Outdoor Lighting with Southern Soul

Refresh your alfresco living spaces with Southern-inflected fixtures

Photo: Terrain

An outdoor lamp post from Terrain.

Like many of you, I’ve been making a mental list of home improvements over the course of the pandemic. And as we’re all spending more time in the fresh air—and particularly will come Thanksgiving, when (small) gatherings on porches and in outdoor spaces for (or to escape) the big meal will abound—updated outdoor lighting is at the top of the list. 

It’s not easy, however, to find the just-right outdoor lantern, or a sconce that isn’t absolutely hide-your-eyes ugly. Nor is it simple to create warm, friendly ambience with those two items alone. Luckily, I have go-to pieces and sources that can help. 

Old Flame

If you’re going to go through the difficulty and expense of rewiring an existing outdoor light, make it a flickering, welcoming gas light. Bevolo in New Orleans makes tried-and-true, loveliest-of-them-all versions, such as this design from their Vieux Carre series.

Wall-to-Wall Beauty

This outdoor wall lantern from the Fresno collection at the Savannah, Georgia–based Circa Lighting is my absolute favorite for any style of house, because it’s so, so simple and clean. It lets any house speak for itself without distraction.

Magic Lamp

If you have a porch with a cushy seating area, ambient lighting is so much more interesting than overhead, just as it is inside a house. And over the last decade, many designers have tackled the idea with interesting results. I love this outdoor lamp by the Atlanta native Miles Redd for Ballard Designs.

Cordless Wonder

Dealing with cords can be a hassle outdoors. Enter: these genius rechargeable lamps from Raleigh, North Carolina’s Furbish Studio. They come in a rainbow of colors, last for hours on an outdoor dinner table, and shed the perfect amount of light. Yes, you have to bring them inside after the party is over, but they look equally stunning when used on an interior mantel. I wish I owned dozens of these.

Roaring Fire

Fire pits also count as outdoor lighting, and I’m partial to this Sea Island Forge design, now available through Fieldshop.

Grand Strands

Finally, with the holidays approaching, it’s a good time to invest in the right pieces to create a twinkly, festive paradise when the sun goes down. These globe lights and stands from Terrain offer a no-fail way to do just that.