The only Christmas decoration you really need

We're calling it.
Chris Warnes

Now that Christmas is beginning to creep up on us, many of us are looking for ways to brighten our festive decorations without pulling on our purse strings and fairy lights are at the top of our wishlist. Why? They’re super affordable and just so versatile!

If you’re after easy Christmas decorating tips, even a little string of fairy lights goes a long way. We think they are the ultimate Christmas decorating tool with the ability to transform decorative vignettes, mantlepieces, driftwood and stairwells into a twinkly wonderland. Read on for our brilliant fairy light decorating ideas.

Christmas fairy lights in tree with Noel votive lights
String fairy lights into your favourite tree for ambient evenings outdoors all year round. (Photographer: Nicky Ryan)

What is the difference between fairy lights and string lights?

They’re really the same thing! String lights are basically a set of decorative lights that have many small lights evenly distributed along a wire. So fairy lights are just a type of string lights. Other different forms include festoon lights, lantern lights and Christmas lights.

Fairy lights are available for both indoor and outdoor applications, where the plugs and wiring are made to withstand moisture and rain.

The only Christmas decoration you really need | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
With a tiny string of battery-operated fairy lights tucked into the basket, even a bicycle can become a festive display. (Photographer: Chris Warnes)

Where do you hang fairy lights?

Wrap anything in fairy lights! From traditional Christmas trees to doorways, tablescapes and vases dotted throughout your home, they look as beautiful around the branch of a tree as along a verandah or staircase railing. Remember the actual lighting value fairy lights can create for better visibility – along pathways, hall tables, backyards and bathrooms.

Another trick is to highlight architectural features with fairy lights. Frame a door or feature window by lining the architrave with indoor fairy lights or run fairy lights along a mantlepiece, dotted with other festive foliage and objects.

The only Christmas decoration you really need | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
Elevate simple festive displays with the sparkle of fairy lights. (Photography: Chris Warnes)

Which is better? LED lights or fairy lights?

LED string lights use less power, making these more energy-efficient fairy lights than conventional types. They also use lower voltage and generate less heat when in use so are safe to leave on overnight. You can even get Smart fairy lights that can be programmed to change colour at the touch of an app, depending on the mood you’re after.

The only Christmas decoration you really need | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
Dress up a simple star decoration, handmade with twigs. (Photography: Chris Warnes)

How to decorate rooms with fairy lights

Create a warm welcome at your front door, or before guests enter your home with an attractive outdoor focal point.

Indoor fairy lights are a great excuse to bring out your favourite pieces and style them up with festive flair. Rather than keeping things too formal, create a relaxed display and go with the flow of the fairy lights – a little pine sprig here and there, stolen from the Christmas tree, together with a string of battery-operated fairy lights and you have a portable organic table centrepiece. With longer lengths of LED and plug-in fairy string lights, create a show-stopping display along an entire wall or hallway.

Rustic timber recessed shelf styled with fairy lights and Christmas baubles
The beauty of batteries – these small strands can have the battery pack tucked away to set a festive glow to any vignette, without the need to run ugly cords everywhere. (Photographer: Chris Warnes)

Shop fairy lights

LED fairy lights


400 Carol LED fairy lights, Temple & Webster


Style up a twinkly storm indoors or out with over 30 metres of these warm white fairy lights. Join up to three sets together, the set and forget with a handy built-in timer.

Warm white battery operated fairy lights


Battery-powered LED fairy lights, set/2, Amazon


Pop these battery-powered fairy lights into vases, bookshelves or ceramic votives to light up a corner of any room. Their silver wire and warm white glow are designed for indoor-outdoor decorating – also perfect for outdoor table decor or pathway votives.

Warm white solar LED fairy lights


200 warm white LED solar fairy lights, Temple & Webster


Draw on nature’s own energy with these solar LED fairy lights – a great sustainable option to light up your home at Christmas.

Mirabella Solar Powered 300 LED Fairy Lights Warm White


Mirabella solar-powered 300 LED fairy lights, Spotlight


Just a little sunshine is all that’s needed to brighten your outdoor entertaining area. Choose from warm white, cool white or multicoloured for a festive Christmas display.

1000 Warm & Cool White LED Concave Bulb Christmas Fairy String Lights - 50m


1000 LED concave bulb Christmas fairy string lights, The Christmas Warehouse


Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, inside this box lies 50 metres of sheer sparkly fun! Create special effects for 1000 bulbs via a control box with six different lighting settings – from soft glow to chasing, slow fade to twinkle!

10M 80 LED Fairy Lights Outdoor Cold White Christmas Lighting Outdoor Waterproof


10m LED waterproof outdoor fairy lights, in Cold White, Catch


Start simple with this string of 80 LED waterproof outdoor fairy lights. The transparent wire will disappear from view to allow your creative lighting display to literally shine.

Festavia string lights


Festavia string lights, Philips Hue


Fairy lights have come a long way, Baby! Operate these weatherproof, brilliant smart lights from your phone via app or voice command, or combine them with other Philips Hue accessories for a curated lighting display of 100 smart mini LEDs that can change with the seasons using a rainbow of colours. Check out the fun demonstration on their website here.

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