Holiday Lighting Tips from the Pros

hang holiday lights

Holiday lighting can be a great way to spread holiday cheer! Before you string the lights and deck the halls, we have some tried and true tips to help you fine-tune your holiday lighting strategy this season.

8 Holiday Lighting Tips from the Pros:

Look at your lights – The first step to lighting is to evaluate your existing supply of lights. Easy enough, right? After years of use, wires can become brittle and have exposed wiring which can be a fire hazard. If anything is warped or frayed, be sure to replace this season. Check for burned out bulbs, and replace before hanging on your house. Check the packaging and make sure that the lights you are using are UL-Rated for exterior use, and are weather resistant to the elements. If you are buying new, consider using energy efficient LED lighting that will last longer and use less electricity to power night after night.

Develop a lighting plan – before you begin adding lights to the house, develop a lighting plan. A lighting plan will include outdoor outlets, on/off switches and extension cords. Many houses have multiple outdoor outlets that you can use. Make sure to utilize all existing outlets – don’t overload the circuit and rely on one outlet to power the entire house. Avoid short circuits by using grounded outlets, and (if you live somewhere that you expect snow) make sure that you waterproof the connection points.

Decide what you would like to highlight – Holiday lighting is a great chance to enhance some of the best features of your home, from peaked roof lines, interesting gables, statement doors, to attention-grabbing landscape features. Your home is as unique as you are – highlight its best features with holiday lighting. Consider creating a visual outline of the roof, the gutter line, and the main entrance to create a stunning visual.

Color choices -- Whether you want to use a single color or different colors for different features, the colors you choose can make a big impact. Many people elect to use a single color throughout, but don’t be afraid to change it up and get creative with placement: blue to highlight the roof lines, greens to highlight the shrubs, and white to outline the entrance. If you’re not sure about incorporating two or more colors, don’t worry – using a color like white throughout is a classic and timeless look.

Consider the “Extras” – Whether you add a wreath, lighted garland, or other decoration, visualize how it will fit in with other holiday lighting. Most wreaths and additional decorations will complement lighting, but experts warn that you don’t want the visual to be too cluttered. Make determinations based on your available space.

Watch your step – Before you climb the ladder, check to make sure it is stable and in good condition. It goes without saying that you should put the ladder on level, unobstructed ground. Be sure you have a partner that will hand you supplies, stabilize the ladder and can spot you in case of slips or falls.

Remove and store lights safely – Holiday lighting is a great way to spread cheer this season. When the season’s over and the weather warms up, make sure to remove the lighting and store safely through the spring and summer months. Wires left up year-round may become brittle, but they also invite animals to chew on them, which invites trouble down the road. Be sure to store safely: wrap coils around plastic or cardboard and tuck away in a sturdy container, protecting the bulbs for next year’s use.

When in doubt – If you are uncomfortable with the idea of hanging your own lights, call a professional. You can pay a professional to develop a lighting strategy and hang (and remove) exterior lights for a fee.


Holiday lights can add cheer to the holiday season. Before stringing lights and climbing on the roof, it may be a good idea to check your coverage. Your Farm Bureau agent is here to take the worry out of the holiday prep so you can enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.