A flickering flame offers dim but cozy lighting that creates an intimate atmosphere. In contrast, a bright, blinking disco ball invites dancing and exudes energy. These are just two examples of how party lights can create different atmospheres.

Lighting is a powerful way to create mood and atmosphere at your party. The good news is that it’s also an affordable way to make a big statement. With well-designed and expertly executed lighting, you won’t need to put much additional work into your decor.

So, how should you design the lighting for your upcoming party? Here are some practical, but creative lighting solutions to consider:

String Lights

Strings of white lights are perfect for outdoor and indoor parties alike. If you’d like to turn battery-operated strings of lights into centerpieces, try putting one string in a mason jar for a gorgeous effect. You can also use other types of vases to store the lights, including vases and jars with colored glass.

Plain strings of lights are great for hanging on trees or for placing along a fence. Another design option is to hang them in straight strings overhead, creating a sort of pergola. Want to fit the lights in with a theme? Use shaded string lights to add a bit of color. There are many varieties available, including flowers, lanterns, stars, and more.

Vintage Bulbs

Do you love a rustic or industrial look? Get there with vintage light bulbs. Also available in string light variety, vintage bulbs are perfect for making a statement. Add them to unshaded lamps, hang them from above, or create a chandelier with them!

Candle Centerpieces

Candle centerpieces create that intimate, warm atmosphere no other type of light can replace. Try hanging candle centerpieces using glass vases. Or, soften the glow with pottery covers. Tin cans can also be great little candle lanterns. Weight everything down by filling your cans or vases half-full with sand. This also makes it easy to set your tall candles up in a way that they won’t fall over.

If fire safety is a concern, there are many battery-operated LED candles that even flicker like real candles. These are a perfect choice if your party will be a long one and you don’t want to worry about replacement candles.

Lit Tables

What if the table itself glowed? This look is especially great for high tables. Using a long, sheer tablecloth, you place a special LED light under the table, which makes it look like the table is glowing! Go for several colors or pick just one. The results are enchanting.


Nothing is quite as whimsical as hanging lanterns. Choose from a variety of types and colors, including beautiful paper lanterns.

Alternatively, opt for old fashioned kerosene lanterns. These are great for lighting an outdoor bar or food table that’s far away from electricity sources. Old fashioned lanterns provide great lighting so that everything is easy for guests to see.

Tiki Torches

Perfect for lighting an outdoor path or creating a perimeter. Tiki torches create a great, festive atmosphere ideal for barbecues and other informal events.

Projection Lights

Looking for more exciting lighting for your dance floor? Projection lights are perfect for infusing energy into your party. Invite your guests to dance in a swirling display of stars or dots. Or, you might opt for ocean wave projector lights for a more calming effect. Having an outdoor party? Projector lights work well when placed in tents or aimed at curtains.

LED Cubes and Orbs

Imagine glowing colored geometrical shapes strategically placed on tables or hanging in the air. With LED lighting, just about anything is possible. LED cubes and orbs come in a variety of colors and can be stacked or hung, creating a beautiful scene.

Some parties can get by with just one type of lighting, while for others you’ll need several. It really depends on how much light you’ll need. For example, you can use hanging lanterns, but also put candle centerpieces on each table. Or, use a few lanterns on the food table, but use string lights everywhere else.

Inspired? Lighting is a great way to communicate your party’s theme and atmosphere without blowing your budget. Hang and set up your lights yourself, or leave it to your professional party planner. Either way, the results are sure to amaze and delight your guests. Whether it’s a soft glow, colorful bright lights or energetic strobe lights, the lighting will set the tone for your event.

Need help planning an upcoming party? Call Pico Party Rentals for advice, rental items, and more!