It’s Christmas season once again, and you’re preparing your usual decorations for the tree. You bring out the huge moth-eaten box from the attic, open it to reveal dull and dirty balls, bells, icicles, and solar string lights – and then you realize you haven’t changed your Christmas lights!
It’s time to get a new set for your new tree, but what will you do with your old lights? They still work, after all.
Don’t throw your solar string lights just yet. They can be useful in illuminating dark spaces in your home, creating a corner that’s both dreamy and practical. They also set the mood for cozy nights in very cold winters or humid summers. They are great for a festive ambiance during parties and holidays, or when you’re simply entertaining guests.
Solar string lights: What are they?
String lights have been part of homes and communities for many years without people noticing. They consist of those long and thin electrical wiring wrapped in plastic, with several sockets to which you can attach the bulbs. String lights come in various sizes, but the small and miniature clear or colored lights are the most common. The best example of string lights is the Christmas lights that adorn your tree at Christmastime.
The emergence of solar power gave string lights a new niche in home décor. Solar string lights are designed to absorb direct sunlight to power up their batteries. When daylight fades, these lights use their battery energy, which keeps them lighted up to eight to ten hours every night.
With an option to use lights more often without the worries of your energy bills skyrocketing, you can give your home interior and exterior all the enhancement they need with stable, twinkling or multicolored lights. Here are ways you can beautify your home with decorative string lights.
Use as landscape lighting
Your outdoor space is the first thing your guests and neighbors see. You can mold their first impression of your property with a landscaped garden, lawn or front yard. What good will a landscape be, however, if your guests can only see it during the day? Capture the attention of visitors and passersby even at night with outdoor solar string lights as your landscape lighting. Use these lights to accentuate key spots in your garden or lawn.
You can wind stake and path lights around your pathways to illuminate walkways, spotlight your yard’s centerpiece tree with uplights, or hang façade lights to bring focus to your outdoor space. You may hang low-wattage solar lights on your pots and bushes, recessed areas, stairways, perimeter walls and fences. Doing so highlights certain aspects of your garden or walkway without blinding, and may prevent slips and falls on the footpath.
You may opt for hardwired, plugged-in or solar lighting fixtures to suit your lifestyle. Moreover, while you’re at it, why not automate your outdoor lights to work with a sensor so that they would determine day and night and will instantly turn on when evening comes.
Brighten outdoor living areas
Mini solar lights and multicolored solar rope lights create an enchanting atmosphere in your patio, deck, pergola or gazebo. You don’t need to invest in complex lighting systems for these spaces; solar string lights are quite affordable to set up. They’re very eco-friendly, as they charge up every single day with the sun’s energy, and you can use them every night at no extra cost to you. Since they are solar-powered, you also don’t have to worry about outlets, and you can place them or move them anywhere you like.
When combined with motion lighting, you get the added savings of using your lights only when they’re absolutely needed, or even during a cloudy day when you have to stay on your deck or gazebo and there isn’t enough daylight. Your outdoor lighting may also double as security lighting with motion-triggered string lights attached. Homes without motion or automated lighting can put their outdoor lights on a timer to ensure these go on at the right time and keep your outdoor spaces usable at night, safe and secure.
Integrate lights in your interior design
One smart and creative way you can use string lights is by hanging them as a divider in an open concept living room. If you want your living room to be as flexible as possible to accommodate different activities, and don’t want it to be limited by a permanent wall, you may use strands of lights as your ‘wall.’
Try removing some of the bulbs in the string and arrange for the remaining bulbs to highlight framed artworks in your living room. You may also line solar-powered string lights on a wall and clip photos on the string for an improvised photo display – minus the frames. Some homes place light strands inside a jar or a geometric lantern for a contemporary DIY light; however, a solar string may not always be the right choice for this, unless you find one that still receives enough sunlight.
String lights can be used to bring focus to very high ceilings or to illuminate a hallway that lacks overhead lighting. You may use them to replace chandeliers or hanging lights in the dining room, with their length able to light up every part of an elongated table. You may place light strands on an otherwise drab wall to bring out a starry, starry night effect.
Make bedrooms and other sleeping quarters cozy
Recent trends in string lights are moving to the bedroom, as well. Some people drape solar LED string lights on top or behind the canopy of their beds for that soft glow. For your children’s bedrooms, you may hang solar lights from a hook to act as a contemporary night light or under the upper bed of their bunk bed to make it extra cozy for the one occupying the bottom. For your room, you may create mood lighting by hanging a few strands on your bed frame rungs or using string lights with bigger bulbs on your nightstand to create a makeshift lamp. Like in the living room, you may also turn a blank wall of your bedroom into an accent wall and hang globe string lights, among other things, for that fantastic effect!
Create a party atmosphere
Spring and summer are the seasons for parties and get-togethers. There’s no reason to stay indoors to bond with family and friends when daylight has faded. Your patio, deck or gazebo will be the perfect spot for a summer party or barbecue. You need to prep it up for your social gatherings. Add mats, mirrors and pillows to create a comfy ambiance. But there’s nothing like cozy or color-change lighting to bring out that party spirit!
Instead of installing an expensive lighting system, for which you may need a professional electrician, attach 20 or so solar-powered Christmas lights to a trellis or clump of trees in your backyard to decorate your barbecue spot. Make sure you charge up your solar panels well in advance of the party to make your barbecue and outdoor dinner last well into the night.
Color-changing lights will be good for outdoor gatherings, effecting change now and then, preventing your décor from becoming boring. You may also hang warm solar string lights in the ceiling of your patio or spotlights between windows overlooking the yard for lighting that does its work without being obtrusive. To maximize long-term savings, use LED colored lights. Some can even be remote-controlled using your smartphone.
When considering solar string lights to create accents in your home, keep this in mind: you need to place your panels in a position that receives direct sunlight every day. These lights are weather-resistant and require minimal maintenance. If your panels charge your solar lights fully, you get more than enough light to last the night anywhere in your home, and you don’t have to keep monitoring them.