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It's Not Too Early to Think About Lighting Your Winter House Party

It's Not Too Early to Think About Lighting Your Winter House Party

  2012-11-16         sparksdirect         Advice » Lighting Design Advice

We hope you learned something from our last-minute Hallowe'en decorations post, because we certainly did. 

Specifically, that something was: start planning early. We failed at that; Diwali already started, and we totally dropped the ball on that one. It's the Festival of Lights!

That's what we do! How did we miss that? Luckily: all the best celebrations are in the winter time, so we have an excuse to throw a house party for, say, Christmas (25th December), Hanukkah (8th-16th December), or Saturnalia (dates vary from Roman Emperor to Roman Emperor).

This means we have a little time to prepare, which means we have some time to think about how we'll light the party.

We think about party lighting in three ways:

Colour Temperature 

Candles are ideal for winter parties, but with a lot of people in a relatively small space, that can be a real fire hazard.

Thankfully, you can simulate that warmth with the right colour temperature.

Candles give off a colour of about 2000 Kelvin - other than speciality lights, warm white lightbulbs are a close approximation at roughly 3000K.


The colour temperature of a light source is not the same as its colour, but both are quite important this time of year.

If you're feeling festive, mix up some bold colours to cast some interesting effects around the house.

Coloured rope lights come in different lengths and can be used outdoors, or for a more permanent fitting, consider installing some X-Flex fittings for accent lighting.


Encourage guests to circulate by highlighting certain spots like the kitchen or outdoor areas (which we'll get to in a moment) with dimmer switches.

Turn down the lights for an instant dancefloor and then, when your guests have worked up an appetite, turn up the kitchen lights to alert them to the snacks! Or to the booze!

Head Outside

Thirdly, don't neglect the outdoor areas if you have them! A little mulled wine in the back garden is lovely this time of year.

Of course, here in the UK you might want to install a few heaters out there. An outdoor light or two wouldn't hurt either, especially as the sun goes down at about 5pm now.

Emergency Party Button

And if all else fails (or if you're just really ambitious) you could do what this guy did and install a "emergency party button." If you decide to go down this road, we recommend that you set aside a weekend for all the DIY.

You'll notice there is a "why" section behind that link, although we hoped it would be self-evident. As always: suggestions, tips, and party invitations are welcome in the comments.

Photo by Toni Blay on Flickr (Creative Commons Licence)