Interior (or exterior) design advice needed!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Permalink

I know this is a very first world problem, but nevertheless it is a dilemma with which I have been grappling for some time.

I love fairy lights. Not the tragic multicoloured kind (with the large bulbs) favoured by pub beer gardens in the 1970s or 80s, but the pretty white kind.

fairy lights

My brother and sister-in-law had some around a porch nearly 20 years ago and with trees and other foliage also enveloping the porch, the whole effect was very pretty. Later, when I became a Buffy the Vampire Slayer addict, I noted that Willow (or her GF, Tara) had some in their college room. INSIDE! The notion was new to me at the time (back in the late 90s or early 00s) and I yearned for the day I too was sufficiently decadent to drape fairy lights INSIDE my place.

Eventually, after moving into my last apartment, I put some fairy lights in a large vase on my balcony – the kind on twigs (from Freedom Furniture, though they appeared much cheaper elsewhere – and everywhere – later). And, although interior fairy lights were already a bit passé, I put some in my bedroom. Of course I realised later that they were kinda wasted cos I never hung out in my bedroom to enjoy them.


Which brings us to the here and now.

lightsI still have my bedroom fairy lights from my old apartment. They’re white and about 8.5m long.

I really can’t think where I’d drape them inside my current apartment, but am loath to put them outside because – although I’d love to have them on my verandah – I’m not sure how to do it without them looking like Christmas lights or like I’m trying too hard.

I have a powerpoint out there so it’s doable. And the front of my verandah is about the right length – about 7.5m long.

I could wind them around the top rail of the glass balustrade, or put them along the ground, or the roof. Or at the back of the verandah along the sliding doors (although they’re an odd shape).

Of course there’s probably a way of scrunching them up so they look a bit edgy. (I suggest hopefully!)

Again, my question is: how do I do it without looking like I’ve forgotten to take last year’s Christmas lights down; or like I’m hosting a wedding? Or… you know… a no-taste tragic?

Any suggestions?
Should I focus on finding a spot inside for them?
Are fairy lights a no-go anywhere other than gorgeous wedding / party marquees?
Does the notion of fairy lights make you gag?


  • Katy Potaty
    October 9, 2013

    My fairy light tips:
    * Avoid draping in a curtain situation – too RSL-wedding-reception
    * Avoid wrapping around palm trees – too Hervey Bay granny
    * Avoid stringing along glass balcony railing – too Gold Coast Indy

    * Try popping them in a large-ish round glass fishbowl – they can look gorgeous and very ‘no-effort’
    * Try clipping them on an outdoor sheltered wall, framing something (like a picture, or plant)

    Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    • Debbish
      October 9, 2013

      Not sure about the fishbowl but I could do something else on a wall. I did think about putting them around the big long wall-hanging I have in my loungeroom behind the sofa (goes to the ceiling and nearly to the floor). They’re a bit too long for that but I could let the excess hang behind the couch.

      I do like the idea of them on the balcony though – just can’t work out how/where. In my previous place I did (briefly) have some fairy lights along the floor near the edge of the verandah so I could see them from inside (it’s more about my enjoyment than anyone else’s!).

  • Jo Tracey
    October 9, 2013

    I love love love them. No design advice…just saying I love them 🙂

    • Debbish
      October 9, 2013

      Me too. There’s just something so fun about them…

  • Heather Smith (@HeatherSmithAU)
    October 9, 2013

    About this time of the year you can get solar powered fairy lights leading up to xmas. We thread them through a lattice piece, and have also grown a vine through it. In the evening the lights come on automatically – it was such a simple but really effective thing to do.

    Yes you are allowed fairy lights in your house. Could you over run your bathroom with them – to really surprise guests?

    • Debbish
      October 9, 2013

      Oh Heather, I like the bathroom idea, but guests-schmests… I could put them in MY ensuite bathroom!


  • Sharmila
    October 9, 2013

    I like what Heather has done … which is what I plan to do on my balcony when I eventually get my fairy lights. Put your lights where they give you the most enjoyment. Does it really matter if your place looks like xmas all year around! 🙂

    • Debbish
      October 9, 2013

      In reality, my evenings are spent on the sofa or in the bath so the bathroom / living space or verandah would all work nicely!

  • Char
    October 10, 2013

    I got nothing. I don’t even like to put lights on the Christmas tree because it just seems like so much work for a couple of days. Maybe do a Google images search?

    • Debbish
      October 10, 2013

      I actually did a Google image search looking for some pics for the post. I’d hoped to have a ‘what I don’t want’ and ‘what I do want’ option but there were surprisingly few pics of fairy lights. (I searched on ‘deck’ and verandah….)

  • Mel
    October 10, 2013

    Firstly, I may not provide an unbiased view as I.Love.Fairylights!

    I think they would look lovely double draped over a book case or wrapped around your balcony balustrade. I find the key to not making them look Christmasy is to have only white fairy lights and the key to not letting them look wedding-y is to over-compensate; double wrap them and also have candles in hurricane lanterns when you’ve got them on at night.

    I have white fairy lights on my balcony (and I live in a highrise apartment) which I have on most nights as we use our balcony a lot, but I also have lots of candles in hurricane jars. I also have a pot of fairy lights in the sticks like the ones you had from Freedom. They’re in a large Indonesian pot near my book case which is draped over the top and handing down the sides in round coloured lanterns. I also have a really large mason jar where I’ve packed in a bunch of white fairy lights and left the lid open and that sits on my bookcase. In my bedroom and the guest room I also have a long strand of white round lanterns that run down a corner of the room next to large framed paintings. I find that if I group white with white and colour with colour it keeps the harmony and makes it look pretty!

    See Pinterest for inspiration!

    • Debbish
      October 10, 2013

      Oh thanks for the ideas Mel. I forgot to check out Pinterest. (Google images didn’t have much to offer!) I used to be a HUGE candle freak and had lots on my verandah and around my old apartment. I don’t really use them any more. Not sure why exactly!

I'd love to hear your thoughts