Christmas Tree with Lit Fireplace

Christmas Light Ideas To Inspire Your Decorating

Sidney Richardson8-Minute Read
December 03, 2020

Decorating your home with lights is a classic holiday tradition that’s sure to bring joy both to you and to everyone who sees your decorations. From decking out your Christmas tree to brightening the front porch with some colorful string lights, there are plenty of ways to transform your home into a winter wonderland this holiday season.

Read on to check out our Christmas light ideas and start transforming your home for the holidays today.

8 Indoor Christmas Light Ideas

Putting up lights indoors is the perfect way to add some coziness and festive cheer to your home this holiday season. A few twinkling lights can bring a much-needed glow and some fun to your rooms during the dark winter months. You might not be decorating for any parties this year, but you can still have fun and get into the holiday spirit with your family.

There’s no wrong way to transform your space for the holidays – so why leave all the festive lights outdoors? Bring the fun of Christmas lights inside with these eight ideas.


1.     Christmas Tree

Frosted Christmas Tree with a navy wall

Decorating a Christmas tree each year is a classic and beloved tradition, and an easy way to add some holiday spirit to your space. Make your Christmas tree a shining focal point by layering soft white string lights over its branches – or go for vibrant color and try multicolored lights. There are even app-controlled string lights out there that allow you to change the bulb colors to whatever your heart desires, so get creative with your color scheme!


2.     Light-Adorned Staircase

Garland wrapping up a staircase

The staircase may not be the first thing you’d think of to decorate for the holidays, but it has plenty of potential. Add some festive light and greenery to your stairs by hanging string lights and garland from the bannister with zip ties. You can dress up the lights and garland with ornaments and even bows and ribbons if you’re looking to cover up those zip ties.

This is a great way to display extra Christmas tree lights and ornaments or to keep a cohesive holiday decor theme going throughout your space.


3.     A Lighted And Cozy Mantelpiece

Christmas tree next to wood fireplace on a white brick wall

Nothing says winter like curling up around a warm, cozy fire. Spice up your mantelpiece with string lights draped over, across or above it. Different shaped string lights such as stars or globes can add variety to your decor, especially if your fireplace is near a Christmas tree that also has string lights on display. Garland, knickknacks and candles are also great additions to make your cozy fireplace pop.

What if the fire is missing from your fireplace? Not to worry, even if your fireplace is nonfunctional, you can still capture the feeling of curling up around the fire by lighting a cluster of candles in place of a stack of wood. Candles are a soot-free alternative to a wood fire – plus, they give you the opportunity to fill your home with a festive winter scent.


4.     Light-Up Sign Or Marquee

light up star marquee

If you’re looking to include a unique piece in your holiday lighting decor, try a light-up marquee style sign. These look great leaning on the wall, placed on shelves, or on top of your fireplace mantle. They are a great piece of accent lighting that you can use to add a personal touch to your holiday decor. Your sign could be the first letter of your last name to represent your family, a word associated with the holidays such as “joy” or “noel,” a star, or anything else you can think of.


5.     Fill Containers With Lights

jar filled with lights

If you’re interested in a little DIY project, try displaying lights in a container such as a jar, vase or bowl. You could use flameless candles, string lights or even copper wire fairy lights for this. You can customize your container however you like to fit a theme or create a statement piece. Fill the rest of your container with pine cones, branches, ribbons and paper cutouts to add extra winter cheer.


6.     Make Shapes Out Of String Lights

garland star

If you’re bored of just stringing lights haphazardly, get creative and try hanging them to form shapes! If you use clear adhesive-backed hooks, you should be able bend and shape your string lights into any form you’d like without extremely visible nails, hooks or ties.

Try making a star or a Christmas tree with zig-zagging lines – or a snowman or house, if you have a lot of lights to work with.


7.     Light Up Your Walls

Tree with blue ornaments

If you want to give your space a starry glow this winter, consider covering your walls in fairy lights or string lights. This will fill your home with a warm, magical glow in the evenings that’s sure to put you and your family in the holiday spirit. This is a great and easy option for those decorating on a budget or looking to keep their decorations simple yet pretty.


8.     Decorate Existing Lighting

cozy couch with red cup in a tray on the coffee table

Do you have existing or extra lights that you’re not sure what to do with? Incorporate them into new decorations or holiday “clutter” around the house. It can be as easy as wrapping a flameless candle in holiday-inspired fabric or wrapping your lights around a bundle of pine tree branches. If you’re willing to tackle some DIY work, there is also the option of pasting artificial snow onto your decor to give it a wintry flair. You can put lights into containers with pine cones and other potpourri as well, as we mentioned earlier.

8 Outdoor Christmas Light Ideas

Decorating the exterior of your home for the holidays is a time-honored tradition. Make your home the talk of the town this year with a light show sure to wow your neighbors. While you can’t go wrong with the classic look that string lights bring your home, we have a few more ideas that will hopefully inspire you to take your outdoor decor to the next level.

