Shed Lighting Ideas - 13 Most Helpful Artificial & Natural Solutions
Updated: Feb 21
There are endless shed lighting options you can use. It all boils down to the type of illumination you desire and, of course, your budget.
However, before buying outdoor lighting or interior shed lights, you should consider the options and why you need shed lights.
What Are The 2 Types Of Lighting Options For Your Shed?
There are two primary types of shed lighting, and you should make your choices based on how much light you need in your shed.
Just as the name implies, natural lighting means using direct sunlight to light up your shed. Most shed owners like this option because it's a cheap alternative, and they won't have to pay bills if they decide not to run any electricity in their sheds.
However, relying only on natural light does have a drawback because you may need to install more windows, doors, and dormers so that your garden shed has adequate light.
If you decide to use the sun as your light source, you need to ensure that your shed is in a place where it receives enough sunlight. Many factors come into play when using natural light to illuminate your shed.
Any lighting option aside from sunlight is artificial lighting. When using artificial light as your light source, the possible options are vast, and your choice depends on how you want your garden shed to look.
To choose the best artificial lighting for your garden shed, you should understand its characteristics.
What Are Natural Shed Lighting Options, And How To Choose The Best One For Your Structure?
Natural light as your sole supply of light means you'll rely only on available light from the sun. You'll have zero control over when it comes and when it goes. However, you can increase the amount of light that enters your storage shed with a few smart choices.
What's a shed without a window, right? Every shed should have windows, not just because of lighting but because of proper ventilation.
When it comes to windows, you could install a single-paned or double-paned window. If you have a big shed and need as much natural light as possible, use double-paned windows, although they'll cost you more.
Ideally, a single window installation will cost around $300 to $1000.
It's more stylish and lets natural light in
Limited to daytime lighting
When not correctly installed, bugs can enter
It might not be the most secure choice for safety reasons
If you are trying to reduce costs but still need natural light inside your shed, you can install doors with window panes. That way, you have the best of both worlds.
They don't require much expertise to install, although they can be costly. You can get them installed for about $1200.
Minimizes electricity usage
Direct sunlight may produce an uncontrollable glare
If not controlled can cause heat build-up
Dormers are a great choice if you are trying to save space in your shed. Not only will they help brighten your shed space, but they also promote ventilation.
Typically, you install dormers on a shed's roof, and they're usually a quick installation. However, this natural lighting solution is expensive. It typically costs $12,000 or more; plus, you might need a permit to install a dormer.
Adds more space to sheds
Increases shed value
Hard to install
Most people haven't heard of a cupola before, and that's understandable. A cupola is a dorm-like structure positioned at the top of a shed. It's a cost-effective and stylish way to bring natural light into a shed. A cupola can easily provide the extra lighting you need in your shed.
For a large cupola, you might spend thousands of dollars to install one, and that's why some shed owners do it themselves.
It tends to leak
Can get blown off by high winds
Skylights - Ceiling Lights
If you are looking for options to bring more natural light into your shed, installing a skylight is a great option.
Skylights can operate either manually or automatically, so make your choice depending on your preference. Powered skylights come with a thermostat to control the amount of light that enters.
You can get a professional contractor to install a skylight for about $1,000 - $1,700.
Improves shed space
Allows fresh air to enter
You can star-gaze when you have a skylight installed
Only works during the day when there's sunlight
Potential leaks when not correctly installed
Solar lighting or sun tubes have become highly popular in recent years - as have other solar light solutions. A sun tube is a perfect alternative to skylights, plus it's cheaper.
If you are looking for garden shed lighting that'll enhance the look of your shed and still provide bright light, you should use sun tubes; it costs about $750 for installation.
Perfect for drawing in natural light
Lack of ventilation
No outside view
Requires lots of space
What Are The Factors Affecting Natural Lighting?
Location: The location of your shed is the most important thing when using natural lighting. If your shed is facing the south or you live in the northern hemisphere, you'll get enough sunlight. But if not, you might want to consider other artificial lighting options.
Coverage: If you have curtains installed in your shed, they'll limit how much light enters your garden shed.
Natural obstructions: It's difficult for sheds behind trees and hedges to get enough natural light.
Hours of sunlight: When there's no sun, your shed will be in the dark. So, it all depends on how long the sun shines.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using Natural Light In A Shed?
Not all that glitters is gold, and that's the same for natural lighting in a shed. While it's cost-effective, it has its downsides too.
Reduces electricity consumption
Sunlight can produce a tremendous amount of heat in a shed
What Are Artificial Shed Lighting Ideas, And How To Choose The Best One For Your Structure?
When it comes to shed lighting ideas, artificial light is great because you can control where you need it, plus it's available at night as well. It doesn't just target specific areas but the whole shed.
Artificial light options include:
Solar Panel and Solar Lighting
For solar-powered lights to work perfectly, your shed has to be in a place with enough natural light. A solar light installation requires you to have electricity in your shed, and you need to have space to store the batteries as well. Plus, be sure to check the lumens count.
The price to install solar panels is $80-$90 per fixture.
Solar power is environmentally friendly
Easy installation and improves light efficiency
The fixtures need to be exposed to direct sunlight to charge
If you aren't a fan of electrically powered lights, you might prefer a battery-powered option.
Battery-powered (AAA) LED lights use a motion sensor to activate them only when needed. Installing LED lighting requires an electrician and costs about $300.
