10 Christmas lighting ideas that will give your home that magical glow

Switch on the ambience with these merry and bright Christmas lighting ideas. Sure to light up your home for the holidays.

Variety of Christmas lighting styles on rustic ladder
(Image credit: Poundland)

Set the scene for a magical holiday season by putting an array of atmospheric Christmas lighting ideas into play. Perhaps the unsung hero of seasonal decor, nothing transforms the ambience of a space more than some considered, indoor Christmas lighting.

Think about that hug of warmth from a roaring fire, the wonderland effects of a fairy light lit-up tree, and the overall happiness that comes from cozying up amongst – or getting ‘merry’ with – family and friends, surrounded by a starry scene that twinkles brightly... Get this illuminating and functional feature right in your home to enjoy all the festive vibes.

Enchanting Christmas lighting ideas for added twinkle

Christmas is a time of togetherness, rejoicing and relaxing, after all. It’s a time to down tools, switch-off the screens, and tune into our intrinsic senses… Sounds appealing doesn’t it? From mellow, mulled wine moments, to creating the most flattering of lights for kisses beneath the mistletoe, versatile festive lighting can set the mood for every occasion and is easy to incorporate into your main Christmas decoration ideas also, so that you can fill your home with sparkling cheer and warmth.

‘There’s nothing like coming home after a long day of work and seeing your house bathed in a beautiful light display, says holiday lighting expert, Kelly Fitzsimmons, Light Up Your Holidays. ‘If it makes you smile, that’s the goal.’

1. String light tree

Alternative pre-lit metal Christmas tree

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

Perfect for homes that are short on space, or for those seeking an alternative Christmas tree, a magical string light tree is a clever DIY indoor Christmas lighting idea that has maximum impact without hogging precious floor area. Get the look by draping a long string of fairy lights in boughs and attach to a wall or hard surface with pins or tack. Leave as is in glowing minimalist form, or dress your alternative design with an array of baubles and ornaments, just as you would a traditional Christmas tree for a fuller look. Display inside or outside the home to striking effect.

2. Combination lighting

Festive hallway decorated fairy lights, candles and LED star lights

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

In high impact spaces (halls and entranceways that’s you), combine the mood-enhancing effects of multiple Christmas lighting solutions for a radiant look and extra glistening glow. Christmas fairy lights add a subtle twinkle and comforting warmth in every styling scenario. Introduce grouped candles in varying heights to create a visual path and added interest. For a grand finale flourish and playful modern nudge, hang or lean supersized LED lit shapes. Holiday visitors will be dazzled quite literally!

3. Starburst light chains

Festive outdoor dining with starburst chain lights

(Image credit: Idyll Home)

Radiating beautiful warm tones, hang or drape pretty starburst light chains indoors or out to add an instant celebratory feel. This look using light chains as a decorative Christmas table runner is a simple but really effective way of adding twinkling ambience and subtle illumination for festive dinner parties – without taking up precious dining space.

4. Shine bright shelfie

hallway with festive shelfie styling and large round mirror with metallic sprayed foliage

(Image credit: Photography: Malcolm Menzies)

Create the ultimate Insta-worthy Christmas shelfie with a few twinkling light additions. Oversized LED stars make a fun and striking statement, stagger a trio of different sizes for a stand-out display. For a glowing lighting idea, try a clever Christmas Mason jar look by filling a glass cloche and/or vase with micro fairy lights and arranging them at different levels. Spray foraged greenery in metallic shades to create a stunning Christmas garland to work into your illuminated shelfie.  

5. Garden wonderland

Magical outdoor Christmas lighting scene

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Decorate the exterior of your home and outside space with a host of outdoor Christmas lights for maximum impact. Drape warm glow, outdoor fairy lights around a tree or bush, stagger lanterns around a porch or along a garden path, and for a holiday-happy flourish, welcome a menagerie of pre-lit winter animals. Dress garden furniture with cozy cushions and chunky blankets to complete the enchanted Narnia-esque scheme, and nestle-in to enjoy s’mores beneath the starry night sky.

6. Neon typography

Christmas neon lighting typography

(Image credit: Custom Neon)

For a contemporary take on Christmas lighting, get the party started with a fun neon lighting design. 

‘LED neon signs have become one of the hottest new trends in décor this Christmas! This year, Etsy has seen searches for custom or personalized neon signs rise 228% for the festive period,’ says Jess Munday, co-founder, Custom Neon.