Get your ladders out and check out these eight ideas to make your home shine.


1.     String Lights Along The Roof

House lined with colorful outdoor lights

Hanging string lights along the shingles or gutters of your home is one of the most classic ways to decorate for the holidays. You can use incandescent bulbs or LEDs of any color – though LEDs will be a better option if you’re looking to save energy and make your bulbs last the longest they can.

If you’re looking to get a little creative with your string lights, try arranging them around windows and doorways as well as your roof.


2.     Icicle Lights

House with icicle lights

Icicle lights are a great alternative or addition to a string lights display outside of your home. Icicle lights are lights that hang down in small strips, much like their icy namesake. These lights look starry and magical hanging by themselves or alongside regular string lights to add extra sparkle.


3.     Front Porch Light Decor

Baby blue door with garland

Your front porch is a focal point, so you should be sure to decorate this portion of your home’s exterior in addition to the roof. Just like indoor stairs, attaching garland, lights and ornaments to the railing can give your home some classic Christmas cheer. A wreath, with or without lights, is also a great addition to make your door pop.

4.     Landscape Lighting

Why decorate just one Christmas tree? Try lighting up some of the trees in your yard as well to turn your lawn into a glowing winter wonderland. Wrap lights around the trunks of tall trees or around the branches of pine trees and bushes. For trees on your lawn, you may want to use weather-resistant LED lights to make sure they last all holiday season and don’t break.

Besides your trees, you can also light up the walkway or driveway into your home with holiday themed pathway lights or string lights draped from tree to tree.


5.     Balls Of Light For The Yard

Light ornament with light  up deer

If you’re on the lookout for a more unique way to display lights in your yard, you can create your own light display with just chicken wire and string lights. By cutting chicken wire, shaping it into a sphere and then wrapping LED string lights around it, you can create a large ball of light or Christmas “ornament.” Multiple light-up “ornaments” can add a whimsical touch to your decor without having to spend on more expensive lawn light displays.


6.     Glowing Reindeer And Sleigh

Light up Santa and sleigh

What better way to show off your Christmas cheer than with a light-up sleigh and reindeer in your yard? Light-up and inflatable holiday characters are a fun addition to any winter yard decor. These characters can help those looking to get creative set up a scene in their yard that’s as bright and fun as their imagination can dream up. They are usually easy to set up and some are even battery powered, but many require power via an extension cord like most string lights.


7.     Outdoor Projector Or Laser Light

Inflatable snowman family

Not interested in putting up all those lights, or maybe just looking for an extra pop of color in your outdoor decor? Try an outdoor projector or laser light. Projectors and laser lights can project images and starry lights onto your home without the trouble of hanging anything up. Snowflakes, words, stars and many more shapes are available for you to choose from. The setup is easy, adds a festive and dreamy atmosphere to your yard, and these lights can even move and change however you’d like.


8.     Tunnel Of Lights

Archway of white lights

Looking to take your pathway lighting to the next level? Instead of simply lining your walkway or driveway with lights, go all out and create a light tunnel. Bend bamboo or arrange PVC pipes to create arches, then wrap string lights around them. This idea will add magic to any path in your yard – and it makes a great backdrop for holiday photos!

Safety Tips For Putting Christmas Lights On And Around The House

If you’re feeling a little nervous about climbing the ladder to put up Christmas lights this year, you’re not alone. Many of us fear we’ll live out the scene from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” where main character Clark Griswold staples his shirt to his house, slides off a ladder, falls off the roof and then can’t even get his lights to turn on. Never fear – as long as you plan ahead and take proper safety precautions, you should be able to avoid disaster.

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Replace old or broken lights to avoid being shocked or starting a fire. If you’re looking for a safer, longer-lasting and more weather-resistant option, you could also switch to LED lights.
  • Avoid plugging too many lights into one outlet to prevent overloading a circuit or causing an electrical fire.
  • Make sure to note whether your lights are meant for indoor or outdoor use. Some indoor lights will not hold up to the elements outdoors and could be a safety hazard.
  • Use ladders safely. Always have a spotter nearby to hold the ladder for you and don’t overextend yourself to prevent the ladder from tipping.
  • Store your lights properly to prevent damage. Wrap your lights around cardboard cutouts or plastic clothes hangers and keep them in a box or dry, safe place until next year.
  • Turn your lights off when you’re out of the house or asleep to save energy and prevent creating a potential fire hazard from overheating lights.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to decorate your home for the holidays, there are many different options. Don’t be afraid to get creative this year, whether you’re just decorating the Christmas tree or decking out your whole yard.

For even more holiday décor ideas, check out more of our Christmas decoration ideas on the Rocket HomesSM blog.

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    Sidney Richardson

    Sidney Richardson is an intern writer covering homeownership, mortgage and lifestyle topics. She is a senior at Oakland University pursuing a degree in journalism and advertising.