When it comes to your Christmas light displays, a little enthusiasm goes a long way. Your outdoor display will warm the hearts of neighbors and passersby alike. Your indoor displays will add to your family photographs, and they’ll put guests in a festive mood. Now that LED lights have come a long way, electricity use can be cut way back as well. Here are some tips for hanging those lights. Make your displays that much more dynamic while saving time for those other holiday preparations.
Exterior Lighting Tips
One key to a successful outdoor display is committing to measuring your yard or spaces you want to decorate. Take measurements in order to have a good idea of how many lights to buy. Decide on traditional incandescents or newer LEDs. The LED lights will usually cost a little more, but they will often consume 80 to 90 percent less electricity. They’ll easily pay for themselves over a couple of seasons. Consider “net” lights for shrubbery. The lights are distributed along the netting so that they’ll provide fairly even lighting across the bushes, hedges, and shrubs. Special LED “trunk” lights can be effectively used when wrapping any vertical elements in your yard.
Line up these items:
- Outdoor extension cords
- Outdoor timer
- Outdoor power stakes(s)
- Work gloves
- Hardware – clips, hooks, stakes, wire, adhesives
- A Ladder – consider both a step ladder and an extension ladder
Here are some of the areas that can be effectively illuminated:
- Lining walkways, the driveway, and other paths
- Around planters and windows
- Extensively around your front door – this is a most important spot
- The edge of the roofline
- On bushes, typically using “net lights”
- On trees of all sizes
- Wrapped around pillars and posts
Exterior tips for decorating success: Employ a partner or two! Plug in all those lights and cords to confirm that everything is operational. Replace missing or burnt-out bulbs. Toss out any damaged light strands.
Work during the daytime for safety. When wrapping trees, posts, and pillars, always start at the top. Secure light strands with adhesive and/or wire. Roofline light clips need to be installed correctly, so carefully review the directions. With everything outside connected to a timer or two, your display can operate on “autopilot” throughout the season.
Interior Lighting Tips
Now, it’s time to head indoors. Let’s see what we can do to transform your Nashville home’s interior. Get that tape measure out again to calculate how many light strands you’ll need. For every 1.5 feet of Christmas tree height, figure on about 100-200 lights, fewer if you’re using larger incandescent bulbs. You’ll need these supplies for your indoor decorating efforts:
- Twist ties can provide better positioning of tree lights than just balancing strands on the branches
- Transparent tape can attach lights to windows and certain tues of walls
- Tacks can come in handy on walls that you don’t mind poking holes into
Consider some of these spots for inclusion in your indoor display:
- On the Christmas tree, of course
- On wreaths; battery-operated lights work well here
- Lights run by batteries work well around windows as well
- Around the bedroom walls
- Around the fireplace mantel
- Up and down stair rails
Indoor prep tips: Unwrap and untangle all those light strands. Plug them in right away to see that they are working. Replace missing or burnt-out bulbs. Watch for frayed wires; dispose of any light strands that have any. Tacks, if used, should be positioned so that the wires simply rest on top of them. Again, battery-operated lights can greatly simplify some of your indoor decorating efforts.