When decorating the exterior of your home for Christmas, most people start with lights. However, what many don’t realize is that there are actually two different kinds of lights, each with vastly different benefits.
Incandescent lights are made of glass and have filaments in a colored bulb. These are the most traditional option. They’re likely the kind you grew used to as a child, and they are the type used in almost every Christmas movie. They are also a softer light, so they won’t completely dominate any room.
These lights do have a few drawbacks. They’re high energy and they don’t last very long. Additionally, they heat up when they’ve been on for a long time, so plastic ornaments may melt if they happen to press against the lights. And, because they’re glass, they pose the risk of breaking.
LED lights have only really been around for the past few years, but they offer many advantages. Not only do they save power, they are also far brighter than incandescent bulbs. And because they are power-saving lights, you can string together about 80 strands instead of just 6- the limit for incandescent lights.
However, because they are light emitting colored diodes encased in a plastic cap, these lights look less traditional and more artificial. They’re also more expensive than incandescent lights, but in the long run they may end up saving you money with lower energy usage.
While both lights have their pros and cons, you don’t need to stick with only one kind of light. Each kind of light has their separate uses.
“LED is really the only way to go for outdoor applications,” says Shane Atkin, an expert in Christmas decorations at Modern Display. “I personally prefer incandescent for indoor, especially on the Christmas tree just because the lights aren’t as bright and don’t overpower the tree.”
Atkin recommends using LED lights to create the huge Griswald-esque light displays on the roof of the house or in the front yard and leaving the incandescent light to create a softer look inside the house. Incandescent lights can also be used for a softer look outside, outlining a doorway or window frames.
If you do go with a bold look and want to go bigger than just a lights display, Atkin recommends buying a projector that projects snowflakes or green and red lights along the side of your house. This option looks especially nice against large and flat walls and will add a unique touch to your Christmas decorations.