8 Unique String Light Styles to Brighten Up Your Space Both Inside and Out

published May 20, 2021
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Picture it: You’re enjoying a lovely summer evening on your patio with great friends, lots of laughs, and bottomless frosés. Nights like that are what summer’s all about, right? Well, before you start texting you invite your pod to come over for cocktails, there’s one must-have piece of decor that you need ASAP: string lights! String lights are the perfect way to elevate your outdoor space after dark with minimal effort. They add warmth (but not the kind that makes you sweat) and ambiance, leaving you wondering where the hours went after said late-night summer hangout. And if you think you have to pack away these charming accessories when the season ends, think again! Instead, opt for lights that are meant for use both outside and inside.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good set of fairy lights or a stately string of Edison bulbs, but with indoor/outdoor lights, you have the flexibility to use them to illuminate wherever (and whenever) you prefer — and you don’t even have to figure out where to store them! As an added bonus, these lights are also more durable and tend to provide a little bit more brightness than outdoor-only lights. So even if you don’t have an outdoor space, they’re a good investment. Whether you’re going for a vibe that’s festive, elegant, or serene, we’ve found the most unique indoor/outdoor string lights that are sure to stand out and set the perfect mood.

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Finally, the string lights of our boho-chic dreams. These rattan-wrapped fairy lights will add warmth and style to any room or outdoor space. And at 29 feet, you get a lot of lights to work with, and all for less than $30. When the holidays roll around, use these beauties to decorate your house or drape around the tree.

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Combine the shape of an Edison bulb with the softness of fairy lights, and you’ve got a string of lights that are chic and timeless. If you’re not looking to stray too far from the classics, then these are the string lights for you. Although they look gorgeously delicate, they're actually weatherproof, making them a great option for the backyard.

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When it comes to taking a set of ordinary string lights to the next level, it’s all about the shade. These Moroccan-inspired globe lights promise to give off a warm glow and intricately patterned shadow wherever you hang them. They’re also battery operated and solar powered, so leave them in a sunny spot, and they’ll be ready to shine by nightfall.

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With their oblong shape and intricate design, these novelty lights are sure to be the envy of your neighbors and your guests. “Really cute and gives off a lot of ambiance,” raves one happy reviewer.

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West Elm
was $49.00

These lights say they're for kids, but I think it's safe to say that adults will love them, too. The design is simple yet elegant, and the frosted bulbs give off a warm glow. They come in nickel, brass, and dark bronze, so you can pick which you like best or even mix and match if you have a larger space to illuminate.

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Home Depot

The smoky glass shades on these incandescent bulbs will soften their brightness while still giving off enough light for a summer evening. The glass sports a modern look but still manages to create a homey feel that's perfect for your next backyard cookout — or just a night under the stars.

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Here's another option if you're looking for an intricately designed shade with a unique shape to draw the eye. These lights are festive, functional, and will have your guests leaning in for a closer look. This reviewer said it best: "I love these lights. And they cast such a pretty pattern on the wall, which I wasn't expecting!"

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Home Depot

These simple lights with gold-colored metal mesh cages go with just about anything. They can be set to a blinking mode and are also equipped with a timer to automatically shut off after a certain number of hours. Reviewers say they look just as great in person as they do online. "Lovely soft white lights that can be placed anywhere indoors to highlight an area such as seasonal decorations (Christmas!) or ambiance," said one buyer.