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Find the right bright lights for holiday decorating

'Tis the season to deck the halls with sparkling lights that add touches of twinkle to your home. Whether you need string lights for your tree and banister or want to illuminate your yard and roofline, our wide selection of lights can help you create an ambience of Christmas magic around your home. Holiday lights come in a wide range of designs, colors and formats. Here's what you need to know about the multitude of options available to make the right purchasing decision for your needs.

Incandescent Christmas lights

When you think of traditional Christmas lights, this is likely what you'll imagine. Incandescent-style bulbs may be large and rounded, which creates a retro look for your tree or inside your home. They're also used to make the smaller, pointed mini lights that are more common these days. Choose round, globe-shaped incandescent lights if you want more brightness. You'll also want to think about color and other features. Incandescent lights are available in both all-white and multicolor varieties, and some strands come with preprogrammed blinking options that let you choose light patterns that display via the bulbs. All-white strands are great for a traditional look, while colored lights are whimsical and charming.

Incandescent lights can use more energy than LED bulbs, so it's a good idea to purchase a bulb timer if you want to save on energy. This lets you select the times of day that you want the lights to come on and turn off, and it automatically performs these actions at the specified times.

LED Christmas lights

These innovations in Christmas lighting resemble your favorite traditional and mini lights, but they're an energy-saving option that can last for 50,000 hours or longer. LEDs are available in both white and multicolor varieties, and their colors are usually a little brighter and cooler, tone-wise, than incandescent bulbs. If you prefer a warmer glow, choose incandescents. Go for LEDs when you want brightness or are concerned about bulb safety these don't get as hot as other lights.

Icicle lights

Like their name suggests, these lights resemble dripping icicles and typically come in cooler white and blue colors. They feature a plain main strand from which shorter, lighted wire strands hang. Most designs have "icicles" of different lengths for more visual interest, and this light style is often indoor-outdoor rated so you can run them along your roofline or gutters to create the appearance of a winter wonderland on your home's exterior. They also work well draped around an indoor tree if you're looking for an easy way to install lights without wrapping each branch.

Outdoor lights

Don't save the holiday cheer for the inside of your house only. If you want to light up your yard, there are several useful options to consider, and many of them are easier than ever to install.

  • Net lights come prestrung into shapes that you can easily drape across bushes, trees and other large features in your yard. They're commonly designed as large, mesh-like curtains that resemble fishermen's nets with diamond shapes between the strands of light. Net lights are great timesavers because you simply lay them atop whatever you want to light up, and their even spacing provides a crisp, uniform appearance. These come in incandescent-mini and LED versions with white and multicolor options.
  • Projector lights are types of spotlights that cast a wash of light over a large space. These are typically solar powered and mounted on stakes that you can secure directly into the ground in your yard. They're ideal for lighting up the entire front or side of your home. Many provide the option to select the color you want them to project, and others feature rotating discs with cutout silhouettes of wintertime shapes. As the discs turn in the projectors, these lights project shadows onto your home that may resemble falling snowflakes, stars or Christmas trees. Look for models that come with remotes for easy operation from inside your home.

How many lights do I need?

Depending on the look you're going for, you'll need different numbers of light strands (and bulbs) for both indoor and outdoor decorating. Keep in mind that bulbs can be spaced differently if you see two different products with the same number of lights but one cord is a longer length, the bulbs will have larger spaces between them and look better in certain situations. Use the following guidelines to help determine how many lights you'll need for your specific application.

  • For your indoor tree, you'll need about 100 mini bulbs per vertical foot. Depending on the spacing you prefer, three 30-foot strands should cover a 7- or 8-foot tree nicely.
  • For outdoor trees, you'll want around 200 mini lights per vertical foot. For a subtler look, 150 should do the trick. Choose strands with 6- or 8-inch bulb spacing for wrapping tree trunks.
  • Net lights are typically listed by the number of bulbs on each, but this tends to correspond with their dimensions. Nets with 150 bulbs, for example, usually measure about 6x4 feet, while nets with 200 bulbs measure about 10x7 feet. Measure the spot where you plan to place them, and remember that these lights can stretch a little due to their construction.
  • Purchase extension cords for your outdoor lights or any indoor lights that aren't close enough to an outlet. You can also choose battery-powered indoor designs for Christmas trees that aren't close to electrical outlets.

Electrode, Comp-457417937, DC-prod-cdc7, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-9.14.3, SHA-6fed2b54c66f3fc265c31d53ce13bd6d50847612, CID-be8e5dfb-d0c-16ef749810122f, Generated: Wed, 11 Dec 2019 23:27:00 GMT