String lights have gotten better since we compiled our 'best of' list last year — there are more LEDs, more handcrafted finds, and more variations in styles. If you're looking for a way to transform your outdoor space, our source list has expanded to include additional online stores and independent retailers — enjoy!
Pigeon Toe Ceramics
Based in Portland, Pigeon Toe hand-crafts two types of ceramic string lights for indoor or outdoor use: Disc and Pleated. Both are available in sets of 10 with 15 glaze options.
• Disc String Lights, $164
They sell a bunch of different party lights — some tacky, some tasteful. Our favorites are the metal cage lights, a strand of 10 with an industrial-style lantern around the bulb.
• Metal Cage Lantern String Party Lights, $25
These are a nice, big, round set of bulbs in clear glass. Shop at this online store for basic sets of affordable bulbs, strands of LED lights, and commercial strings and bulbs.
• G50 15 Light Set - Clear, $26
This webshop has a really nice selection of LED string lights. The advantage of LEDs is that they're energy efficient and they don't burn out as often as regular bulbs.
• 38" Flexible Lighting 96 LED Battery Operated Pearl Lights, $35
This California-based mail order catalog carries basic globe lights, as well as a few versions of colored string lights and a couple options with galvanized shades.
• Golden Globe Lights, $40 - $140
A 54-foot strand with 24 sockets from Sival, these are the kind of heavy-duty lights used in restaurants, streets, and hotels.
• Commercial-Grade Heavy-Duty Outdoor String Lights, 54 ft., 24 Medium Base Sockets, With Suspensor, $99
A 35-foot string with 7 sockets and galvanized shades, this strand has a 'ruffled' shade that reflects light.
• Table In A Bag SL3507BLK European Cafe Commercial Quality String Lighting, $65
They have several inexpensive party lights, including paper lanterns, globe lights, and decorative ball lights in multiple colors and styles.
• Clear 30-Bulb String Lights, $30
David Stark designed this strand of 10 lights with seagrass shades. The look is a little more laid-back bohemian than some of the other styles on this list.
• David Stark Outdoor String Lights, on sale for $25
New this year, their cafe string lights have been updated with rounded bulbs and galvanized iron shades. Each strand comes with 8 bulbs.
• Cafe String Lights, $39
These LED lights are solar powered. Each string is equipped with a weatherproof solar panel that feeds a strand of 104 LED bulbs in white, amber, blue, green, or red.
• Solar String Lights, $40
Pearl River Mart
Classic summer style. Pearl River carries a bunch of different variations on paper lantern string lights, including globe, pagoda-style, cube, and perforated shades.
• White Mini String Lights, $13.50
• Best Outdoor String Lights 2010
• Best Outdoor Lanterns 2010
• Best Indoor/Outdoor Lighting Stores