Fairy lights are the bread and butter of Christmas decorating: the atmosphere-creating, life-giving backdrop. But they can just as easily be tacky and headache-inspiring as they are magical and sophisticated. These are our five simple rules to effective fairy light use for decorating a stylish Christmas tree.
Only use warm lights
Fairy lights are intended to create a warm, twinkling glow, which should make you feel like you are sitting inside a chocolate box - perfect for Christmas. Instead, many fairy light displays are positively chilly and depressing. This often comes from too much use of cold, blue-ish light, which also happens to be deeply unflattering to the persons in the room. If you opt for LEDs, go for the 'warm white' option, or if you opt for coloured, only buy the old fashioned ones with pink in the mix à la Amanda Brooks.
Use connectible lights and blank cable lengths for a neat job
Lights4Fun do a brilliant line in connectible fairy lights. These are a stylist's best friend, as they mean you can get a tremendous amount of length from one power source, and can connect each new length of lights to the end of the previous one as you go, preventing tangles and making it much easier to create neat arrangements. You can also buy lengths of blank cable, so if you need to cheat: such as doubling back on yourself or running from one arrangement to another, you can use blank lengths of cable to cover your tracks.
Keep the lights on a 'still' setting
Flashing fairy lights are distracting and sometimes downright distressing. There will always be a still setting on fairy lights: use it! It is far more understated and pretty that way.
Keep the light type consistent
We all have a bag of oddments when it comes to decorations: little runs of battery-pack lights that are a slightly different colour to the others; the odd red-plastic-flower light from the 90s, mixed in with your core fairy lights. I say, invest in a good pack of ten lengths which are simple and consistent, and eliminate all other variations from your scheme. A mish-mash just looks bad!
Look to weddings for inspiration
Whether it is from Pinterest, Instagram, or your summer wedding schedule, steal those ideas for Christmas. Wedding decorators tend to use fairy lights just as much and, in fact, use them in a more impactful and un-muddled way than Christmas decorators! Try to channel their eye to detail and simplicity. If you choose to 'swag' your lights, keep the swags the same in length and spacing, or if you want to create rows or curtains of lights, use tacks or those little plastic loops-on-nails that telephone installers use: they help keep the lines neat and chic!