Christmas

How to hang Christmas lights – a Kelly Wearstler masterclass

Renowned designer has created a festive light installation you're going to want to copy. Here's she shows us how to hang Christmas lights – her way

Kelly Wearstler on how to hang Christmas lights
(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

Want to know how to hang Christmas lights just like one of the world's top interior designers does in her home? You're in the right place.

Below, H&G brings you one of the simplest but most impactful Christmas decor ideas you can recreate in the holiday season in the form of a wall light installation from interior designer Kelly Wearstler.

'A festive light installation adds a glowy dose of spirit to an interior and puts a cozy new lens on the traditional holiday light show,' says Kelly. 'Use an entire wall as a canvas for long strings of simple, white holiday lights. 

'A geometric pattern with repetition brightens the mood while creating visual interest. I love to let the lights cascade onto the floor for an artful, spilled-over-with-joy feeling. 

'A vibrant vignette infuses a space with bright dimension and is super-easy to create. Multiple strings of same toned lights and inconspicuous hooks or tiny tacks bring form to your vision.

'Think big and let your imagination be your inspiration.'

How to hang Christmas lights – the Wearstler way

Many of the items shown below are on sale at Kelly Wearstler (opens in new tab), or of course, you can use what you already have at home. 

You will need:

  • String lights – ideally one long length, along multiple strings will work
  • Tacks or hooks

1. Attach tacks or hooks to the wall

Kelly Wearstler on how to hang Christmas lights

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

'Use an entire wall as a canvas for long strings of simple, white holiday lights,' says Kelly. 'A geometric pattern with repetition brightens the mood while creating visual interest.

'Multiple strings of same toned lights and inconspicuous hooks or tiny tacks bring form to your vision.'

Check the lights work before you start to hang them, then turn them off again before placing the hooks or tacks at regular intervals to create the effect above, hanging the lights as you progress across the wall.

Check the effect after you have covered about six feet of the breadth of the wall but turning on the lights. Looks good? Keep going.

2. Create a draped effect on the floor

Kelly Wearstler on how to hang Christmas lights

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

'I love to let the lights cascade onto the floor for an artful, spilled-over with joy feeling,' says Kelly.

3. Check the spacing and neaten the display

Kelly Wearstler on how to hang Christmas lights

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

'A vibrant vignette infuses a space with bright dimension and is super easy to create,' says Kelly.

4. Step back to check for balance

Kelly Wearstler on how to hang Christmas lightsKelly Wearstler on how to hang Christmas lights

(Image credit: Kelly Wearstler)

Turn the lights on, step back and admire your work.

'Think big and let your imagination be your inspiration,' concludes Kelly.

Visit Kelly Wearstler on Pinterest (opens in new tab) to see more festive styling tips.

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine.