How to Illuminate Your Home for the Holidays
Dusting snow off their boots and removing their warm winter coats, Christmas-time guests arriving at the New York City home of Edward H. Johnson were in for quite a delight. The year was 1882, and the vice-president of Thomas Edison’s electric company had hand-wired a tree inside his house to glow with 80 red, white, and blue electric light bulbs the size of walnuts.
While this marks the first electrically illuminated Christmas tree, and earned Johnson the nickname “Father of the Electric Christmas Tree Lights,” this began our love affair with holiday lights. Today’s home is full of seasonal sparkle in every corner, not just with a single evergreen.
With decked halls and trimmed trees on the to-do list, lighting has become a big part of many modern traditions. Karen Shoop, Design Consultant from Frost Productions, shines some light on how to amp up your festive holiday home décor with some DIY ideas that are both cost efficient and create high impact.
Small spaces can make a big impact.
Just because you can’t fit a 15-foot tree strung with hundreds of lights into your small living space, doesn’t mean you can’t add glistening greens to your home. “A wreath adorned with small battery operated lights and small ornaments hung from it on an interior wall or window can take the place of a tree,” explains Shoop. “It’s a great solution for those who want a bit of the classic holiday sights and scents in their home, but don’t want the maintenance of a tree.” You can find smaller strings of battery operated lights at most home stores to use on a real evergreen, but if you want to go faux, consider a garland or wreath with lights already attached.
Incorporate lights into surprising places.
The right effects can set the tone for a relaxing fun-filled occasion surrounded by good friends and family. Picture your guests arriving for your seasonal celebration, strolling a walkway lined with candle lit lanterns. This is just the beginning, as you celebrate the holidays with unexpected touches throughout your home. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, but you don’t want to fill it with a roaring blaze, you can still create a feeling of sitting by a warm hearth by placing pillar candles in various heights into the area for a maintenance-free cozy “fire.” You can also create a homey feel around your house with clusters of votives and strands of bulbs coiled around banisters and door frames.
Choose the same type of lighting.
Hold them next to each other and it becomes clear – LED lights and incandescent lights aren’t the same. There’s quite a difference between incandescent lighting (think traditional light bulbs) and the newer LED lighting popular in many home décor stores. “Some LEDs are a cool and bluish color, while others are a warmer amber color that best match the color of an incandescent light bulb. Choose which one you like best and stick with that one type,” explains Shoop. “Try not to mix the two. Using various sized and shaped lights of the same style of lighting can bring texture and depth into an environment. This is essential in creating a cohesive look both inside and outside your home.”
Keep things nice and cozy with dimmers.
Festive gatherings call for festive lighting. When you have friends and family over for some holiday cheer, consider plugging your table lamps into house dimmers. “This is a great way to create ambiance and warmth. They’re available at most home improvements stores and can go a long way in helping to make a space feel more welcoming,” says Shoop. And for ease of use, some lights can even be controlled by using a smart phone. See where the mood takes you throughout your party and quickly change things up a bit without having to mess with switches.
Reflections create a welcome sense of warmth.
Maximize your candles’ flicker by setting them up along with mirrored decor throughout the home. “Incorporating mirrored décor will reflect the warm light of candles and lights around the room,” says Shoop. Also consider setting up various facades in your home with heirloom or vintage etched glassware for a seasonal glow. “If you’re hosting a gathering, placing a simple strand or two of small white lights intertwined between wine or spirit bottles on in etched glassware on a table creates an amazingly festive look,” she adds.
With these brilliant holiday lighting solutions, you’ll create a warm and inviting joy sure to last the entire season. Wishing all a Happy Holiday from the team at Frost Productions!This is a paid partnership between Frost Productions and Boston Magazine's City/Studio