We’ve all seen those YouTube videos of incredible home lighting for Christmas. You know the one’s we mean; lights that dance to the music, ten foot illuminated snowmen, animated reindeer on the roof. So why is it, when it comes to decorating our own houses, the end result is usually more bore-some than awesome?
When it comes to Christmas, the average dad has a lot to live up to. The kids and the wife have suddenly decided that, yes, we are actually one of Santa’s elves and therefore should be able to illuminate the house with a cheeky wink of an eye. After all, Mr. Robinson manages to make his house look jaw dropping every year without fail. We all have a Mr. Robinson in our neighbourhood. You know who we’re talking about.
Getting prepped for Crimbo and giving the house the WOW factor requires three basic elements; good planning, good lights and a good ladder. Let’s discuss each of these in more depth.
You don’t have to have a master’s degree in home lighting to put together a classy display for Christmas. Start by standing outside your home and seeing what sort of shapes, space and surroundings you have to base your design upon.
Consider the shape and size of your home, as well as any special features it may have that would lend themselves well to lighting. The garden can be a source of inspiration too. Outdoor bushes, trees and paths can all be a great spot for lights, and will keep your family safe on these dark evenings too.
Don’t forget to plan how you will power all these lights too. Having an outdoor socket installed can work out a lot less painful than having cables trailing in through open windows and doors, but make sure any power supply you plan to use is up to the job of the load you are going to place on it, as well as being suitably protected against water ingress from the outside.
Lights come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and what you get for your home will be largely budget dependent. However, rather than blowing your entire budget on a life size illuminated Santa, try and go for a classier, more subtle approach using strings of tiny lights placed in well planned positions.
For those bushes and trees, you can buy inexpensive lighting nets which can be artfully draped over the branches. Rope lights look great when wound around tree trunks and fences, and your windows are a prime spot for traditional silhouette lighting decorations to hang. Strings of fairy lights can cheer up your eaves, or can be used to outline the doors, windows and porches of your home.
So that your Christmas lights don’t end up costing the earth, try to pick low energy LED lights where possible. These come with the added bonus of a very long lifespan, and will also work even if some of the bulbs stop functioning, so no more hunting along the length of your lights to find the duff bulb. For a real eco alternative, consider solar outdoor lighting, which will help avoid the hazard of trailing cables too.
When we say a good ladder, what we really mean is an adequate, safe access route to get to where you want to put the lights. If you live in a bungalow, great. Your standard step ladder should get the job done fine. However, if you live in a two storey house or taller, are putting lights above a conservatory or have issues with placing the ladder against the wall, you might need to think about hiring proper access equipment.
Ladders need a firm, even base on which to stand, which rules out muddy flowerbeds and loose gravel for a start. If you do have a suitable surface for ladder work, make sure you’ve got somebody with you to pass up tools and strings of lights to you and to hold the ladder securely as you move around.
So there you have it. Awesome Christmas lighting made easy with three simple things. Have fun this Christmas and stay safe.
XO Simon Price