Lighthouse Tattoo Designs & Their Meaning

For hundreds of years, lighthouses were in place with the sole reason of protecting sailors from a shipwreck and lighting their way. It’s no wonder that lighthouse tattoos have become a popular choice for those who wish to carry a symbol of inner faith and a reminder of one’s own road.

We’ll discuss the best styles, colors and most popular body placements for customizing your lighthouse tattoo. We’ll also look at other meanings behind the lighthouse tower and the variety of connotations you can carry if you get one inked.

The Lighthouse as a Symbol

From protection to navigating life, inner faith, stability and love for solitude, the lighthouse can represent an array of meanings. 

We discuss their origin below: 

In Literature

Writers such as Virginia Woolf and Edgar Allan Poe built on their personal relationship to lighthouses through their work and have been bringing it to the public for decades now. 

They were not only fascinated with lighthouses themselves and dedicated time and attention to study them but also used them as powerful emblems. With Woolf, the lighthouse was a symbol of power and longing, and with Poe, it was a representation of the love of being alone.

If you’re looking to get an ink as a reminder of hope through a difficult time, you can infuse your lighthouse tattoo with the persistence of Woolf’s characters on the way to the lighthouse and fulfill the time before with Poe’s interpretation of its purpose.

An Ode to Stability 

If you observe the structure of a lighthouse, you can see its base seems to be both in the land and depths of the sea. Much like an old tree, rising high above its surroundings, the lighthouse has the demeanor of an unshakable and ancient construction. 

This certainly makes the lighthouse tower a perfect symbol of stability and is a great option if you are looking to find more of it in your life.

Solitude Seeker

In the times of social distancing, solitude is receiving a lot of bad rep. For some, however, this experience of letting their souls breathe and their thoughts wander freely is a blessing. 

Apart from their original purpose, lighthouses on the rocks of a sea served the brilliant purpose of providing a place for anyone to go and spend a few hours by themselves, undisturbed by noise and distraction.

If you consider yourself at your best when you’re on your own, or simply love having alone time, this ink is a lovely option for you. 

To Navigate Life

The illumination coming from the lighthouse can be spotted from miles away and serves to notify sailors that they’re nearing the coast. This makes the lighthouse a warning, a navigator, a guiding light—one of the most common meanings people aim for when getting a lighthouse tattoo.

If you’re reaching for body art to remind you of the best path suited to you, a lighthouse tattoo might be just what you are looking for. Opt for a light shining on top of it, if you want to emphasize the idea of guidance behind it.

Within this connotation, this is also a perfect tattoo for anyone with strong ties to the sea and travel.

Common Lighthouse Tattoo Designs

From the celebrated lighthouse of Alexandria to the ultramodern Yehliu lighthouse in Taiwan, lighthouse towers across the world are seen as a welcoming beacon of familiarity. 

Whether you choose to base your lighthouse on a real tower or come up with your very own look, below are some of the most popular designs to consider:

Traditional Lighthouse 

By opting to draw inspiration from a real or fictional traditional lighthouse, you get to represent each of its meanings in one single tattoo. 

A standalone lighthouse can symbolize the love for solitude and longing we know from literature.

By adding a piece of the earth below, you can evoke a different meaning—stability.

You can also choose to add a compass next to it or on the parallel forearm to emphasize that guidance for your own true path always exists.

Color options here range from a simple jet black to monochrome black and white or fully-dense red, grey and/or blue. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with color! A bold choice will likely turn this traditionally-styled construction into an attractive sight.

Lighthouse and Waves 

A lighthouse with a splash of waves under can be a symbol of stability, protection or a strong appreciation for the purpose and aesthetic beauty of the lighthouse itself. 

For a more picturesque look, add some red to the exterior colors, making sure the waves are the same intensity of blue.

Lighthouse and Text 

Text along the length of or below the lighthouse can be placed in the form of quotes, names and dates. Choose an appropriate word such as “home” or “persist” to underline the motivation of your path.

You can also opt to add the initials or date of birth of a loved one. A memorial tattoo is a wonderful option to preserve your relationship with someone after their death.

Lighthouse and the Moon 

A lighthouse and the moon is a common choice for solitude lovers. The moon has been described as a companion to sole travelers in many poems and stories and is often the only thing people saw when they stayed in lighthouses. 

This is the perfect design for a small tattoo, as its two powerful elements can be easily detailed without being overstimulating.

Watercolor Lighthouse Tattoo

The watercolor method blends the colors for a romantic result, hinting at the wilderness and calming effect of the sea.

It’s ideal for artistic people or those with a special relationship to the sea.

Common Color Combinations

Black, blue, dark red and grey are all popular as a base. You can always ask for a richer hue to some of it to contrast well with the pigment of your skin. 

Tattoo artists usually have a catalog of the colors they work with and will likely be ecstatic to discuss the best options for you.

Common Placement Areas for Lighthouse Tattoos


Can you picture a marine with a lighthouse tattoo? Ask your artist for a lighthouse tattoo on your shoulder or biceps to recreate this staple look. 

Choose to go with a traditionally styled lighthouse to add on to this effect and you’ll be ready to take on the seas.


The back’s vastness allows for comfortably fitting a bigger tattoo, knowing that it will naturally align with the body’s proportions. 

Backs usually host multi-colored tattoos, yet you can convey the meaning of a love for solitude just as well by opting for decently-sized minimal designs. 


Forearms are a popular placement, especially when combined with a parallel tattoo of a compass on the other arm. 

Both big and small inks work well here and the lighthouse with the moon is another popular design for the arm.


Getting a lighthouse tattoo under the collarbone is another popular choice. It’s a perfect option for anyone who wants to both showcase their tattoo and personally refer to it as it can be easily looked at in a mirror. 

Watercolor lighthouses work especially well here, as their design is not visually overwhelming and they look like an accessory. Minimal tattoos below the neck area are a great idea too, as this choice tends to look like a piece of dainty jewelry.


The chest area and ribcage are ideal body placements for this ink choice. The closer to the heart you get your tat, the more it will read as a symbol of your inner faith and hope for guidance. 

Thin skin and little muscle make this area potentially painful for an elaborate lighthouse tattoo. A minimal lighthouse with text or a small moon, however, might be a good solution.

The good news is that the skin around this area doesn’t tend to stretch, so the quality of the tattoo should stay over time. 


Getting a lighthouse tattoo on top of your foot or the area around the ankles emphasizes the strength and might in the lighthouse construction. 

The outline of a lighthouse on the small bones of the foot is a delicate image and it draws on the foot’s natural grace. This ink placement is a wonderful choice for you if you want your tattoo to be seen as a piece of art.

Best Lighthouse Tattoos