‘Bright neon signs are a great way to light up your house for Christmas while creating a warm and welcoming ambience perfect for the festive season. They look glorious lighting up your front porch or window, and they can also be used in the home to help spread joy!’

Why not create a swanky at home bar area complete with a fabulous drinks cabinet or cocktail trolley, and a conversational, neon holiday slogan?

7. Transform light fittings into festive focal points

Festive dining table with festive focal point on overhead lighting

(Image credit: Photography: Malcolm Menzies)

This DIY Christmas lighting idea will get the table talk started! Use your ceiling light fixture as a base to build a stunning Christmas ‘cloud’. Attach a lightweight branch to the fixture base and adorn with your choice of trailing fresh greenery or dried flowers and grasses. Color sprayed gypsophila is another affordable and visually beautiful choice, that adds instant volume. Add hanging ornaments or glass baubles filled with tea lights or pinecones for a mesmerising finishing touch. Adapt this idea onto the hallway chandelier with colorful baubles suspended from luxe ribbons at varying heights, to welcome guests with a wow factor color hit. 

8. Candlelit calm

Cozy Christmas fireplace detail with candlelight and warm red colors

(Image credit: H&M Home)

There’s no denying it, sometimes just keeping things simple and going back to basics is all we need… The ultimate hero and timeless favorite of Christmas lighting, you just can’t beat the glowing tranquility of candlelight. From the statuesque elegance of tapered dinner candles in a Christmas centerpiece, to the flickering beauty of tea lights dancing in votives along the mantelpiece, and the nostalgic aromas of Christmas wafting from a scented design, candlelight undoubtedly adds a touch of romanticism to any space and every occasion. We say light them up – the more the merrier.

9. Elevate everyday decor with a playful sparkle

Brass drinks trolley with fun Christmas cactus wrapped in fairy lights

(Image credit: Photography: Rachael Smith)

Fairy lights can magically transform everyday objet into festive favourites. Experiment and have fun with Christmas lighting ideas in every room and elevate your indoor jungle of house plants, succulents and cacti with a joyful string of twinkling lights. You might even decide to run with this idea and opt for a DIY Christmas tree in lieu of the traditional spruce. Amp up the celebratory party look further with luxe gold accents that will bounce the light. 

10. Natural textures

Pre-lit woven Christmas tree cones

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

There’s something deeply reassuring about the raw tactility of natural materials. For a gorgeously rustic Christmas lighting idea that will illuminate any space with a transformative twinkle, try wrapping fairy lights around a long branch and leaning against a wall in a lonely corner. Or, suspend a lit branch above a kitchen island or dining table and hang with ornaments and trailing seasonal greenery for a striking country style decorating feature. 

Anthropologie’s Illuminated LED vine cones are the ideal pick to add a warm glow to home spaces. Stagger heights for added interest. 

Should you install white or colored Christmas lights?

‘This comes down to individual preference. White lights are certainly a more classic and refined look, but colored lights are fun and festive.’ says holiday lighting expert, Kelly Fitzsimmons, Light Up Your Holidays.

How do you light up your house for Christmas?

Imagination is key when considering Christmas lighting ideas. 

‘Use candles and candle sconces to add a warm glow. String colorful lights around trees, on mantels, on and around garlands, and on and around banisters,’ says Zac Houghton, CEO at Loftera. ‘Use string lights, rope lights, and LED rope lights to add accents to doors, windows, and corners,’ he continues. 

How do I decorate my house with lights outside?

This year, outdoor Christmas lights are set to be bigger and brighter than ever before. 

Frances Clements, Christmas buyer at Homebase, comments ‘This Christmas will truly be the brightest, most colorful Christmas yet – and deservedly so! Whether fuelled by festive frenzy after a bleak 2020 or inspired by some friendly neighborhood competition, at Homebase we predict more people will use outdoor lights and decorations to glow up their homes, spreading the yuletide spirit beyond just their living rooms to make their entire homes a festive statement. Our top tip? Make sure to turn your lights off before you go to sleep to reduce light pollution and ensure less impact on the environment – festive lights for you and a good sleep for all creatures big and small.’

Content Editor

Holly is a Content Editor at Real Homes, and has previously worked at Future Homes brands including Country Homes & Interiors and Livingetc. She has a background in interior and event styling spanning a decade, which previously took her from coast to city and beyond to Australia. 

Holly loves working with creative minds and discovering fresh, indie brands, and is a firm believer that no home can have too many cushions, unruly blooms or decorative details of happy