the a, b + 3 c’s of holiday light decorating

Holiday lighting – a magical time of year even if there isn’t any snow. Most people I know take time with their families during the holidays to drive around and check out the light shows. Each town has that one neighborhood that out does themselves but all over the united states, people are lighting up for the holidays. Okay, that doesn’t sound quite right. But they are getting their spirit on with dazzling holiday light displays.

Here are a few design tips to employ when designing your holiday light scheme.  The a, b & 3 c’s of lighting design.

A is for architecture:

architect lighting

elegant simplicity highlighting the architecture of the home

the first step in any design scheme is to take a look at the space. Is it big/small/lots of yard/garage/driveway? Are there tons of trees? Is there fencing or railings? Interesting points of housing design? this seems obvious but most of us get used to our own living area and forget to see how it looks from afar. Take the overall space into consideration. Highlighting trees or houses is a great way to add lighting. Simple, single strand c-9 bulbs look great along the roofline of a house. You can replace bulbs and put them in any pattern you desire. If you only have one small section of fence or gate, don’t puts lights on it. It only draws attention to weird parts of the house and end up “floating.” Keep in mind that landscape design should always point to the entrance of the home/business.

B is for balance.

Don’t get me wrong – this does not mean symmetry. It simply means make sure that you don’t have too much happening on one side and not enough on the other. If you have a large tree on one side of your yard and not the other, use heavier architectural uplighting on the side to offset the heaviness of the tree on the other.

xmas lights

love the variety of lights and the ground detailing

C is for consistency.

Have a plan regarding layout, highlights, color and power. If you have four shrubs and plan to cover them, keep it the same color/style of light. On the same property, keep all the trees the same color, the doors, windows etc. Don’t do it just because you can. Use every item in your decorating arsenal with purpose – or don’t use it at all.

C is for Color.

good color balance

beautiful attention to architecture & color

Have a color plan in mind before you start. Check the lights ahead of time to make sure that they all match (two blue strands from two different stores can will be different shades).  Also check LED white lights – warm vs. blue lights are very obvious in this situation. Do not mix same colors on one tree unless it is done with intent. There is nothing worse than a three trees in a row that are green and the third starts green only to end in blue.

And the most imortant C of all: critique.


there is a lot of stuff going on here and feels chaotic overall

Stand back and honestly judge the overall design. Does it flow? Does it point people to the entrance of the building? When I drive by – can I reasonably make out the design or are there too many blow up santas and glowing reindeer staring back at me? Would I like it if my neighbors put this up? (keep in mind this is a landmine question that one should only ask and answer internally).

If you end up wanting a little extra help with your holiday decor (inside or out) our talented table 4 decor staff would love to help you!

Happy holidays all! If you live in the Rapid City area, my family and I look forward to seeing your fabulously decorated yards!

About designdakotastyle

ideas about event design and function from one little party design firm on the prairie... a glimpse into design with dakota style.
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