Holiday lighting can range from cool and sophisticated to downright gaudy, but that’s part of what makes this time of year so fun. When holiday lighting is done well, it brings seasonal sparkle to your property that will make it a real standout on your block. But when it’s not done well, it can make your neighbors cringe. Here are some holiday lighting tips to bring seasonal beauty and joy to your property, with a few ideas on what to avoid.
Tip 1: Start with a plan.
Getting ready for the holidays is a busy time for everyone, especially if you’ve got your own home to manage, plus rental properties. While holiday lighting is obviously not as labor intensive as a remodel or landscaping, it still reflects on your property, so it makes sense to put thought and planning into what you want to do before you start stringing up the lights. You don’t have to have a formal plan. Just standing outside and visualizing the look you want to achieve will make the process easier and will ensure you’re happy with the result.
Tip 2: Consider the architectural style of your building.
Your holiday lights can enhance or take away from the natural aesthetics of your building. So, lighting that enhances vs. competes with your existing architecture is a win win. Generally, following the natural lines of your building will make your holiday lights work harmoniously with the structure behind them.
If your property is more contemporary or unusual, consider unusual or experimental lighting.
But generally, working with the outlines of your main structure will provide the best look.
Tip 3: Identify the location of your outlets.
Whether you have outdoor outlets or you’ll be stringing your lights from inside the home or garage, it’s important to consider your outlet placement first. Timers can add convenience, so you you don’t have to worry about turning your lights on and off everyday, but you also want to be able to easily turn off your lights manually if necessary.
Tip 4: Don’t overload your circuits.
While new homes may have multiple 20-amp circuits, standard lighting circuits are typically rated for 15 amps. So, depending on your circuits, you want a load on each circuit that is 50-80% of that. So, for each outlet, try to keep the load at 7.5-12 amps.
Tip 5. Measure.
Once you have an idea of where you want to string your lights – measure. Outdoor lights and extension cords come in a variety of sizes, so taking rough measurements of the surface area you plan to cover will ensure you have the right amount of lighting and also that you can distance your lights proportionally. Consider how close you want the lights to be. Lights that are closer together will make the space brighter, while further apart will create a more subtle look.
Tip 6. Use lights that are rated for outdoor use.
Holiday lights tend to be safe, even when used in rain and snow, but be sure to use lights that are rated for outdoor use only. In recent years, LEDs have become increasingly popular for outdoor holiday lighting because they stay cool and use less energy. But even if all of your lights are LEDs, make sure they’re suitable to use outside. Also, ensure that any extension cords you use are rated for outdoor use.
Tip 7. Enhance the natural beauty of your trees.
Trees look especially beautiful with holiday lights because they provide interesting and variable structures for lighting. You can put added decorations, like Christmas ornament ball, in your trees and light them for an additional seasonal touch.
Lighting trees form their base looks great all year round.
Tip 8: Think about your color scheme.
While holiday lights come in a wide variety of colors, sometimes fewer colors is the way to go. Depending on your building and style, monochromatic color schemes with a lot of white lights can provide a classy look. While blue lighting can create an otherworldly, dreamy look.
Tip 9. Have fun with shapes.
Today you can find simple wire structure or you can create your own to make whimsical shapes with lights that can adorn outdoor walls and fences.
Tip 10: Don’t overdo it!
But what’s the most important rule for holiday lighting? Don’t overdo it! While everyone has their own taste and style when it comes to holiday décor, there can definitely be too much of a good thing when it comes to outdoor holiday lights. Of course, how much is too much will depend on your neighborhood, so you’ll have to gauge the best way to go. Happy holidays!