresco get-together. Whether you’re working with a larger space or just a little corner, here are some of our favorite al fresco spots with string lights to inspire your summer home makeover.

Photography by Aaron Bengochea

Stringed bulbs seamlessly blend into the natural style of this impressive Las Vegas home, which happens to include the rustic patio dining area of our dreams. They may not shine that bright—the sconces on the walls fill the role of primary light source—but the decorative touch they add is definitely welcome.


Souvlaki GR is a Lower East Side staple. The bright blue facade—string lights included—will instantly transport you to Greece without ever leaving New York City.

Photography by Whitney Leigh Morris

Does it get better than Whitney Leigh Morris‘s tiny patio? Her use of string lights in her small green space is nothing less than impressive. See more of Morris’s small space living hacks here.


Another Lower East Side spot with perfect string lights. Thanks to the little lights that could, the alley leading to Freemans always looks like a scene out of a movie (MAGICAL).


Adding wood slats for shade coverage—and attaching string lights—is a genius idea. See more of Victoria Smith’s patio before-and-after on SF Girl by Bay.

Hanging lights between you and your neighbor’s homes is a brilliant way to create a stunning shared space. The bonus? You can book a vacation to this Airbnb to enjoy this exact relaxing atmosphere ASAP.


New tablescape idea: Hang string lights above the length of your table for added light once the sun goes down and a lovely ambience for your dinner party. (See more photos from Kinfolk’s Charleston dinner party here!)

Photography by Sugar and Cloth 

The only thing that could make a pink, outdoor fireplace better? String lights, of course.

Photography by Michael Wiltbank

Is this not the most picturesque view of the city skyline you’ve ever seen? Adding string lights to your balcony or city rooftop creates a more whimsical mood.

(See more photos of a party we threw on the tiniest terrace here.)

We wish we had palm trees to hang string lights between. If you don’t, hanging them between two trees of the non-tropical variety will do just as well.

Photography by NINA HOLST 

Instead of art, drape lights across your empty wall space for some decoration. Fill up any empty wall space with a stylish accent that’ll add some warmth.


Emily Henderson

‘s patio makeover—to nobody’s surprise—is a well-lit, cozy navy palace perfect for entertaining friends and family.

Add a hutch to your outdoor dining space for shade during the day—and lights for a festive nighttime dining experience. Seriously, how dreamy does this dinner party setup look?

The back patio at RM Champagne Salon, located in Chicago, is an ideal place to hang in the warm summer months.


Vintage Revivals gave this trailer a true makeover, opting to accessorize the new cute facade with a cactus in a rattan planter—and string lights, naturally.

Much like the narrow hallway, alleyways are tough to decorate. Zig-zagging string lights throughout your space will create a homey, magical feeling.

If you live in NYC and haven’t yet tried one of Tacombi‘s four outposts (there’s even a location in Montauk), you’re making a big mistake. The decor and food are on point.


This canopy of larger string lights adds even more character to an already expertly decorated outdoor space.

String lights almost always make an appearance at outdoor weddings, and for good reason. Draped along with hanging greens, like you see here, they create an incredibly soft, romantic setting.

Photography by CRATE & BARREL

The ideal outdoor setup: a pool, fire pit, view, and string lights. If we lived in this house, we would probably be planted here all summer long.

Make dinners under your deck brighter with the help of a few strands of lights.

Criss-cross a canopy of lights over your dance floor, bar, and tables for a memorable wedding reception.

Photography by Local Milk

Yet another idea of how to hang your lights. String over the table and along your deck railing for an inspired atmosphere.


Proof no matter what the shape of your roof or deck, you can find a way to add some lights to your space.

This story was originally published May 30, 2016. It has been updated with new information.

See more outdoor decorating ideas:

Easy Ways to Add Personality to Your Patio
How to Make the Most of Your Tiny Balcony
The One Thing Your Patio Is Missing

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