13 Ways to Use String Lights You (Maybe) Haven’t Thought of Before

Twinkle lights, or string lights, or fairy lights, or Christmas lights, or whatever you like to call them, are one of the most affordable and ubiquitous of holiday decorations. Their simplicity—it’s a bunch of lights on a string, people—means they are not only useful for trimming trees, but also for a multitude of other uses. Drape these bright strands anywhere that needs a little holiday cheer, and maybe leave them up for the rest of the season to fight the winter blues. Here are 13 of our favorite ideas.

Above: In this space from Livet Hemma, string lights draped from the ceiling make for a dreamy, ethereal space. This is a great application for icicle lights; use more strands for a denser appearance.

In this space from Inside Closet, oversize string lights are draped over the walls, for a casual but still lovely accent that’s a cinch to put up.

In this living room from Heart Home via Desire to Inspire, twinkle lights scattered on the hearth are a quick and easy way to add some holiday cheer (not recommended if you have a precocious little feline that is prone to chewing).

I love the look of these knotted string lights, framing a door in a space spotted on Afflante. (You could also do this with standard twinkle lights, for a more traditional look.)

Try this trick from Urban Outfitters (via Vintage Blackboard): place a string of lights under a cloche for a little touch of magic.

Stringing some lights around your headboard, as seen on Cider with Rosie, is a great way to spread holiday cheer into the bedroom without a lot of effort. (Bonus: you can even leave them up after Christmas is over, for a little extra warmth throughout the winter.)

I love the cluster of wired twinkle lights draped around the headboard in this bedroom from Lobster and Swan—proof that the “lights on the headboard” look can work for lots of bed styles.

If your bed doesn’t have much of a headboard, try draping string lights above your nightstand, as seen in this photo from Draumesidene. (Bonus: the lights can also double as a bedside lamp.)

These modern twinkly Christmas wreaths are made from copper coiling that’s readily available at the hardware store. Get the DIY from A Bubbly Life.

A ladder draped with string lights, like this one from Alex’s Closet (via Brit + Co.), is a great candidate for a holiday decoration, or just an unusual lighting fixture you can leave up all year round.

Don’t forget about the outdoors! Of course, there are all the traditional ways of using twinkle lights outdoors, like framing doors and windows and covering tree trunks, but I also like this idea from Sunset, where a string of twinkle lights gives a firepit an artful glow.

Twinkle lights draped around the edge of an oversize mirror makes for an extra glow, as seen on Design*Sponge. (This is another holiday decoration that you could easily leave up all winter (or all year) long.)

This DIY from Dizzy Maiden involves a hula hoop and two strings of icicle lights, and is perfect for your outdoor space (or perhaps a very large indoor space).

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