If you’ve ever visited America or Canada, you’ll notice how fairy lights are used all year round to decorate the porches, gates and trees of their beautiful homes. Unlike here in the UK, where fairy lights have strictly been just for Christmas - our North American cousins are driving the use of fairy and strip lights to create ambience and beauty year round.
I remember walking around a little town in the Napa Valley last year and looking longingly at a white-boarded porch lit up with warm white LED bulbs while a adirondack swing danced underneath. Returning via San Fransisco, LED strip lights were used to more dramatic effect - adoring the pillars and cedar trees of the Art Deco mansions of beautiful Pacific Heights.
Why can’t we do this too? And, after flying back to the UK and purchasing some Integral LED Strip Lights in warm white from here at Retro Bulbs - I started to search for convenient nooks and crannies. Spaces that - in my much smaller British home - could benefit from the sparkling, warm light of LED strips.
My goal was to create a delicate, permanent effect - not a flashy Christmas-bling more-is-more look. I settled for two places initially: wrapped around the pillars of my wrought iron gates and nestled in to a large jasmine plant in a terracotta plant on our Edwardian verandah.
The LED strip lights from Integral are so easy to use. I choose the IP67 kit versions because they are weatherproof and contain the strip and driver all one convenient package. I simply plugged them in to an existing outdoor plug.
And the results? I love the warm glow of the LED strip lights on the verandah - not only do they look pretty but they add a gentle light for when we let our dog out. I’ve also found that, even though, I am writing this in deep winter, the light encourages you to use the space whatever the weather - wrapping up in a tartan blanket and looking out on the garden.
However, it’s the Integral LED strip lights around the gate posts that really grab attention. Far from looking Christmas-like - they simply add to the sense of arrival and occasion associated with proper wrought iron entrance gates. And, at just 3W per metre - running the LED striplights constantly will make very little difference to our electricity bills.