How to String Lights on a Porch

If your porch isn't wired for lighting, you probably don't want to use it after dark.

Unfortunately, installing lighting on a porch usually requires hiring an electrician, which can be expensive. One way to brighten up your porch after dark without wiring for lighting is to put up string lights. String lights are easy to put up, are inexpensive and can be run to an interior electrical outlet.

Measure the perimeter of the porch to determine how long your string lights need to be. If you plan to string the lights along the interior of the porch roof, measure one length and multiply it by the number of lines you want.

Shop for string lights to suit your decor. There is a wide variety of string lights available, from traditional Christmas lights to globe lights to rope lights. PartyLights, Windy City Novelties and Off the Deep End all have a large assortment of string lights and novelty lights in their online inventory (see Resources below).

Run an extension cord from the outlet you plan to use out to your porch. If you have an exterior outlet, use that. Secure the extension cord to the perimeter of the porch using tape or nail-in wire clips to prevent tripping accidents.

Hang the lights on the upper perimeter of the porch, leaving enough slack to reach the female end of the extension cord. Attach the string lights on the porch using nail-in wire clips as needed. You can either swag the lights or pull them taut.

Connect the ends of the string lights to continue around the perimeter of the porch.

Fill in the interior roof of the porch in an S-shaped pattern if desired.

Things You Will Need

  • Ladder
  • String lights
  • Nail-in wire clips
  • Extension cord
  • Tape

Tips

  • For string lights that will stand up to the elements for years, consider getting the commercial string lights. These are more expensive, but they also come in longer strands, and they are constructed for durability.
  • To prevent the strands of lights from tangling as you hang them, keep them in their packaging until you need them.

Warning

  • Be careful not to overload your outlet with too many string lights. Avoid plugging anything else into that outlet, and check how many watts your lights are pulling. Divide the total number of watts by 120 volts (typical in an American household) to determine the amps. Try not to go over 15 amps per circuit.