The right Christmas lights for your home

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The right Christmas lights for your home

Choosing your Christmas Lights

When planning your festive decor and choosing your Christmas decorations, you will also need to consider what type of Christmas lights you would like. Fairy lights are the traditional choice, but you can also buy cluster lights, icicle lights, string lights and more – and what about outdoor options?

This helpful guide should help to light the way…

Colour choices

What colour Christmas lights do you prefer? The most widely available fairy lights are either all white, or multicoloured. The latter provide a serious injection of colour into your home during winter, while white lights are much more subtle – and to some, sophisticated. Not all white lights are the same – some are a warm white and give off a slightly yellow-to-orange glow, whereas cool white lights are generally far brighter.

Incandescent v LED

Incandescent Christmas lights have been around for many decades, whereas LEDs are fairly new to the market. The latter tend to cost more to buy, but they do use far less power and are very long-lasting. Both can be bought as warm or cool glow types, and come in a choice of colour options.

How many lights?

A general rule of thumb is to go for 100 lights per foot of Christmas tree, although you can go for more or less than this if you would like a brighter or more subtle effect. A more slimline tree will require fewer lights than one which is wide, and it’s also worth being in mind how bushy – or sparse – the branches are.

Types of lights


Fairy lights

The most popular type of Christmas lights are the string of fairy lights, which can be wound around the Christmas tree or used as Christmas decorations elsewhere in the home.

Colour-changing lights

Unlike traditional fairy lights, colour-changing lights are not one fixed colour, but instead provide a diverting display of ever-changing colour. They are thus ideal for adding a touch of drama to your festive decor.

Cluster lights

Cluster lights consist of many strands grouped together. These bunches of lights come off one central cable, and create a more voluminous effect than classic fairy lights. This makes them the ideal choice for broader surfaces.

Icicle lights

These lights are designed to mimic icicles, and thus they dangle down from the central cable, usually in strings of various lengths. Icicle lights are a popular choice for outdoor Christmas lights, where they tend to be placed where real icicles might form – subject to suitable weather conditions, of course!

Net lights

Net lights are fixed to a net-like set of wires. As icicle lights are designed to be strung across the tops of doorways or along the edge of the roof where icicles might naturally form, net lights are meant for draping across bushes or other structures, for any eye-catching yet subtle decorative effect.

String lights

Technically, any kind of lighting that comprises a number of bulbs coming off one central cable could be described as string lights, but the term is most commonly used to describe the type of outdoor lights that are strung in lines, such as from one part of a building to another, or one tree to another. Fairy lights even come under the heading of string lights, and they can be used in the same way, or to wrap around the Christmas tree or other objects in a different pattern.

Large bulb lights

A string of large bulb lights comprises a continuous line of more-or-less full-sized light bulbs, either in one colour or a series of many. They are most often used for outdoor lighting.

Rope lights

Rope lights consist of tiny bulbs tucked inside the length of a rope-like cable. They are perfect for creating any kind of shape you desire, for outlining areas such as a window or doorway, or illuminating a path or walkway.

Projection lights

LED lights are plugged into the mains, and placed so they point at a particular surface area. They will then form a range of patterns and colours on that surface, which may also change and move around. For a dramatic and different twist on the festive lighting theme, projected lights are hard to beat. They are thus ideal for parties.

Battery-operated lights

Battery-powered lights come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but differ from standard lights as they do not require mains power. Instead, they will have their own battery pack incorporated into the design. These are ideal for areas that are not close to mains power, or to avoid cables that might get in the way. They are very versatile indeed, but may need fairly frequent battery changes depending on the level of use. A popular use for these is to light up the inside of a bottle or other glass vessel.

Placing your lights

Christmas lighting does not have to be confined to the Christmas tree only. There are many attractive ways to display a set of lights, both inside and outside the home. Here are some ideas to try this winter.

Bush lighting

For a slight twist on the lit-up Christmas tree theme, try twisting a set of lights around a bush or tree outside. Just make sure they are suited to outdoor use!

A lit-up mirror

Add a touch of Hollywood glamour to your bedroom by framing a mirror with a set of mains or battery powered fairy lights.

All lit up inside

Place a small string of lights inside a glass vessel such as a bottle, vase, lantern, jar, or bowl to create a striking yet subtle effect.

Wrap ‘em

Wrap your bannister in a string or rope of decorative lights for a festive display that will run through all floors of your home.

Drape ‘em

Drape a set of lights over the mantelpiece – if you have one – or across the top of a shelf. Alternatively, drape over a picture frame and use to draw the eye to a lovely piece of art or treasured photograph.

Twist ‘em

A twisted set of fairy lights inside a clear or coloured wide glass bowl – the type that often contains floating candles – can make a very effective centrepiece for your Christmas table.

Christmas Lights

Choosing your Christmas Decorations

Christmas at Burleydam Garden Centre

Our Christmas Designer, Fred, introduces you to our latest Christmas display at Burleydam Garden Centre. Why not come down and see it for yourself?

Posted by Burleydam Garden Centre on Monday, 17 December 2018

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