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For a more traditional holiday light, you will want to use a C7 or C9. These are the cone-shape lights you’ll find most often in home improvement and convenience stores. The difference in these lights is size and wattage, with C9 being a little bigger and easier to see from a distance. Both come in frosted or clear color bulbs and are great for illuminating both your house and trees.
See the different kinds of lights people use to make their homes a Christmas wonderland.
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Any boat that drives by will immediately be taken back by the lights and character projections on this lakeside home. And not only did the homeowners decorate the house, but they covered the boat in a slew of colorful lights, too.
These homeowners turned their festive front yard into every child’s dream. Giant teddy bears, toy soldiers and other classic Christmas toys bring a child-like spin to the typical Christmas light display.
Two Atlanta homeowners share some DIY inspiration for redoing light fixtures in their 1920s Craftsman-style bungalow.
For an artificial tree, assemble it according to the manufacturer’s directions. Then shape the branches and tips for a full, natural look For a live tree, make sure it has a fresh cut, then position the tree in a stand, add water and let it acclimate.
The tree will take up more water initially, so remember to check the water level in the stand and add plain tap water to keep the cut fully submerged. Add a tree skirt to hide the tree stand and catch any falling needles if you have a live tree.
It also creates a nice backdrop for gifts to be placed around.
Are You Doing It Wrong? Learn How Not to Electrocute Yourself With Outdoor Christmas Lights
These Caribbean homeowners wanted to add some unexpected Christmas brightness to the islands by decorating their yard for all to see. Just outside the front door, bright neon lights were added to the landscaping, and Christmas puppets, inflatables and giant ornaments were scattered throughout.
Your source of power should come from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This type of outlet will shut the circuit down if there is over-current. We want your lights to shine, not sparks to fly! If you don’t have a GFCI outlet, a qualified electrician can permanently install one outdoors for holiday seasons to come. Or, you can buy a portable outdoor unit from your local home store for less than $20.
The weather may be hot, but you can still bring the wintry and festive feel of Christmas to you. This lakeside home was turned into a tropical Christmas retreat. The homeowners added lights to palm trees, blue reindeer to the dock and neon lights to cover every part of the home that’s visible from the water.
This family turned their home and yard into Princess Lolly’s Lollipop Woods. “Gumdrops” hang from wintry bare-boned trees as the rainbow-inspired colors of Candy Land line the fence, home and cover the landscaping for a whimsical and playful effect.
When it comes to under-cabinet kitchen lighting, there are lots of options. James Young – licensed contractor and licensed electrician – discusses the particulars of kitchen task lighting.
Christmas is the busiest season of the year; there are toys to build and gifts to deliver. This home was turned into a festive and bustling Christmas village. With warm and cozy homes, a rolling train nearby and elves busy at work, this is certainly the most spirited place to be during the Christmas season.
“Choosing the right type of decorations means that you can enjoy the festive season without unwanted holiday aftershock.”
“Substituting your traditional holiday lights for new LED lights can also save on electricity bills. LED lighting is an energy efficient option for some types of Christmas lights, including string lighting. They use much less energy to provide the same amount of light as other forms of lighting, meaning they are much cheaper to run. Heath could learn more about energy efficient lighting.”
With so many ways to decorate a Christmas tree, you may need more than one tree to spread the holiday cheer throughout your entire home. Decorating a second or third tree is a great way to utilize extra ornaments or include the kids. Many families have started having a second tree in the family room that includes keepsakes, child-made ornaments and other sentimental items. Another fun idea is to have a small tree reserved just for the kids. You can put this tree in the playroom and when friends or cousins come over for the holiday, they can have fun decorating their own tree with whatever theme they want.
This home’s light display may not be completely outrageous, but the homeowners certainly went through a lot of trouble to create an enchanting winter wonderland-inspired entryway with white icicle lights and blue lights strung to each and every window.
Learn how to light up your home, add curb appeal to the front yard or turn your backyard into evening entertaining space.
Need quick and easy ideas to keep your holiday supplies in order? From wreaths to wrapping paper, we’ve got you covered. Watch our Christmas Storage Hacks.
A well-planned and beautifully executed Christmas light display on a residence highlighting the property, house and landscaping.
Make sure you don’t connect too many strands together. Standard incandescent string lights can connect 3 to 6 strands, while LED string lights can connect up to 25 strands. Consult the package and manufacturer’s recommended guidelines to be on the safe side.
Rather than turn their garden into a traditional Christmas light display, these homeowners outlined plants and blooming flowers in a variety of lights for a stunning and colorful Secret Garden look.
Another option for outdoor lighting is the “miniature,” which costs less and consumes less power than the classic outdoor light string. It can be used around the perimeter of your home, as well as in trees. In most cases, the miniature comes in strands of 50 or 100. The strings run in series, which means if one bulb or socket fails, you can lose a whole section.
Nontraditional Christmas colors are oftentimes the most eye-catching displays. These neon-purple lights intermingle with classic reindeer figures, an inflatable Santa and candy canes, causing the bold hues to stand out even more.
