23 Ways to Use String Lights — Beyond Your Patio, That Is

23 Ways to Use String Lights — Beyond Your Patio, That Is

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Marlen Komar
Jun 25, 2018
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(Image credit: Gabriela Herman)

String lights, globe lights, fairy lights — no matter what you call them, they've proved their staying power. String lights have become the secret weapon for (professional and amateur) decorators, coming in all shapes, sizes, and colors. And, there are so many ways that you can use them to dress up a place in a modern, chic way.

Here are some of our favorite ways to experiment with string lights — beyond the super-expected patio treatment, that is.

(Image credit: Gabriela Herman)

1. Run string lights from wall to wall to give a dinner party a festive touch, just like this setup from an earlier Kitchn post. It's a fun way to bring the outside in — especially during the summer if it's too rainy or buggy to actually go outside.

(Image credit: Indie Home Collective)

2. For those of you with a large, full-length mirror in your room, you can jazz up the piece — like Indie Home Collective did — by layering a string of black-wired carnival lights over the side.

3. Use your lights to accent a gallery wall. Jove Meyer had a diagonally ascending gallery wall, so he strung lights to move up with the slant, and then zig-zag across the ceiling.

4. Sometimes it can be tricky to carve out separate spaces in an open-plan loft. Jess Levitz discovered that with some strategically placed lighting in her living and dining room, she was able to easily mark her entertaining spaces — no walls needed.

(Image credit: Ernie Enkelaar)

5. Try out a cascading string of lights over your table, like Kim van Rossenberg did for 101 woonideeën (featured in the Style Files.) The tennis-ball-sized bulbs add a playful touch to the mismatched kitchen chairs and minimalist kitchen design.

(Image credit: 6sqft)

6. A great way to brighten up an exposed brick wall is to add some lights to it. But to keep in theme with the industrial-like feel of the red bricks, try adding lights that are on a black string, so the dark color pops against the brick, like this space featured on 6sqft.

(Image credit: Boho & Nordic)

7. There is something so cozy about snuggling into your couch, pouring a glass of wine, and flicking on a string of lights. It's a modern day version of sitting in candlelight. To achieve that level of ambiance in your own living room — without inadvertently mimicking a teenager's bedroom room — try picking out clunkier carnival lights. Have them swoop from the window to a corner, and then disappear behind your sofa, like in this space on Boho & Nordic.

8. If you live in an apartment or have a room in your house with a slanted ceiling, or a-frame, lean into that shape by outlining it with a strand of carnival lights, like Marzena Marideko did in her Warsaw apartment.

9. If you have a small balcony, you can make it extra cozy. Take another page out of Marzena Marideko's book, and skip the clunky patio furniture. Instead, put down a waterproof mattress and pillows right on the floor, adding in blankets and lanterns when you know that the weather will stick. For an extra cozy touch, hang the oversized string lights so that the bulbs are super low.

(Image credit: Emmas DesignBlogg)

10. While it might feel a little college dorm-inspired, stringing your lights around a doorway is a cozy way to bring some light into the room. To make it feel more grown-up, consider upgrading from Christmas lights to industrial drop lights like in this apartment for sale through Bolaget, spotted on Emmas DesignBlogg.

(Image credit: Serenity Boutique)

11. If you have a little one in the house and they have a tent in their room where they can sprawl out and read and play, make it magical by adding a string of lights that cascade down the entrance, like Serenity Boutique did in their hung dome.

(Image credit: Gap/Instagram)

12. A sweet way to add warmth to your entryway is to string lights around your living room entrance, like in this scene from Gap's Instagram feed. We also love that this strand has a unique copper wire.

(Image credit: Petite Lily Interiors)

13. Don't be afraid to mix different kinds of lights together in one room. Just because you already have a pendant lamp in your kitchen or dining room, doesn't mean you also can't work in a light chain into the same space, as Petite Lily Interiors proves.

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

14. If you have a canopy bed in your room, consider giving it a magical touch by stringing fairy or carnival lights across its beams, giving it a dreamy mood like Urban Outfitters did.

(Image credit: Behr)

15. Whether you're having a party or just really want to draw attention to your bar cart, consider hanging a string of lights on the wall over your booze. Bonus points if the wall is painted — the bulbs will jump against a dramatic shade, as Behr showed in their bar cart styling.

(Image credit: inmyroom.ru/Instagram)

16. A tasteful string of lights around the window is useful and pretty. Exhibit A: this cozy space In My Room styled.

17. This dining area from vtwonen proves that you can keep a minimalist space from feeling too minimal — simply by adding a string of lights. If you have a black and white theme going, the black wires and white bulbs will help tie that together.

(Image credit: Facing North With Gracia)

18. If you feel like your bedside table is missing something, try dangling a string of lights from the ceiling to act like a bedside lamp, like in this setup from Facing North with Gracia.

(Image credit: machouseblanc/Instagram)

19. If you have kids in the house, dress up their bunk beds with a string of lights, like Rebecca McLennan did. The black lights went perfectly with the white and black room. (And be sure to check out her Instagram to learn more about that IKEA bunk beds hack!)

(Image credit: zaraplus3/Instagram)

20. If you have one of those rustic ladders in your house and are looking for a new way to decorate it, string it up with some big-bulb lights, like in this space spotted on Instagram.

(Image credit: Emily Henderson)

21. If you have a nook in your dining room or kitchen that looks like it needs a little something extra, try filling it with a strategically hung string of lights. Emily Henderson proved it brings a lot of ambiance to the room without cluttering up the walls.

(Image credit: rebeccaeichten/Instagram)

22. If you have shelves over your desk and are looking for ways to make the work station feel a bit more inviting, learn from Rebecca Eichten's design ideas and string lights across the shelves.

(Image credit: Residence Style)

23. If you have an open floor plan in your apartment, loft or house, and feel like you want to add a little something special to those high ceilings. Take another cue from Jessica Levitz.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 28 Ways to Use Those Magical String Lights

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