String lights are a backyard favorite for many good reasons. They add ambiance and mood lighting. They're easy to put up and take down. They come in a wide array of custom styles to create just the right atmosphere. These lights even come in many fun themes to match whatever backyard party theme you choose. But fairy lights are also perfect to use in your bedroom or any other room at home, creating the perfect ambiance for you to enjoy.
With so much variety, it can be hard to choose which type of string light option is right for your backyard or indoor space. Below we'll cover the different styles, how to display them and different lighting types.
How to Choose the Best Style of String Light?
Which style of string light you choose will depend largely on which decorating theme you are going for. Below are the main styles in string lights and in which situation each works best.
These types of bulbs are rounded in some way. Typically, the glass is clear and you can see a white LED light or filament light through them. They tend to fit in with any type of decorating scheme since they have an understated look.
These are simply in a classic bulb shape and are also often clear with a white light inside. This is an understated look that goes well in classic or timeless spaces. It's also a favorite choice for industrial decor.
These are very small lights that sit along a string. They're called fairy lights because they give a soft, ethereal glow, like you're looking at the smallest fairies from a distance. Use these in romantic or playful styles.
Novelty string lights have a bulb inside a shaped casing. The string lights could look like anything, from popsicles to pineapples to stars. Use novelty bulbs for fun and casual spaces or themed parties.
These have a light set into a plastic tube. The rope light glows from within the tube and creates a soft lighting style. They are often of one color like blue or changing colors. These tend to work in fun, artsy styles.
This category actually encompasses any lighting type where bulbs are in a different color. So the light itself might be a globe light or a novelty light, but the overall appearance is one of a rainbow look. These look great in artsy party themes, casual spaces or even kid's rooms.
How to Display String Lights to Get Different Effects?
Half of the fun of working with string lights is finding fun ways to display them. You have many different options for creating effects.
The most common way to hang them is to simply string them somewhere high. String lights normally go over eating areas outside, along walls inside or over walkways. If you're trying to use the string lights functionally to create the most lighting, this is the way to hang them.
String lights also do well in less conventional areas. Try putting string fairy lights under stairs or railings for some romantic ambient lighting and to light walkways more directly. This method works well with rope lights. Some people add string lights around the trunk and branches of a tree to make it look like the tree is lighted from within. They also look beautiful inside a canopy bed. Some people spell out words on walls with the lights. A very popular use is to put fairy lights inside or around candles and mason jars for some tabletop lighting.
Which are Better, Indoor or Outdoor String Lights?
Whether you choose indoor or outdoor string lights depends on your purposes. A simple way to think about it is if you want to use them indoors, get indoor lights. If you use them outdoors, get outdoor lights.
Where this gets a little more complex is where the lights are rated to be used. Some lights are specifically outdoor lights, some are advertised as indoor lights and some can be used for both. Be sure to carefully check the labeling on the lights before you purchase them. They should list whether they can be used indoors, outdoors or both.
The reason for the difference is that many outdoor lights are made with heavier materials to withstand being on for longer periods, like all night. Outdoor lights are also built to withstand the elements. Indoor lights are more delicate because they don't have as heavy electrical loads or element exposure. Trying to use lighting outside of its intended purpose could result in a fire, in worse cases, so this is a safety issue.
How to Choose The Lighting Style in String Lights?
You also have a few different options for how these actually light up.
Plug-in: Choose plug-in if where you plan to put the lights has a convenient outlet nearby.
Battery: If you don't have an outlet, a battery option can keep those outdoor decor lights going. The drawbacks are that you have to replace the battery and this leads to a shorter time that you can leave the light on.
Solar: Some string lights are even powered by solar power via an added panel. If you live in a sunny area and want to conserve electricity, look into solar lights.