Start at the top of the tree, and weave the lights up and under branches. Work your way down and around the tree, hanging lights in the back as well. When you reach the bottom, hide any extra lights behind the tree. If you want to add more lights, do another pass, starting from the top and working down.
You could win $5,000 and outfit your kitchen like a Food Network Star!
Shimmer spheres come in shaped and circular formations, like snowballs, or stars and striped formations. They are made up of many lights in different sizes. You can even find some that twinkle. Your house will be shining with holiday cheer for the whole block to enjoy.
Tree Height Number of Lights 6 to 7 Feet 400 to 700 7.5 to 8.5 Feet 700 to 1,000 9 to 10 Feet 1,000 to 1,300 12 Feet 1,500 to 2,000
If you want your tree to have a unified look, think about picking a color scheme. Some classic combinations include the traditional red and green, red and white, blue and silver and silver and gold. Use your color scheme all over for a simple, elegant look, or instead use it as an anchor and let your ornaments be the center of attention.
There is a variety of lights to choose from. First and foremost, always use waterproof or water-resistant lights with a tag marked underwriters lab (UL). This means the lights meet national industry standards with the American National Standards Institute. Also, when you’re buying Christmas lights to use outside, make sure they are rated for outdoor use (just like your extension cords). Never use indoor Christmas lights outdoors.
Turn old hanging baskets into festive light balls for your porch or patio.
Experts offer a few ideas for using lights to decorate the home for the holidays.
For starters, safety first! Your source of power should come from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This type of outlet will shut the circuit down if there is overcurrent. We want your lights to shine, not sparks to fly! If you don’t have a GFCI outlet, a qualified electrician can permanently install one outdoors for holiday seasons to come. Or, you can buy a portable outdoor unit from your local home store for less than $20.
There is a variety of lights to choose from. First and foremost, always use waterproof or water-resistant lights with a tag marked underwriters lab (UL). This means the lights meet national industry standards with the American National Standards Institute. Also, when you’re buying Christmas lights to use outside, make sure they are rated for outdoor use.
Heath’s Christmas decorations – Mains vs Solar Mains Christmas Tree lights Inflatable light-up Santa Inflatable light-up Snowman Icicle lights Laser Projector Cherry Blossom Tree with lights Outdoor Christmas lamppost with lights Solar Outdoor House lights – 3 sets that go around the house Reindeer Inflatable Santa with lights Large presents with lights Outside Christmas signs with lights Energy Expert
Animated lights are great for Nativity scenes, as well as reindeer and angel displays. Animated lights are made of wire frames outlining different shapes and scenes, and they are surrounded with mini lights in different color variations and patterns.
Carol Duvall’s tips & tricks for lighting up a brilliant outdoor tree.
DIY Network’s licensed electrician James Young shares tips and tricks for installing outdoor Christmas lighting properly so your joy lasts the whole season.
Rather than focusing on inflatables and decorative accessories, these homeowners wanted to emphasize the power of pure lighting. The entire roof was covered in a layer of colored lights with matching icicles dripping from the edges all the way around. The concept may be simple, but the look is extravagant and unbelievably vibrant.
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When you’re done hanging lights, step away from the tree, turn down the room lights and evaluate your work. Squint your eyes until the tree is blurry to identify any dark patches and rearrange lights to fill in any gaps.
Use a good ladder when installing your lights. Secure them with insulated holders (never use tacks or nails). Don’t install your lights on trees that come in contact with power lines. Before installing your Christmas lights, plug them in to make sure all of your bulbs are working. Make sure to turn your lights off when you leave or go to bed at night.
Whatever type of lights you choose, make sure they’re UL-listed (Underwriters Laboratories). It’s also a good idea to choose the same brand and type of lights for your entire tree. Light colors and even brightness can vary between brands.
See 15 outrageously themed outdoor Christmas light displays.
Tree topper – Who says you have to save the best for last. By placing your tree topper first you don’t have to worry about stretching to reach the top of the tree and knocking off ornaments in the process.
Your great-grandmother’s angel, a decorative star or maybe an elaborate bow, all make great tree toppers. Have fun, and try something new. Garland – If you want to use garland, make sure and add it before you hang any ornaments.
Start at the top of the tree and work your way down. Drape garland unevenly and without form for a casual look, or layer it in equal loops for a more formal appearance. Ribbon, beaded, or metallic garland all look great.
Pick the one that goes best with your theme. Ornaments – Start by hanging your favorite ornaments first. Scatter these throughout the tree in prominent places. Then fill in with something like red or green balls to fill in the rest of your tree.
Be sure to balance ornaments by size too. You don’t want one side of your tree to end up with all large or small ornaments. Don’t hang ornaments on the tips of branches. Layering ornaments throughout the whole tree will create depth.
While decorating, position your tree about 2 feet from a corner or wall, so you can easily access the entire tree as you hang lights and ornaments.
Covered in colored lights and garland, this fenced-in yard makes a bold and festive statement with a giant inflatable Santa Claus, miniature Polar Express and decorative yard accessories.
