Fairy light buying guide

Fairy light buying guide

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

122 guides

Fairy lights are an essential part of your Christmas decor. Whether you're after traditional lights or retro designs, there are plenty of colours and shapes to choose from. Read on to find the perfect indoor or outdoor fairy lights for your home.

Important features

  • Colour
  • Flashing lights
  • LED or filament bulb
  • Musical lights
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Outdoor fairy lights


When it comes to picking fairy lights for the front of your house, balcony or garden, you basically just have to think about the type of look you want to create. There are a few different types of outdoor fairy lights, such as:

  • tube lights;
  • incandescent or LED bulbs;
  • light curtains.

LED fairy lights can stretch up to 40 metres long and may can feature some hundreds of bulbs to wrap right around your house!

Here are some of the main advantages of LED lights:

  • they offer a wide variety of shapes (stars, snowflakes, balls, etc.);
  • they are more durable than traditional incandescent bulbs;
  • they are more robust and therefore easier to install;
  • they use much less energy than incandescent bulbs.

Outdoor fairy lights should be designed to stand up to cool winter temperatures and rainy conditions. It's essential to check that the fairy lights you choose are suitable for outdoor use before purchase! These lights can be used to wind around shutters, window frames or doors. They'll also look great wrapped around a regular tree or an outdoor Christmas tree. In short, outdoor lights will really make your outdoor Christmas decorations pop!

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Fairy lights

Indoor fairy lights: traditional vs. original


Whether you're looking to decorate a tree or just add festive flair to your interior, your choice of indoor fairy lights will depend largely on your own tastes.

Mini LED fairy lights are great for decorating trees, nativity scenes, fireplaces and walls. Twinkling lights work best for Christmas trees while star-shaped or snowflake fairy lights can be incorporated into your overall decoration (for example, draped across a wall or fireplace). Alternatively, why not go a bit retro with large coloured bulbs or harness a boho vibe with fabric or paper lanterns?

Quick decor tip: wrap a string of fairy lights around a large glass vase and fill it with festive baubles and spray-painted twigs for a budget-friendly decoration.

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Christmas baubles and ornaments

Basic fairy lights vs. high-tech


It's a good idea to read up on any fairy light features you might want. Any lights that come with a controller or even remote control are likely to come with a few different settings, such as:

  • flash speed and pattern settings;
  • different colours;
  • music.

Be aware, however, that the range of settings and options on offer will have an impact on the price.

Fairy light safety


It's essential that any lighting product you buy conforms to certain safety standards.

Check that the product is suitable for your intended use. For example, outdoor lights will need to have an appropriate IP rating.

Before putting up your lights, it's good practice to check the wires and bulbs to ensure everything is in order.

Please note: if you need to change a bulb (incandescent or LED), it should go without saying that the power supply must be cut off first. Check that the replacement bulb has the appropriate wattage to avoid short circuits.

Now all that's left to do is put on some Christmas music and get decorating!

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More information

For more advice on preparing your house and garden for the festive season, check out our other guides:

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Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds, 122 guides

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish. I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.

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