Rental Tent Lighting Ideas

rental tent lighting

Planning an evening affair? You are likely going to need some lighting to keep your rental tent space from become too dark and drab. Luckily, we have quite a few options for the individual looking to spice up their tent. From string lights to lanterns, you can never go wrong by adding a little bit of whimsical lighting to your space.

Tents are already whimsical by nature, and adding some creative lighting will not only add more character to your space, but add the delicate, low lighting that will make your tent special and unique. The right lighting will make your decorations pop, whether you’re planning a wedding reception or a corporate event.

Watt Lighting

For a classic and elegant look, why not try watt lighting? These strings of lights can be hung just like Christmas light, but the bulbs are much bigger and will dissipate light much better. This is a great solution for a party that is going to make use of both a tent and open-air space, as these lights can be strung inside the tent and outside, over the open-air area. Because they are larger than modern string lights, they are as functional as they are beautiful, casting a glowing yellow light over your party.

Many people use these lights just around the perimeter of the tent to give it light and definition, instead of as functional lighting through the tent. You can also use ground takes to turn these lights into path markers. If your tent is set back from your house in your yard, or off of the beaten path in a park, use watt lighting to mark the path towards the party. They can also be used to show guests the way to the bathrooms, the food stations, and other parts of the party that are more defined.


Lanterns are another great way to add both aesthetic and functional light to a rental tent. Round, Chinese lanterns are very popular right now and can be found in a range of colors and sizes. You can individually light these lanterns, determining for yourself what color of light they include and how much light each will have, or you can find smaller lanterns on strings, pre-lighted, which can be strung across the top of a tent, to create both visual interest and light to the space.

Lanterns do not have to be round, though there is something especially whimsical about round lanterns, which look like balls of pure light when strung from the ceiling of a tent. There are a wide variety of hanging lanterns, in a range of sizes and shapes. Cylindrical lanterns are the next most popular, after circular lanterns. They also come in box shapes, from cubes, to rectangles. If you are set on having lanterns in your venue, you can find a size, shape, and color that works specifically for your event.

Christmas Lights

Christmas lights are a classic when it comes to decorating rental tents. Often called just “string lights” these are small bulbs, on a string, which is either independently powered, or includes its own power source, in the form of a battery pack. These string lights can come in a variety of colors and can be made to flash or chase, which might be an interesting feature when it comes time to dance.

There are a number of ways these lights can be strung in a tent. In a tent that has one or many peak poles, a common for hanging this lights if around the edge of the tent’s roof, and then from the edge, to the pole, creating a tent of lights, inside the tent itself. While you might not think that these strings can give off enough light to really make a difference, many strings of lights can definitely put out enough light for just about any size of tent.

The best part about this kind of light is that they can be string is just about any formation. No matter how you want to arrange them, they will add character and whimsy to your tent.

Fairy Lights

Fairy lights are not unlike string lights, but they vary in one important way. Instead of being bulbs of lights, attached to a plastic string, fairy lights are tiny LED bulbs, embedded into a flexible wire. This wire can be molded around trees, tent poles, centerpieces, etc. The main benefit of this kind of light is the bulbs give off a magical sheen. No matter where they are placed, the lights look like lightning bugs, dancing around the pole or tree. Like most other kinds of lights, they come in a range of colors and styles.

Luminaries or Ground Lanterns

If your dance floor or mingling area is outside of your main tent, a great way to mark the path and the edges of the area is with luminaries. These are paper bags with either real or fake candle inside. As long as the paper bags are not too thick, they will give off an endearing glow. You can even cut patterns into the bags, so that they match the theme of your event. For an added touch, look for paper bags to match the color of your other decorations.

Exit Signs and Other Functional Lights

If you are in need of more functional lights, you can rent or buy exit signs and overhead lighting for your rental tent. If you pick a tent that has walls, an exit sign can help your guests easily find their way out if they need a breath of fresh air or to visit the restroom.

If you find that string lights are not giving you enough bang for your buck, you can always find some functional, overhead lights that will add significant light to your tent, without being especially obtrusive or noticeable.


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