Decorate Your House with Light
Nothing really evokes the warm, magical sense of winter wonder like holiday lights. As the days get shorter and nights get longer, decorating with lights has the ability to directly influence our emotions. Depending on their use, color and motion, winter lights can put us at ease, convey a sense of warmth and comfort, excite and alert the senses, or even impact your appetite. And the holidays create the perfect time to experiment with the way you decorate with light and illuminate your home or office.
While the availability of pre-strung decorations and fixtures are on the rise and simplify creating visual interest in your yard or home, there is a significant number of innovative approaches you can take to add your own creative flair regarding the use of lights in your living spaces. String lights aren’t just for your tree or along the gutters of your home – their use is truly only limited by your own imagination. And while colored lights are certainly festive, clear or plain white lights have the advantage of being timely all season long. Remember also that there are different types and sizes of lights available, from the standard string of lights to ropes, small fairy lights, lighted nets, and icicle strings. Don’t be afraid to mix and match to create your own take on winter lighting! Here are some ideas on ways to incorporate more lights over the holidays.
1. Use a string of lights to spell out a winter wish such as Peace, Joy or Hope, or spell out your family’s name over the mantle or on a wall.
2. Attach a net of lights along the ceiling of a hallway or bedroom for a magical “starry nights” look.
3. Place a cluster of string lights balled loosely together inside something else, like an old lantern, glass ball, wine bottle, empty fish bowl, or large tin can with holes poked out.
4. No space for a tree this year? Attach a string of lights in a triangle, tree-shaped pattern on the wall. You can then hang ornaments on the light string and top with a star or angel for a decorative alternative to a standard Christmas tree, or any other shape, like snowflakes or snowmen.
5. Run three to four strings of lights in parallel lines along a blank wall, then use it like clotheslines to hang and display this year’s Christmas cards.
6. Use lights to frame existing decorations in your house, including the mirrors in your bathrooms, bookcases, family portraits on the wall, stair rails or window casings.
7. Take an old decorative metal or wicker frame animal or small tree and wrap them with a string of lights on a solar panel power source for power-cord free decorations in the yard or on the roof.
8. Interested in a more artistic flair? Buy a blank canvas from a crafting store, paint a festive message or a full winter scene on the canvas, then once dry poke holes in the fabric and feed the small bulbs from a string of lights through it to illuminate your design.
9. Your hanging planters in hibernation? Take them out, string lights through the weave of the baskets, and fill with colorful ornaments or artificial poinsettias for a holiday take on hanging baskets.
10. Speaking of trees, if you choose to string lights on a Christmas tree, take a tip that I learned from a professional decorator. Don’t just loop the lights around the outside of the tree. Take the strands and wrap each large branch all the way to the trunk of the tree, then back out another branch, continuing in this fashion until the whole tree is done. You’ll easily use about four to six times as many lights, but the look of lights twinkling through the branches can be breathtaking.
11. Have you made the switch to an artificial tree? Just string your lights on each section of the tree separately as you assemble it. Then once done, just unplug the strings from each other and leave them on for next year!
12. You can also put an electric, battery-powered ‘candle’ in each window, for a more old-fashioned look.
As always, take into consideration how any new decor might fit into your existing palate of colors and lights. Be sure not to string too many lights together and avoid over-exerting your electrical circuits. Lights on a timer can be a great way to cut down on energy usage while minimizing the stress added to your home’s electrical systems. And if you choose to decorate with candles, be sure to never leave flames unattended or near hanging fabrics. Be safe, stay warm and embrace the light through these long winter nights.