There's nothing like an elegant set of string lights to set a fantastical or festive tone. Thankfully, hanging string lights on your porch is a simple five step process.
The steps to hang string lights on a porch are:
- Select your method
- Install anchor points
- Hang string lights
- Screw-in light bulbs
- Connect to power
Let's take a closer look at these steps and how to properly hang string lights on a porch.
Select Your Method
Once you have you have purchased your string lights, assess the area where you will hang them. Decide where you want to hang them, how you want to hang them, and how you are going to reach a power source.
If you plan to install string lights often, installing long-term anchor points like screw eyes is a good idea. However, if you would like to remove the anchor points in the foreseeable future, using something like clear command hooks may be the option for you.
Install Anchor Points
The distance between anchor points depends on the weight of your string lights and how you want them to hang. For example, if you want to hang a low weight light like fairy lights loosely, you can put a good distance between your anchor points. However, if you want to hang a heavy light like a globe light, the anchor points should be closer together.
Plan according to your personal situation. In general, start with fewer anchor points and add more as needed.
Hang String Lights
Once your anchor points are in, you are ready to attach your string lights! Simply put them into or on your anchor point.
Depending on the anchor point you chose hanging your lights may be a bit different, but still fairly straightforward. Be careful during this part, especially if you are using a ladder.
Screw-in Light Bulbs
This step doesn't apply to all string lights. Hanging fairy lights, in particular, does not involve this step. However, if your string lights involve large bulbs, they may have shipped separately.
This is also a good time to make sure none of the bulbs are broken or otherwise damaged. If there is one damaged, discard and replace it. However, if you just bought lights, contact the vendor and see about their replacement policy.
As long as the bulbs are damaged, this should be a straightforward step. If you have any questions, the lights you purchased should come with a more specific manual.
Connect to Power
Finally, it's time to attach your string lights to power. If you are hanging solar lights, just place the solar panel in an appropriate spot.
For lights that need to be plugged into an electrical outlet or extension cord, you should be able to turn the lights on immediately. Before you do, make sure the outlet is clean and not wet. Then, plug your lights in and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
How many sets of outdoor string lights can you connect?
How many string lights you can connect depends on the wattage of the lights. On average, you should not connect more than ten sets of string lights.
Can you shorten a string of lights?
Yes, it is easy to permanently shorten a string of lights. Double-check that the lights are not connected to power, then you can cut anywhere along the wire. Then cover the exposed section of wire. The easiest way to do that is by using electrical tape.
Can you leave string lights on overnight?
Yes, you can leave string lights on overnight. Depending on the efficiency, size, and heat of the lights, it may cause a fire risk. However, as technology has progressed that risk has gotten smaller.
If you are concerned about having your lights on too long, a timer is a great option for you. It is also great for people who do not want to have to worry about plugging and unplugging lights every night.
The main detail to be aware of when picking a timer is if it is an outdoor or indoor timer. While many can do both if you are going to hang lights on your porch, it is best to pick a specifically made timer for outdoor use.
Can you leave string lights out in winter?
In general, yes. However, it varies depending on your area and how much precipitation you get. How much shelter the outlet has and what your local weather is like.
If you get snow or a lot of rain in the winter and your porch does not offer shelter, it is best to bring your string lights in for bad weather. However, if your porch keeps the outlet and lights shelter from the elements, it should be safe to leave them out year-round.
Types of outdoor string lights
There are a variety of outdoor string lights. The main consideration when picking the type of outdoor string lights you want to get is your personal style.
Solar lights are a great budget-friendly option, especially for outside. Just keep in mind where you want to string your lights and where the solar panel will be. For example, if your solar panel needs to go into the ground, and the lights will go up high, you need to plan accordingly.
Another perk to solar lights is they can withstand most, but not all inclement weather. However, if it snows it can block the solar panel and reduce efficiency. Hail and other damaging storms can also break the panels.
Glass solar panels are more prone to breaking in bad weather. If you live in an area with snow or common storms, it is best to go with a hardy plastic solar light. When buying, check the description to make sure they are for outdoor use. Outdoor lights tend to be made to deal with more extreme weather.
Almost any kind of light can come in a solar variety.
Fairy lights are a great, fantastical way to add some fun lighting to your porch. Their delicate lights are what really set them apart.
These solar fairy lights are best suited for an area where the panel can be put into the ground. However, you can also lay the panel on a flat surface. It just may not look as refined.
If you plan on handing fairy lights in a taller space, lights that plugin and are longer may be a good option for you.
Globe lights are great for drawing attention to the lighting. They also tend to put out more light than fairy lights, as the bulb is bigger.
Classic bulb lights are a great way to spruce up your porch in a way that really stands out. These globe lights are especially great for adding an industrial yet rustic feel to your porch.
Using crystal globe lights or other decorated globe lights is a great way to add a classy pop. Crystal globe lights are an especially great option if you want to make the lights more of a focal point.
These lights are a fun take on globe lights that can add a nice refined look to your porch. They are also unique and just one example of how you can use lights to add to your porch's ambiance.
There are a variety of other lights like Edison bulbs that can be used. Like many other aspects of home decorating, the only limit is your imagination!
Another option for string lights is to do it yourself. Some common materials for DIY string lights include mason jars and beer bottles. Even common items like slinkies can be used to add a fun and unique twist to string lights.
If you do not have a spot to hang your lights, getting a variety of screw eyes is good. In general, try using small screw eyes, as that will make them less noticable.
If you plan on hanging your lights loosely using some carabiners and other rings. You can use these in conjunction with screw eyes. This is especially good if you plan to switch out lights often or want the lights to hang loosely. The drawback of using carabiners is the attention they attract.
Looking for more lighting ideas and inspiration for your porch? Check out these informative and encouraging posts!