Whether you’re decorating indoors or outdoors, we’ve got all the tips, tricks and info that you’ll need to create a Christmas lighting masterpiece. We’ll show you the differences between light styles, break down which lights can be used where and give you some tips to help make your lighting project shine.
Christmas Light Ideas & Tips
Outdoor Lights vs. Indoor Lights
For indoor lighting, make things easy by dividing your light set-ups by room. Outdoor lighting will need to be considered as a whole project, but larger-scale ideas can be separated into different zones based on the location of your electrical outlets. Remember where the outlets are when planning the number of light strands you will need. If you do not have GFCI outlets installed, consider adding them for extra safety. Be sure to use outdoor-rated extension cords when setting up outside displays.
Before purchasing holiday lights, be sure you know where they will be located and select only appropriately rated sets. Most lights at The Home Depot are both indoor and outdoor compatible, but outdoor lights are optimized to stand up to harsh environmental elements while maintaining safe electrical connections, making them good for use both indoors and outdoors.
LED vs. Incandescent Bulbs
LED bulbs last up to 20x longer and use about 90 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. They come in a variety of colours, temperatures and can even change colours, adding some nice lighting effects to your décor. They also stay cool to the touch during long use periods. LED bulbs are usually more expensive, however, and often have fewer lights per string.
Incandescent bulbs are single-coloured and are usually brighter than LED bulbs. The offer a more traditional colour range which can be desirable and generally have more bulbs per strand. While they cost less than LED bulbs, they get hot when used over a long period of time, so they won’t last as long as an LED bulb, and they are less energy efficient.
Types of Christmas Light Bulbs
Christmas lighting is available in a wide variety of styles, shapes and colours to suit any design or style.
Styles of Christmas Lights
Shop some of our great Christmas light styles to help you create the perfect festive glow both inside and outside your home.
How Many Lights You’ll Need for Your Christmas Décor
For Your Christmas Tree
You’ll need between 100-300 lights per foot, so if your tree is 6 feet tall, you’ll need between 600-1,800 lights to get good coverage.
For Your House
Start with 60 ft of string or icicle lights to line your eaves, then add 10-12 ft. per awning to give you a rough estimate of how many lights you’ll need.
Shop Christmas Lights by Colour
Holiday Light Installation Safety Tips
First and foremost, be very careful not to overload electrical outlets or extension cords. Typically, incandescent lights have a limit of 500 lights per strand, which means you can connect 10 sets of 50 lights or 5 sets of 100 lights. But when stringing multiple strands together, consult the manufacturer's instructions and do not exceed the recommended number of connections.
Never connect different strands of lights together on the same circuit or outlet, such as a C7 or C9 incandescent strand with a mini-light strand, and never connect incandescent lights with LED lights.
Make sure you test your lights to make sure they are working and inspect all cords and wires prior to installation. Immediately dispose of any lights or cords that show signs of damage or wear.
In outdoor environments, wrap a piece of electrical tape around the connected plugs to provide further protection. For simple attachments to a roof, wall or other surface, look for plastic or plastic-coated fasteners, hooks and clips designed exclusively to hold holiday lighting.
Always unplug the lights when you leave the house or go to sleep, or use an automatic light timer to turn your lights on and off at specific times of the day.
When installing lights, do not run electrical cords along high-traffic areas or place underneath a rug. Always work with a partner when using a ladder to help prevent accidents and never place ladders on snow, ice or slick surfaces.
Christmas Lights Storage Tips
After the holidays, you'll want to carefully store away all your seasonal decorations in a dry place like an interior closet. Allow light sets that have been outdoors in wet weather or accumulated moisture time to dry out before placing them in storage. Avoid storing lights and decorations in attics or basements where the amount of moisture fluctuates during the year.
Additionally, keeping incandescent light strands neat and organized can help preserve their life by preventing broken or missing bulbs, damaged cords and messy tangles. As you disassemble, inspect cords and wires for cuts, nicks and other damage. Proper removal of lights will save you considerable time next year when you go to set them up again.
There are also reels and spools designed exclusively for storing holiday lights. Simply wrap your lights around these devices as indicated and place them in an appropriate storage bin, box or storage bag. If you don't have a reel or spool, try wrapping them around a sturdy cardboard sheet or tube. Be careful not to wrap too tightly as this can put strain on the wires.