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Every year, we unbox thousands of bright, twinkly lights to adorn our homes in festive luminescence for the holidays. In fact, people love Christmas lights so much, that NASA claims holiday lights can even be seen from space. The good news is, all your hard work untangling those strings of lights doesn’t have to go to waste just because the holidays are over. Between adding a bit of ambiance to a room or adding some extra lighting outside, these ideas let you enjoy glowing strings of light far after the tree has been taken down and the final gift has been unwrapped. Click through for some of our favorite alternative uses for Christmas lights.

Light Up Outdoor Dinner Party

If you’re planning to dine al fresco this summer, add string lights to your list of must-have outdoor decor items. They are the perfect accent piece to your tablescape and give off a laid-back, cozy vibe.

See more of this outdoor fete on Local Milk.

Dress Up Your Plants

Make your greenery shine (literally) by weaving in lights. Pro tip: if you get the kind with a green wire, they’ll blend in seamlessly. See the entire space here.

Photo Display

Photo frames are overrated- hang up your favorite photos and mementos by clipping them onto string lights instead! It’s a great way to show off all your memories and dress up a bare wall. Find more cute bedroom lighting ideas here.


Room Divider

Swap out a bulky room divider for a more casual curtain of lights. This will really open up your space and make everything flow. The best part is, it’s temporary; so if you decide to re-work your layout you can do so easily.


Dreamy Canopy Lighting

Create year-round festivity with clear string lights behind a drapey translucent canopy for lush Bohemian bedroom vibes.


Whimsical Terrarium Lamps

To best achieve this look, opt for battery powered string lights with thin wires and bulbs (sometimes called fairy, firefly, or copper string lights). This dreamy tablescape makes for way-festive holiday decor with clear or colored bulbs, but we also like this idea as year-round decor too.

In A Lantern

Hang these indoor or out for safe, flame-free illumination year-round. Clear lights are the most versatile, but colored would totally work for the holiday season.

A Chandelier Alternative

Whether you need extra lighting at the dinner table or simply want a more intimate effect, hanging strings of clear Christmas lights above the table is a chic and inexpensive solution.

Non-Christmas Winter Decor

Create winter wonderland-themed decor to last beyond the holidays with clear string lights and simple organic touches like evergreens and bare branches. Let this simple, glam look shine until spring.


Illuminated Wall Signage

Make your own statement with string lights and a little empty wall space. Start with a holiday-themed gesture like “Merry” or “Bright” and then switch to something more universal, like this glam “Love” arrangement.

Outdoor Chandelier

Turn an antique candelabra into an outdoor lighting piece by wrapping it in a few strands of lights. The best part of Christmas lights is how easy it is to put multiple strands together. Add an extension cord to plug in to an outdoor outlet and you’ve got yourself a chic piece of backyard decor. See more here.

DIY Vanity Mirror

Turn your mirror into an illuminated vanity by stringing some white christmas lights around the edges. Adhere with clear plastic hoots or tape and you’ve instantly added some cozy mood lighting to your bedroom. Check out the full inspo here.

Wine bottle centerpiece

Adding some twinkly lights into a wine bottle (or any fancy glass bottle for that matter) is a trendy way of upcycling your goods into a piece of decor. Plus, its bound to brighten up any room. Reuse your original christmas lights with that dark green cord inside darker glass bottles with a hole cut out of the side, or, better yet, stuff your favorite bottles with battery operated fairy lights and place them anywhere for a bit of mood lighting. Get the how-to here.

Originally published April 2017. Updated December 2017.

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