Nothing is more scrumptious than a candy-adorned home with icing all around the edges. This life-size gingerbread-style home has extra-large candy pieces and lollipops above and beside every window, and peppermints even line the roof.
To light shrubs and bushes, net lighting is a great way to go. Net lighting is a mesh of interconnected mini LED lights that can drape right over your shrubs like a blanket. No more weaving light strings in and out of branches!
You can buy these in strands of 25 bulbs or larger strands of 100 bulbs. The 25-bulb strands can be connected together (daisy chained) up to a maximum of three strands; 100-bulb strands should be connected separately. Don’t connect them together! The C7 and C9 strands use a standard screw-in candelabra base for easy bulb replacement. The strands are connected so if one bulb fails it only affects itself. Buying light strands with inner fuses is a great idea to prevent excess current on the strands.
Now that your lights are ready to go, it’s time to move on to the details. The exact number of ornaments and decorations you need depends on your tree’s size, the size of your ornaments, how much of the tree you plan to decorate and your personal style. Follow the steps below to have a fabulous looking tree.
A good rule of thumb is 100 lights for every foot-and-a-half of tree. However, if you love lights, you may want to double or even triple that amount. Use the chart below for the recommended number of lights for fresh-cut trees.
Incandescent string lights have been the standard for years. They’re inexpensive and come in a variety of styles and colors. LED (light-emitting diode) lights give off brilliant white light and feature bulb covers in various shapes and colors.
LED string lights cost more than incandescent string lights, but they’re 85% more energy-efficient and can last up to 40 holiday seasons. Plus, they don’t produce heat like incandescent bulbs, so they remain cool to the touch.
White lights draw attention to the ornaments on your tree and provide a classic, elegant look to your tree. Colored lights create a festive look and conjure memories of childhood. Try colored lights for a throwback look.
Year on year, Heath has been adding to his Christmas lights extravaganza. “I love Christmas and like to have some fun by using outdoor decorations to add to the sense of excitement of the festive season. The problem is lots of lights run up your electricity bill.” That’s why after seeing his electricity bill rise over Christmas last year he took steps to choose more energy efficient lighting. “We were concerned about our bills so I decided to invest in solar lights this year. I discovered that lots of the big department stores are now selling solar-powered decorations. Whereas last year almost all of our Christmas lights decorations ran off the mains power, we now have over half running from solar.” Heath has found the solar option to be very easy to run. “The solar Christmas options are really easy to set up – they run off a small solar panel that goes in the yard and I make sure to place them in the spot that gets the most sunshine.”
“Heath has taken some excellent steps to reduce the amount of electricity, by choosing solar lights that don’t require any mains electricity. Solar powered LED (light emitting diode) decorations are a great option for outdoor areas as they use the energy from the sun during the day to light up at night. With the sun around at Christmas, this is a great idea.”
When using extension cords, make sure they are rated for outdoor use, and keep the connections above ground, snow and water. Try to avoid high-traffic areas. Tape cords across walkways, and use the correct length needed to travel to your lights. You don’t want your cords to be too long so they pile up and create walking hazards.
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Find tips and trends on the latest outdoor lighting gadgets and decorations.
See Christmas Tree Decorating Ideas for more eye-catching looks.
Few things make the holidays more magical than a tree with hundreds — or even thousands — of twinkling lights. If you don’t enjoy hanging lights, a prelit artificial tree is a hassle-free way to add sparkle to your home.
If you have pets or small children, avoid hanging ornaments on the lower limbs of your tree.
This home may be small, but the Christmas display is nothing less than extravagant and over-the-top. With no theme in mind, the entire house, yard and roof are covered in the brightest and most holiday-inspired pieces.
The positive thing is that most miniature bulbs have a shunt inside of them to keep the entire string of lights lit if a bulb filament burns out. The key is to quickly replace the burned-out bulb. The shunt will allow the rest of the lights to remain lit, but it will increase the voltage in the rest of the bulbs, reducing their lifetime. With miniatures, you get what you pay for, so get a quality set of lights, and don’t connect more than three sets of strings.
When you’re ready to light your tree, test to see that all the bulbs are working. Work with the lights turned on so you can ensure that the lights are evenly distributed.
Don’t be like Clark Griswold. Before you hang up the outdoor lights, take this quiz on lighting safety, plus learn some interesting facts about holiday lighting displays.
If you love lights and really want your tree to glow, wrap the tree branches with lights. Start wrapping a branch at the bottom of your tree, working from the trunk out. Wrap lights around the individual branches, working farther and farther out. When you’re about 4 inches from the end of a branch, stop. Work your way back to the trunk, wrapping the cord just once or twice to hold it in place. Then move on to a nearby branch and repeat.
It’s Christmas at the North Pole all year long, so Santa Claus’ home must be decorated to the nines with vibrant lighting, garland, red bows, wreaths and candles in the windows. This festive, snow-covered home looks like it could be occupied by Saint Nick himself.
This home went all out but kept it classic. The home, windows and yard were outlined in classic white lights and topped with an extra-large star. The yard was adorned with peppermints, snowmen, reindeer, jingle bells and Christmas trees to tie in everyone’s holiday favorites.