While current wisdom still maintains that post-Thanksgiving is the right time to break out the Christmas decorations, maximizing the effort put into easily the most decorated holiday, there are more and more enthusiasts starting even earlier. One consistently tasteful and pleasing visual of holiday decorations that is always a welcome presence prior to Thanksgiving and well into the new year: Christmas lights.

Twinkling lights inside and out are a welcome sight, providing a warm and cheerful glow during the gloomiest of long Wisconsin winter nights, and there are many creative ways to illuminate your beautiful home and property. As with any type of decorating, constraints are generally based on budget, effort and desired areas to incorporate into the lighting scheme. The sky is the limit in terms of creative lighting, with endless options regarding colors, shapes, styles and props. Yet the most enchanting and sophisticated holiday lighting designs tend to have a consistent theme complimentary to a luxury custom built home and its landscaping.

Beginning with the exterior, it helps to identify the parts of the property to include in the lighting plan. Trees, shrubs, exterior structures such as sheds, trellises or pergolas, can all be incorporated. If the home is the center of the lighting design, maximize the existing landscaping and planters to frame the house. More formal landscaping and extensive grounds provide opportunities to surround the home with complimentary decorative lighting, whereas a rustic setting and longer driveway may be imagined into an illuminated approach to the home. In either of these scenarios, consistency should be maintained, in terms of spatial relations to the home and types and colors of lighting. 

Prime exterior locations to enhance with lighting:

  • The front porch
  • The driveway entrance and drive
  • Trees, foliage or planters filled with boughs
  • Detached structures on the property
  • The roofline or eaves, and gutters
  • Wreaths

Many types of lighting beyond traditional stringed lights can be utilized for seasonal decoration, which can also be incorporated into year-round landscaping design, including canned lights for up-lighting trees and foliage, canned lighting on the homes’ exterior, or LED strings to line eaves, walkways or other structures. It is easy to switch out standard lighting for festive colored lights in cans. Hanging lanterns in trees is also a creative way to accent for the holidays, as well as throughout the year. The beauty of focusing on lighting for holiday decorations is that it easily transforms year-round landscaping elements into Christmas décor; adding lighting to planters, pots, lanterns, hedges, etc., artfully chosen to enhance many custom-built homes, creates a magical seasonal touch entirely unique to that home.

Consistency in lighting does not necessarily mean lighting color, but refers to spacing and unity as well. The entire scheme should tie together, in terms of the perimeter of the property it extends to, as well as alternating consistently the lighting color when deviating from white.

Lighting the interior:

  • Wrapped trees and branches look beautiful on the exterior, so bring them inside – whether wrapping branches in vases or incorporating lights into traditional garland and evergreen boughs
  • Wrapping banisters
  • Fireplace Mantels
  • Weaving lights into chandeliers
  • Windows – instead of traditional candles, try stringing or hanging lights

Check out our Pinterest page on holiday lighting for some creative ways to use traditional and non-traditional Christmas lighting both inside and out to make your custom-built home look like a dream home for the holidays.