An LED light source requires no electricity
Time- and money-saving
You can install them anywhere
There's no option to link them to an electricity supply
Do you already have electrical wiring in your shed? Then electric lights might be your best bet. Electric lighting comes with plenty of options; let's look at a few:
Incandescent bulbs are common, and you see them in most sheds. They are cheap but don't last long. Bulb brightness varies, so check before buying.
Dimmable with rheostats
Easy to install
Turns on immediately with a light switch/pull cord
Generates low lumens; 5-20 lumens per watt
Fluorescent lights produce invisible UV light and brighter light than incandescent bulbs.
Fluorescent tubes contain mercury
Higher initial price
LED shed lights produce light by using diodes. Led lighting is a superb and inexpensive way to illuminate your shed.
LED bulbs come in indifferent colors and options, ranging from LED string lights to LED strip lights. However, LED strips and bulbs might cause shadows, but you can prevent this by using a warmer color than white.
Long lifespan; 40,000 hours or more
Zero warm-up time
Resistant to cold temperature
Blue light hazard
A generator can produce electricity in a shed, and you can use one to power any type of bulb you install. Artificial lighting needs a power source, and generators are a good option.
Generators vary in size and type, such as wind or water turbine generators, and cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000.
A simple solution for shed lighting
Potential fire hazard
Inhaling deadly fumes
Rechargeable Shed Light (USB)
Rechargeable shed lights are perfect because they keep your garden shed illuminated at all times.
You'll still need electricity because it has to be plugged into a power outlet to recharge.
Cannot operate without electricity
What Are The Criteria to Consider When Choosing Shed Lights?
When opting for on-demand lighting for a shed, consider the following:
Energy efficiency generally equates to lifespan. Sheds with higher energy efficiency will be more expensive.
Lumens (Brightness) - How much light is emitted
Lumens are a measure of brightness. So, when choosing shed lighting, pick a light fixture with sufficient lumens. For people who want really bright lighting, bulbs with higher lumens are better.
How many lumens do I need to light a shed?
To know the lumens you need, multiply the square footage of your garden shed by 20 lumens per square foot.
Does your shed have ambient lighting? Then 50 lumens per square foot should be ideal. And for sheds with task lighting, 300 lumens per square foot. Lastly, sheds with accent lighting will probably need 75 lumens per square foot.
If you intend to use your shed as a garden office, you'll need 200 lumens per square foot.
Some shed lights require solar power, and for your solar light to come on, it needs sunlight.
So, be sure that the angle of your shed is facing the sun, so the solar panels can recharge.
The usage life of different lighting options varies. LED shed lights last for a very long time, unlike incandescent bulbs. So, if you are after a more durable option, LED lights are your best bet.
The cost of installing artificial lights varies. Some are more expensive than others. You don't need to worry about going over budget because you can find a lighting solution that suits your style. Just make sure it's as bright as you need.
Color and Temperature - How ‘warm’ does the light appear?
Using a light color for your shed will give it a warm look; however, some colors create shadows and harsh lines, so do your research before buying.
Check the wattage of an artificial light source before buying it. A higher wattage will increase energy consumption.
Electricity voltage varies; 12v, 110v, 240v. If your shed is a man cave or she-shed, you might consider incandescent bulbs, as they consume less electricity.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Artificial Light?
In most cases, artificial light is sufficient for shed owners' needs, but it's not perfect. Let's take a look at some advantages and disadvantages.
Artificial lights like LED shed lights increase safety and security
Useful for indoor gardening
Gloomy appearance due to insufficient brightness
Causes glare on screens
What To Consider When Choosing A Lighting Option?
For shed lighting, select lighting fixtures that'll give you the brightest light for your needs.
How Much Time Do You Spend In Your Shed?
If you don't use your shed regularly, there's no need to invest in costly lighting. You can use natural light, versatile solar lights, or low-voltage LED lights activated by a motion detector.
How Much Light Do You Need In Your Shed?
For people who plan to use their shed as a second room or office, using something as small as a flashlight to generate light won't do. You'll have to opt for electric lighting like LED lights. You may already have an electrical supply if you charge your electric garden tools, lawnmowers, etc.
If your shed is small in size, avoid shed lighting options that'll take up more space, like sun tubes.
Your shed style will influence the best lighting options because you can't have a simple-looking shed and decorate it with different LED strip lights; it'll look too rowdy. If you have a modern shed, remote control battery-powered lights make perfect sense.
The Location of Your Shed
Is your shed under trees or adjacent to your house or other buildings? Then it's unlikely that natural light will provide enough illumination unless your shed faces south.
Selecting lighting for your shed depends on your budget too. Generally, you'll have more options if you have more money to spend.
Are You Using Your Shed As A Workshop?
Using your shed as a workshop means you need enough lighting during the day and night. So, you cannot rely on natural light alone.
Another Good Alternative To Shed Lighting
Interior shed lighting options are numerous. But maybe you want to brighten up the inside of your shed without installing bulbs. So, what do you do?
Paint the interior of your shed white; this will automatically make your shed look and feel brighter.
Shed lighting is a great idea, even for people who just want a more secure space. You can choose flood lamps or security lights with motion sensors that come on only at night. They'll illuminate your shed and keep it safe too.
If your shed already has mains power, using LED bulbs and LED tubes won't cost as much. Alternatively, a solar panel kit and solar lights offer an environment-friendly and inexpensive solution to lighting a shed.
What's the overall best lighting option for a shed?
There's no definite answer, as it depends on your preference. Shed lights come in different capacities, but if you want natural light, go for a roof cupola or skylight.