Given the amount of time we’ve all spent inside this past year, you may be ready to elevate your lighting game to the next level. If you’re planning on making your home a bit brighter this year, here are some tips that will make the job easier.

Measure the space you plan to light.

To save yourself from taking multiple trips to the store, measure the outline of your home that you are planning to light. Also, figure out where you will be connecting to your power source, so you have the right extension cords ready to go. 

When you are getting ready to hang your lights, plug in your extension cord and hang the lights while they are on, this way you won’t end up with a light strand that’s too far from a power source. 

Be Safe! 

Double check all outlets and cords for safety before you begin your lighting mission. Here are some outdoor decorating safety tips provided by the Electrical Safety Foundation International. Another thing to keep in mind is the material of your ladder. You’ll want a wooden or fiberglass ladder because the ESFI says metal ladders can conduct electricity. Make sure your ladder is in good condition and have a family member spot you if someone is free to help! 

Invest in the best lights. 

There are a variety of string light styles for you to choose from, but what you really want to consider is the type of bulb you are buying. LED bulbs are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but LED strings will last longer. They will be more of an investment upfront, but they will also help save on your utility bill as they are more energy efficient. LED strings also usually have more bulbs on them, making your string brighter. Plus, they are made out of acrylic material, so they are harder to break and they don’t get hot to the touch. 

Use Gutter Clips. 

We all wish we could have Martha’s Christmas Light Gun, but unfortunately we don’t live in Whoville. Instead, you’ll want to get some packs of nifty gutter clips such as Omni Clips. You are more likely to ruin the wires in your light strands when using nails or staples, so go for the clips! 

Plan for a warmer, dry day. 

Check the weather and try to hang your lights on a milder, dry day. You’ll want to roll out your lights in advance to check for any lights that may not be working. Start in the morning, so you have plenty of time to complete your project. Have hot cocoa ready to make in the kitchen, so you can take a cozy break when needed. 

Get in your groove and go for it! 

It’s recommended to start from the highest point and work from side-to-side as you make your way down. When it comes to getting your trees well-lit, consider getting a light-hanging pole to make your life a lot easier. A good rule of thumb is 100 lights for every 1-1/2-ft of tree or shrub you want to cover. So a 6-ft evergreen needs at least 400 lights for a basic level of lighting.

Install a timer. 

Lastly, you may want to invest in a light timer. This way, you won’t have to remember to unplug your lights before bed every night. Your timer will automatically turn your light display on and off for you, so you’ll save on your electric bill and keep the home safe while you sleep.

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