Nothing announces the advent of the holidays quite like a home exterior bedecked in glimmering, colorful holiday lights. Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas or another cheery day of celebration, these bright pops of color bring a sense of joy and illumination to your décor. With Christmas lights being a popular choice for all, it’s easy to get tangled up in all the different types: LED, icicles and more. That’s why we put together these handy tips to, well, light the way:
What’s the deal with all these different Christmas light bulb sizes?
While the popular mini bulbs are a great go-to choice, you may find you enjoy the brilliance and style of some other shapes and sizes. Here’s a quick rundown of the more common styles:
- Mini: The most common style, you’ll find these miniature, candle-like bulbs in many a store. They tend to be approximately 5/8 of an inch tall and 1/4 inch in diameter.
- C6: These resemble a small strawberry in shape and were traditionally the light of choice for decorating the tree. They run about 1 1/8 inches tall and 3/4 of an inch in diameter.
- C7: The C7 style is slightly larger and rounder than the C6 and is about 1 1/2 inches tall and 1 inch in diameter.
- C9: A great choice for outdoor lighting, the C9 runs approximately 2 1/2 inches tall and 1 1/4 inches in diameter.
- G series: These unique bulbs resemble round globes. To determine the size, divide the number that comes after the “G” by 8 and round your result to the nearest whole number.
What’s the difference between incandescent and LED holiday lights?
If you’re debating between purchasing incandescent or LED Christmas lights, you should know right up front that LED is a much better choice in every regard except price. While incandescent bulbs are cheaper, LED bulbs are much more energy efficient with many meeting Energy Star guidelines, last up to three times longer, and feature more bulbs per string to provide ultimate brightness.
How do I create a winter wonderland with outdoor Christmas lights or Halloween lights?
No matter how simple or elaborate your lighting scheme is, it’s always best to map it out and measure it up before you begin hanging your decorations. Before you start, you should also take these other tips in mind:
- Although Christmas light strings are intended to be plugged into one another, never plug more than three strings together and only plug together light strings of the same lengths. Different lengths are rated for different amperages, so it’s best not to mix and match.
- Only use bulbs and light strings that are approved for outdoor use. They’re specially designed to hold up to that harsh weather!
- Begin decorating in the evening so you can clearly see your work and adjust if needed. Don’t forget to view your work from the street to see how it will look to passersby.
- Evergreen bushes, trees and mailbox and light posts are great places to add to your lighting scheme. Lighted nets work great for bushes and you can wrap trees and posts in a candy cane spiral. Larger bulbs look amazing on evergreen trees.
- It’s recommended that you string larger C7 and C9 bulbs about 12 inches apart. This will provide the best effect when viewers stroll past or drive by on the street.
How can I add to my interior décor with indoor Christmas lights?
With a little creativity you can add a touch of whimsy and radiance to your home. Here are a few ideas to get you started on creating a magical holiday theme indoors:
- Light-up lanterns: If you have a few of those gorgeous Moroccan lanterns with the colorful glass panels, imagine what a few white Christmas lights would look like inside. The effect is still splendid in lanterns with clear panels or even birdhouses and glass bottles or vases.
- Framing art: Do you have a lovely piece of Christmas art or maybe even a mirror you like to display for the holidays? Try wrapping some string lights around the frame for some exceptional ambiance.
- Branch out: If you love the idea of a rustic or country Christmas, try bringing in some dry, clean branches for a centerpiece, mantel décor or even wall art. Add the finishing touch by wrapping lighted cords around the branches, then watch them light up!
- Garland accessories: If you’re already planning to drape a few garlands across the mantel, over some shelves and around the banister, try infusing them with some twinkle lights for a fun or even elegant effect.
- Mix old and new: If you have some larger C7 or C9 bulbs that have burnt out, don’t toss them! Instead, use them in a bowl or on a plate and place a candle or other accessory in the middle to create a unique, festive decoration.
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