11 Outdoor Recessed Lighting Ideas To Inspire You

Have you considered adding outdoor recessed lighting around your house? Perhaps you should! Outdoor recessed lights can be gorgeous additions to your home.

Recessed lights, or can lights, are light fixtures that release focused light from an opening in the ceiling. However, the beam of light may be adjusted to appear more concentrated or cover more surface area. And recessed lights are not just for inside the home. You can install them outdoors, too!

But it’s a lot of work to change existing light fixtures. It would be pretty challenging to do it yourself.

For instance, a precise opening must be cut into the ceiling to place the recessed light fixture inside. Generally, this requires a skilled carpenter, so the ceiling is not damaged. Plus, an electrician needs to reconfigure the wiring. Leave it to the professionals unless you have carpentry and electrical skills. 

View of modern living room with outdoor recessed lighting, 11 Outdoor Recessed Lighting Ideas To Inspire You

Advantages and Disadvantages of Recessed lighting 

Regardless, you should weigh the pros and cons of outdoor recessed lights compared to standard ceiling lights. 


  • Stylistically, they look contemporary and sleek.
  • To home buyers, they are popular and appealing.
  • Typically, they take up less space and make areas look more spacious. 
  • They can be installed on sloped or slanted ceilings.
  • Since they are installed directly into the ceiling, they are excellent for low ceilings.
  • Most have dimmable features.
  • Individual light fixtures are inexpensive.
  • Shadows may be desired in certain areas. 


  • Usually, multiple lights per area are needed.
  • Installation can be expensive.
  • Of course, only outdoor safe lights can be used. 
  • If insulation is present, IC-rated light fixtures are necessary. 
  • Shadows may be unwelcome. 

In our opinion, outdoor recessed lights win! They are great for patios or terraces, roofs, and back and front porches. Check out these great ideas.

1. Illuminated Pool Villa

Interior and exterior design of pool villa with swimming pool of the house or home building

Here is an impressive and grand pool villa with contemporary recessed lighting. On the left, at least six recessed lights are required to illuminate the patio area. But the overall effect is gorgeous! The lights accentuate the warm wood and white columns. And the ceiling fan is an excellent idea because this lovely pool villa probably gets hot during the day.

2. Cozy Patio

Interior lighting of a modern house with patio area at night

In contrast, small rooms can look great with recessed lighting. Here is a simple, quaint patio with recessed lights and an overhead fan. Although the room appears narrow, the recessed lights accentuate the white ceiling and white wooden table with a matching bench. 

3. Wide Open Bar

Swivel armchairs at bar area

Even though recessed lighting is great for low ceilings, it can still be used for high ceilings. Of course, the initial installation might be challenging because an exceptionally tall ladder is needed. Also, notice how much further apart the lights are placed. Larger surface areas need wider spacing between lights. 

Yes, it's a lot of work. But the result is fantastic! This bar looks large, open, and inviting.

4. Dining in Shadows

House interior with dining table

Sometimes you want a romantic area dimly lit with soft shadows. If the recessed lights are concentrated on small areas, they can create shadows in the room. This looks mysterious and lovely for outdoor dining. Also, the creamy, light yellow walls almost invoke a candlelit atmosphere present only in fancy restaurants. 

You don't need a fancy dinner in a restaurant. Instead, take your date to the back porch!  

5. Patio Cave

View of modern living room with outdoor recessed lighting, 11 Outdoor Recessed Lighting Ideas To Inspire You

Here is another wide-open area with several recessed lights. It almost looks like a cave entrance with stone pillars, gentle shadows, and simple vegetation. But this opening is perfect for an outdoor patio because it allows the moonlight to filter in. The recessed lights cover any areas that the moonlight cannot see. 

6. Slanted Patio

An open terrace with table, chairs, fireplace and apples. nobody

Recessed lights are perfected for slanted ceilings as regular light fixtures would not look right on them. The fireplace offers soft, glowing embers for a cozy atmosphere. But the recessed lights are great for brightening the patio. 

7. Modern Back Porch

Open plan dining area with fireplace in modern house

Recessed lights look great with browns and beige. This light brown wooden ceiling with little circles of light complements the brown table and wicker chairs with beige cushions. If needed, use IC-rated fixtures because roofs tend to have insulation. 

8. Tiny Home

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Again, recessed lighting is perfect for slanted ceilings. Although they appear modern, they don't have to look fancy.

Just a few recessed lights easily provide adequate lighting for this tiny, minimalistic home. However, since this is a small space, be sure to place the lights reasonably close together. If they are spaced too far apart, then they will create unwanted shadows. In this case, shadows are not desired because the lights are being used for a living space. 

9. Rectangular Roof

Concrete house, night scene

Typically, recessed lights are round. But they can be rectangular, too. Here is a rectangular roof with rectangular recessed lighting that boldly follows the roof outline. The long lights sufficiently light up the sides of the house.

10. Crisp White Panels

front porch luxury estate home

This front porch has an elongated, white wood-paneled ceiling that emphasizes the tall, white columns. And the circular columns appear sleek and modern when paired with the hidden lights. Small shadows are normal and expected on front porches. 

11. Modern Brown Panels 

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Alternatively, you can install dark brown wood panels to the ceiling of the front porch. The recessed lighting compliments the sleek, modern design. And the lights accentuate the darkness by providing contrasting bright circles of light. 

Interestingly enough, the columns both contrast and compliment the recessed lights. Unlike the lights, the columns are rectangular and sharp. Like the lights, the columns are white and bright. But they pair well together. 

Final Thoughts

Surprisingly, updated lighting is a small change that makes a big difference in style! Outdoor recessed lighting makes your home look modern and beautiful. Although the individual lights do not increase the value of your home, they make the home more appealing to buyers in case you plan on selling. Win, win!

Are you updating other lights around the house? Go ahead and check out our other articles about outdoor lights - 

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