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Christmas lights — alternatively called twinkle lights and fairy lights — bring joy and excitement to every heart during the holiday season. Yet, when the calendar turns to January, you don’t necessarily have to pack your Christmas lights away.

If you want to enjoy the light and whimsy year-round, you can hang your Christmas lights inside your home — but you need to know how to do so without making your space feel like a college dorm. Here are some tips for using Christmas lights inside in a sophisticated and beautiful way.

Luminarias

The traditional luminaria is a small paper lantern, usually created inexpensively using a lunch bag and a candle and weighted with sand. However, you can create more durable (and less hazardous) luminarias using Christmas lights and a variety of other, more beautiful containers.

For example, you might punch small holes in tin cans or metal buckets to create intricate designs that will glow when you place Christmas lights inside. You can hang these buckets for a rustic lantern look, or you can place them on the counter or floor as decorative elements. White Christmas lights will glow the brightest and go with any décor, but colored Christmas lights could be fun for a party atmosphere.

Light Jars

jars The Right Way to Use Christmas Lights Indoors

A popular type of luminaria is a light jar, which involves placing fairy lights in a mason jar. This is an incredibly easy way to use Christmas lights indoors, and when used in large numbers, light jars can look appealing and chic. If a plain, clear jar doesn’t go with your interior aesthetic, you can change the color of the jar or add designs using paint. Acrylic paint will block out much of the light, or you can use sea glass paint for a more subtle effect.

Fireplace

A glowing fireplace creates a warm and comforting ambiance, but you don’t always want the extra heat, smoke and risk of a burning fire. Fortunately, you can enjoy a flameless fire by placing Christmas lights in your fireplace or fire pit.

First, you should style your fireplace with elements like stones or wooden logs. You can make your fireplace look natural and rustic or structured and chic, depending on the materials you use and the way you place them. Then, you can layer in your Christmas lights, taking care to hide the wires without obscuring the lights. White Christmas lights work best for a natural glow, but you can use colorful lights if you have a more eclectic style.

Wreaths and Garlands

Wreaths and garlands aren’t just for Christmas; you can use these decorative elements to celebrate any holiday or season. What’s more, you can add interest to your wreaths and garlands by working a string of Christmas lights into them. The more strings of lights you integrate, the brighter and more eye-catching your wreath or garland will be, so you should consider the effect you want to accomplish before you begin adding lights to these decorative elements.

Terrariums

If you are looking for décor that will never go out of style, you should start decorating with indoor plants. Terrariums are glass containers of indoor plants that can create their own ecosystem, making them low-maintenance and beautiful centerpieces for your home. All it takes to make a terrarium are a handful of plants, some soil and a glass container like a goldfish bowl or bell jar. You can layer Christmas lights into the gravel at the base of your terrarium, which makes the tiny landscape look touched by magic.

Signs

You can shape strings of Christmas lights into letters to form words that add whimsy and fun to your interior design. There are a few ways to make signs using twinkle lights; you can

  • poke individual bulbs from the string through holes punched out of wood or paper letters,
  • wrap the string around nails driven into wood or metal to form letters, or
  • use rope lights to create a word in cursive.

You shouldn’t limit your sign to a holiday theme. You might spell “Bar” to decorate your bar area or shape the letters of your last name for your living room to enjoy your Christmas lights year-round.

If you make the right decorative decisions with your Christmas lights, you won’t need to pack them away come January. With some creativity and decorative risk-taking, you will find a beautiful and sophisticated way to use Christmas lights indoors in every season.