Everything to Know About Copper Outdoor Lights

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Published: Last Updated on
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Copper outdoor lighting adds interest to a space unlike almost any other kind of light fixture. The color of copper is distinctive and works great with a range of design styles.

But as with other metal products, it helps to know what you’re looking for so you don’t get ripped off. Here’s everything you need to know about copper outdoor lights to get you started.

Why Choose Copper?

For many, copper is a bold design choice. On the other hand, it goes with numerous different styles, ranging from industrial and Scandi to boho and modern.

The other benefits of copper outdoor lighting include:

  • Long-lasting
  • Durable
  • Rust resistant

In short, copper is a great material for outdoor lighting because the weather doesn’t have much effect on it.

Types of Copper Outdoor Lighting

You’ll find copper lights in all styles, including:

  • Wall lights
  • String lights
  • Lanterns
  • Spotlights

If it exists as a type of outdoor light, the chances are that you’ll find a version in copper!

What to Consider Before Buying Copper Outdoor Lights

Real copper light fixtures can be quite a big investment. As such, you’ll want to take your time choosing the best ones for your needs. Here are some points to consider before buying copper outdoor lights.


Copper is well known for oxidation, the process that turns it green. This is known as a patina, and it occurs when the copper is exposed to air. It’s completely normal, but if you don’t want it to happen, you’ll have to varnish or lacquer your copper lights. Doing so adds to the cost and maintenance time involved.

Spotting Fakes

For outdoor lighting, it’s not a massive issue if you buy fake copper. After all, the real deal is quite expensive. Fake products might be copper alloys (such as bronze or brass), or they might be copper-plated.

Neither is a problem, although copper alloys won’t age in the same way. It only becomes an issue if you’re being charged real copper prices for a fake copper product.

There are plenty of ways to tell the difference, but if the light costs less than $200 or so, it’s most likely not real copper.

When Not to Use Copper

There aren’t really any situations in which you can’t (or shouldn’t) use copper lighting. Unlike most other metals, it looks better with age, and you don’t need to be as careful with the weather conditions.

That said, sea air will cause it to age faster. But you are probably acutely aware of this fact if you already live by the sea.

Maintenance and Cleaning

As mentioned, you could lacquer your copper lights if you don’t want them to age. You can clean the patina off, but this’ll be difficult if you’ve left the lights for a long time.

However, you can clean small amounts of tarnish off with a mix made from equal parts flour, vinegar and salt. Scrub it on with a toothbrush, leave it to sit for up to an hour and wash it off.

For polishing, you can use a mild acid such as tomato ketchup or actual copper cleaner.

Top 5 Copper Outdoor Light Fixtures

So, now that we have a better idea of buying copper, let’s look at some copper lights. Most of these are plated metal, but that’s the most common form. If you want genuine copper lighting, you might have to look in specialist stores.

Best for Balconies: Westinghouse Wall Fixtures

Wall lights such as these work great on a balcony, simply because they don’t take up floor space. Of course, you could use them in other outdoor spaces, such as patios, porches, or verandas.

They have an industrial feel, making them ideal for modern and Scandi designs.

Best for Patios: JHBOX Solar Ground Lights

Generally, copper outdoor ground lights will be plated, but they still look nice. Ground lights are a common sight in backyards, although they work well on patios (or even on balconies).

If you have plant pots, you can stick ground lights in them for ambience. One of the main advantages of these ground lights is that they’re solar powered, meaning there’s no installation involved.

Best String Lights: Minetom Fairy Lights

When buying copper outdoor lights, you could always do away with the light fittings and use string lights. Most use copper wiring anyway, so it’s ideal for adding copper without putting too much attention on the lighting.

Plus, most string lights of this kind will have plastic tubing around the wires, making them waterproof. A design like this can be a good option for adding copper into styles that don’t normally take it, such as monochrome or tropical.

Alternatively, look for string lights with copper decorations around the lights, such as small shades. These ones have little copper beaded balls around each light, which would be perfect hung along a balcony or decking rail.

Best for Porches: Design House Copper Porch Light

This sort of design works well for porches for a few reasons. First, it looks more like an indoor light. While this doesn’t matter too much, it’d be most fitting in a covered outdoor space.

Second, it directs light down, which is what you want on a porch. If your porch (or balcony) is covered, the copper won’t age as quickly, either.

Best for Other Outdoor Spaces: Sea Gull Lighting Wall Lantern

Copper develops a patina, but if that’s not the look you want, consider buying weathered-effect copper. Styles like this look aged rather than oxidized, meaning the copper is simply a duller color.

If this is the sort of thing you want, look out for fake copper. It won’t age the same, meaning it’ll keep the weathered effect for longer.

Best for Versatility: Evermore Flameless Candle Lantern

Lanterns are popular choices with Moroccan style décor, but they can go with practically any style.

The big advantage to using lanterns is that they can be used in a variety of ways, from floor décor to hanging off railings or ceilings. As such, adding a brushed copper lantern like this one to your space is never a bad bet.

Final Thoughts on Copper Outdoor Lighting

Choosing copper lighting for outdoors takes a bit more thought than with other products. If you plan to look for genuine copper lighting, spend some time learning its characteristics, so you can more easily spot fakes. But if you’re not too bothered, you’ll have a much easier time finding the right lighting.