Classy Ways to Decorate with Christmas Lights

Dec 05, 2017  By Thomasville

Light is always a key element in home design, but in winter there’s nothing like the sparkle of light to make us feel as if the long hours of dark are actually cozy and magical. But as lovely as the light itself may be, it’s easy for unruly strings of Christmas lights to look cheap and messy. Here are a few decorating ideas to help you bring your Christmas lights up to the level of the rest of your décor:

Paint the strings:

No matter your design dilemma, you’ll find decorating ideas both to camouflage it and to embrace it. Even for Christmas lights. Take a string of larger (C7 or C9) lights, and after removing the bulbs, spray paint it gold or silver—string, bulb bases, all of it. Replace the bulbs, then swag the string openly as part of your mantle décor, over a window, or into a display.

Create a card display:

If you’re also looking for decorating ideas that incorporate the beautiful Christmas cards you receive, Christmas lights are there to help you. Use removable hooks or tiny finishing nails to support Christmas lights you zig-zag against the wall, then tent Christmas cards between the lights, over the strings. Hang ornaments from the string at the beginning of the month, then remove them as cards arrive.

Make an icicle chandelier:

Create a delicate chandelier with icicle lights, which hang down in shorter dead-end strings off a main string. It can take any form—a circle built off of a wreath or hoop, a square that starts with an empty picture frame, or a linear form hung straight or along a curve. Suspend the form face-down (remembering to think of how you’ll accommodate the necessary extension cords), then wire the main string of the icicle lights to the form so that the icicles drop down.

Fill a container:

For tabletop decorating ideas, look at your see-through containers—jars, pitchers, bottles, lanterns, hurricanes, even a decorative birdcage. Wad up a string of lights and stuff them inside, finding a way to get the cord discretely to the outlet. Use white strings if you want to have just the lights themselves inside the vessels. Or tuck ornaments, pine cones, or sprigs of pine into the arrangement with the lights.

Decorate the lights:

A world of decorating ideas opens up if you think of string of lights as the skeleton on which you build something else. Tie bows and ornaments to a string of lights and then lay it along the back of a buffet or bookshelf. Wrap the string loosely in white tulle for a diffuse, hazy glow. Use the light string as the backbone for a garland of greenery, flowers, or pine cones.

Add uplight:

Decorating ideas with light are particularly valuable for making your rooms seem warmer and more open. Lamps at eye level create shadows higher up, above cabinets and bookshelves, which can make the ceiling feel heavy and close. Replace the shadows with a warm glow by laying Christmas lights up there, out of sight. You may want to keep them there all year.

For outdoor decorating ideas with light, check out this collection from Good Housekeeping. Then snuggle up to the fire and enjoy the beautiful place you’ve created inside.

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