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What can we learn from our Christmas lights?

Alice Hughes Lights - Light CloseThis is the time of the year we all get to be lighting designers.  Whether it’s a string of lights round the tree or the full-on Blackpool illuminations, house draped in icicle look we all love injecting a bit of magic into the season with light.  Alice Hughes’ lights provoked prompted an anonymous neighbour to send her a letter accusing her of making Light Close (honestly) “tacky”.   The great thing about Christmas lights is that they’re temporary so if you don’t get it quite right you can always take them down again and pack them away in the  attic.  Before you do though, have a think about what you like and dislike about your Christmas lights.  If you’re planning any work on your lighting in the New Year you might well find some handy pointers in your fairy lights.

A quick search of Amazon suggests that LED has swept all before it in the Christmas lights market.  It also suggests that there are some pretty horrible offerings out there.  What’s really noticeable is the wide range of whites that are available.  Most of us have grown up with warm incandescent light sources so the really cold blue of some LED Christmas lights is very off putting.  If you want a warmer light you can find it.  Look for a very warm white or better still, look for a colour temperature of 2700K.  Christmas lights are usually temporary.  Your new kitchen or bathroom downlights probably aren’t so don’t risk getting those wrong.  Check the colour temperature of the light source or better still ask to see samples before you commit to an investment.

Coloured Christmas LightsThink about how you use light for your decorations.   You’ve probably picked out key areas or lit particular features.  Even if you’ve carpet bombed your house with light you’ve still chosen where you want your lights to be.  Take that thought and apply it to your lighting design.  You don’t have to light every square inch of your house equally and evenly; focus on the elements and features you want to highlight and the contrasts of different levels of light will give you a much more interesting scheme.

Finally consider how you’ve cabled your lights.  Unless you’re really serious about your decorations they’re probably plugged into a socket.  Which means they’re independent of your other lights.  Being able to control different light sources independently gives you more flexibility.  If you’re planning a lighting scheme you might want to think about how you might achieve a cosy scene by only using selective lights at low level.  Multiple circuits give you the flexibility to have very bright scenes as well as relaxing low light level scenes.

Saturday Live LogoOn only a slightly related note, Mark Sutton Vane did a fantastic job of explaining just how important and inspirational good lighting is on Saturday Live.  We’ve no association with Sutton Vane Associates but it’s a good listen.  You can download the whole programme or listen to it here.

That’s probably the last post for 2016.  We’d like to say a big thank you to all our customers and our suppliers for making this year our best yet.  We’ve got some really exciting plans for 2017 so see you in the New Year.