‘Tis the season for festive lights! But you’re already dreading the hours of untangling wires and replacing of broken bulbs—not to mention actually climbing on a ladder to hang them all—not to worry. This year, bring in the pros to get the job done right. They’ll happily hang your holiday lights in time for your Thanksgiving feast, and come back after New Years to take it all down. Best of all, they’ll even rent the latest and greatest light installations to you so you don’t have to buy and store anything unless you want to.
We talked to two highly rated holiday lights installation specialists—Jonathan Lewis in Littleton, Colorado and Kelle McCarty of Delights of Christmas in San Diego, California—to get the winter scoop on this year’s holiday lighting trends, as well as advice for how to hire a lighting pro in your area.
What are the brightest trends in lighting for 2015?
Both Lewis and McCarty agree that this season, LED (light emitting diode) lights—although not brand new—are set to shine. Prices have moderated and made this eco-friendly, long-lasting, low energy use lighting available to more people. Best of all, McCarty says, LED designs are now able to mimic the look of traditional incandescent lighting for that nostalgic old school glow with a lower financial and environmental cost. This means you can wrap your whole house guilt free!
Pops of color are making a splash as well. Lewis is a fan of the colored lights brightening up the season. Try decorating your home with classic white lights, then selecting a few trees or bushes to stand out in brilliant 3D color in the front yard. Alternately, for an all-over elegant glow, mix bright and soft white lights for a champagne inspired color.
App-friendly lighting is all the rage. Wi-fi enabled lighting timers save you money, time, and effort when you plug in your strands to be controlled by one remote switch. Control your lights from across town (or on your couch) with your smartphone with apps like Lumenplay! Going one step further, app-enabled holiday lights can be customized by color, song, and effects—all from the palm of your hand. Pretty soon the lights will just hang themselves. Until then—call the professionals.
What are some never-fail classics?
McCarty loves the look of icicle lights, which popularized a while back and now have become almost as the iconic painted bulbs he remembers as a boy. Lewis agrees about the popularity of icicle lighting, but wants homeowners to know these delicate lights may cost more to install, as they are more likely to need extra work or repairs—good insider intel when making your initial lighting investments.
Lewis and McCarty also shared their top 6 questions to ask when hiring a pro:
Do you have insurance?
McCarty cautions that if you pay a neighborhood kid $100 to hang your lights, you still inherit the risk. If you hire a company, check they carry insurance that covers workers from injury and damages to your house.
What’s your light repair, bulb replacement, and takedown policy?
You don’t want to get stuck with unexpected fees three nights before Christmas for bulb replacement. Lewis suggests asking about the policy from time of installation until takedown to so you can get assistance if you need it. McCarty also suggests confirming that takedown is included in the total cost. You don’t want unplanned expenses at the end of the season.
What are your payment terms?
Until you establish a working relationship with a company, McCarty recommends paying some portion of the bill after the lights are down so you don’t get stuck with a takedown job yourself.
Do you rent lights?
Want to experiment with a head to toe lighting look this year? McCarty says many companies offer light rentals—which is a great way to try before you buy all that gear. Might turn out you’re just a single strand kind of home after all—which is perfect, there’s room for everyone on the block.
What’s your experience?
Don’t be shy about asking for references. Lewis suggests inquiring about a portfolio if it’s not online—best of all, these provide inspiration for your own home.
Do you offer discounts for early birds?
McCarty’s company offers a 10% discount for installations done in early November. Always ask what your specialist provides.
You’re all set to win the big holiday light competition on your block this year. Plan your vision, find the right lighting specialist, and let the neighborhood see you’re the jolliest of all.
Here’s how to find a holiday lighting professional in your area.
Photo Credit: All images via Delights of Christmas