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How to Hang Rope Lights Under a Deck Railing

Get the party started this summer with outdoor rope lights! I'm sharing my tips and tricks for hanging rope lights on the underside of your deck railing to give your outdoor space instant ambiance!

How to Add Outdoor Rope Lights to Your Deck Railing

It's time to hose down the patio set, get the outdoor cushions out of storage, and have ourselves a barbecue on the deck! Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, but the sun goes down far too early in May.

This year, we're keeping the party going into the night by installing rope lights under our deck railing. The ambient glow will illuminate the perimeter and give the space a festive atmosphere with color-changing LEDs!

This post is sponsored by Batteries Plus Bulbs and contains affiliate links. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you.

One of the first things we did when we bought our house was replace the rotting deck with one that was more than twice the size. It has an outdoor dining area in the middle...

white outdoor dining table on wooden deck

and a seating area in one corner with an outdoor loveseat and sofa, umbrella side table and outdoor coffee table. You can get the plans for all these projects on my woodworking plans page.

outdoor seating area on deck with DIY outdoor loveseat, sofa, coffee table and umbrella side table

But once the sun dips behind our huge magnolia tree, the deck is hidden in shade. One lone light fixture on the wall barely provides enough light to eat at the table, but doesn't reach to the far corners of the deck.

deck furniture on deck behind red house

Luckily, the good people over at Batteries Plus Bulbs are here to help! May is National Home Improvement Month, and they've got everything you need to give your home the lighting and power it requires.

Why I chose rope lights over string lights

We had string lights over our backyard firepit area for a little while. But we quickly discovered that the bulbs shatter when they fill with rain water and bump into a branch! Plus, a squirrel chewed through the cord and gnawed a bulb right off, shorting out the entire strand.

backyard makeover with string lights and propane fire pit

These LED outdoor rope lights are the ideal lighting solution for my deck. Instead of individual bulbs, it has a continuous string of LEDs encased in a rubbery waterproof plastic. It's thin enough to fit under the deck railing, and doesn't sag or droop like string lights.

The kit comes with a remote control that can be used to change the color of the lights to suit the mood and season. From red/white/blue for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, to red/green/blue for Christmas, and white for simple ambient light.

outdoor rope light kit remote

It took the base unit with 16 feet of lights, plus two expansion kits to wrap around the entire deck and down the stairs. Each box comes with the mounting hardware required to attach it to the railing.

outdoor rope light kit

If you're looking for simple white outdoor rope lights, I would go with this cheaper option. No power outlet nearby? Try these solar rope lights instead! These adhesive clips would make it easy to attach to the underside of your deck railing.

How to Install Rope Lights on a Deck Railing

Installation was pretty straightforward. I started the screws in the bracket holes to make it easier to drill upside down without losing them in the grass below. The overhang was just wide enough to attach the brackets underneath.

installing mounting brackets for outdoor rope lights to underside of deck railing

Once the mounting hardware is in place, the outdoor rope lights pop right in. The next bracket should be about 18" away so the lights don't sag.

mounting brackets with outdoor rope lights under deck railing

Connecting additional light strips is easy! Just remove the cap from one end, insert it into the other, and tighten the ring around the junction.

adding additional lengths of outdoor rope lights

Arranging the power bricks at the beginning and end of each rope light segment took a bit of trial and error. I didn't want to lose the effect of a solid string of lights, but there's almost a two foot gap between the end of one string and the beginning of the next.

I decided to stack the two power bricks together so that the line of lights was as close to uninterrupted as I could get. They're hidden under the railing, so you only see them when you're sitting at eye level.

power bricks for outdoor rope lights under deck railing

The corners posed another challenge. These outdoor rope lights aren't flexible enough to make a tight 90 degree turn. I installed a bracket across the corner and used it to simply hold the curve of the lights in place rather than click it fully into the hardware.

outdoor rope lights curved around corner of deck railing

Where the deck railing meets the stairs down to the backyard, I played around with it until I found a curve that worked well, and installed the brackets accordingly.

outdoor rope lights for lighting stairs

Testing the LED rope lights

I was excited for nightfall to arrive so I could get the full effect of the lights. The wait was totally worth it!

white outdoor rope lights attached to underside of deck railing

It turned out exactly as I envisioned! The lights give the perimeter of the deck the perfect glow, and changing the color changes the mood of the space.

outdoor LED rope lights in four different colors

Jann Olson

Wednesday 30th of May 2018

Lighting always adds a special touch to any outdoor space. Thanks for sharing the how to's with SYC. hugs, Jann


Saturday 26th of May 2018

What a great idea to add to your deck. The lights look awesome. Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty


Monday 21st of May 2018

I love this. So cool and relaxing looking.


Thursday 25th of May 2017

I love outdoor lighting and these rope lights are so much fun! That remote is everything!


Thursday 25th of May 2017

What a cool addition to your deck. We just made the ver our deck and I was thinking of adding more ambient lighting. This would be perfect.

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