Fairy light ideas – creative ways to display and decorate with string lights in your home and bedroom

Create your own twinkle town by displaying fairy lights all year round

String lights aren't just for Christmas. Used in the right way, they can provide pretty lighting through your home without looking overtly festive or childish. Our fairy light ideas cover every room. As you'd expect, we have plenty of inspiration for kids' bedrooms, but there are also some pretty ways to illuminate kitchens, hallways and even grown-up living rooms.

Living room lighting ideas – improve the light and set the right mood for relaxing

We've got them wrapped round our bedposts, laced over table tops and wound up the stair banister. Keep reading to see the many alternative ways there are to display fairy lights.

1. Fake a real fire

room with blue wall and fireplace and light cord and table with chairs

(Image credit: Future PLC /Matt Antrobus)

Real fires might add a lovely glow to a room, but there are many reasons why they are impractical. Maybe you don't have a flue and installing one will be problematic/just plain expensive? Or perhaps you have pets or young children and don't want to expose them to actual flickering flames.

In these circumstances, we have a fabulous fireplace idea. Clusters of fairy lights can give the feel of glowing embers, without the risk or mess. Add in some fake tea lights on stands for extra impact and height.

2. Create instant task lighting in a kitchen

kitchen area with grey wall and shelf and lighting cord

(Image credit: Future PLC/Sussie Bell)

Good kitchen lighting can set you back hundreds, so if you're looking for a quick retrofit option that sheds light on your worktop, try fairy lights. String the under a shelf or wall cabinets to provide some handy extra illumination for chopping and other food prep. Or to create a little ambiance after dinner is served.

3. Light up a plain corner

white wall with lighting cord and pots

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Got a dark or dull corner you don't really know what to do with? Hang fairy lights from a hook screwed into the ceiling for a burst of brightness. While you're at it, you could hook up some house plants in macrame baskets. Just don't overload your fixtures. You don't want to bring down the plaster!

4. Bring more colour to a kids' room

room with lighting cord and shelfs and white and grey wall

(Image credit: Future)

String lights aren't just about adding, ahem, light. They can be a great way to introduce colour, making an impact turned on or off. It's one of our favourite easy children's room ideas.

You don't even need to buy the lights with embellishments. It's possible to make your own by cutting or folding paper, then glueing your creations on to a plain string of fairy lights. That way, you can get the look and colour scheme just as you want it.

5. String festoons between rooms

seating area with white wall and lighting cord and wooden floor and coffee table

(Image credit: Future)

In this stylish monochrome home, the owner has used festoons to bring extra light and style to the gateway between sitting and dining area. They fit in perfectly with the quirky 'industrial country' theme.

6. Highlight a motif

bedroom with white wall and wooden panels and metal star with lighting cord

(Image credit: Future)

Create a quirky lighting feature above a bed or on a wall by wrapping lights around a metal star or heart. In this coastal bedroom, it highlights a star motif that's used throughout the scheme.

7. Make a feature of furniture

room with white wardrobe and wooden floor and white wall and lighting cord

(Image credit: Future)

Want people to pay more attention to a favourite heirloom or new upcycling project? Drape fairy lights over the top to put your furniture in the spotlight.

8. Rest lights on your headboard

bedroom with white wall and headboard and lighting cord

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

Use fairy lights as a softer way to light up your bedroom. They'll cast just enough light to brighten up a late-night reading session, or early-morning cup of tea in bed. You can wrap them around your bed posts, or rest them atop of an upholstered headboard, giving the room a warm, inviting glow.

9. Cascade lights from the ceiling

hallway with white wall and ceiling lights

(Image credit: Future)

Drape a canopy of shining stars in your own home so it feels like you are sitting outside under the night sky. Hanging twinkly icicles will add a magical feel to any old Tuesday evening.

Try this in a hallway for a very special entrance.

10. Brighten up an old box

box with lighting cord and woods

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

If you've got a box of logs, a collection of candles or a crate of random bits and bobs, then chuck some fairy lights in there. All of a sudden your functional wood or tired old collectables look magical.

11. Light up your firewood

wood stacks with lighting cord

(Image credit: TBC)

Sticking with the theme, here, we've illuminated a hulking display of firewood by lacing a few delicate strands of mini bulbs in between the logs. Not only does it glam up the firewood but make it an attractive feature in your living room.

12. Pop fairy lights in a glass jar

glass jar with lighting cord

(Image credit: TBC)

If you don't want to string them up over mirrors or doorways, pop your lights into a beautiful vase or giant jar to create a modern lamp or candle feature.

13. Wind strings up the staircase

stair case with lighting cord and white door

(Image credit: TBC)

Wind the twinkly lights around your rail for some extra light on your way up at night and make your staircase look like a forest of fireflies lighting the way to bed. We've got plenty more staircase ideas where that came from, too.

14. Display on the table

dinner table with candles and lighting cords

(Image credit: Future)

Snake fairy lights across the table instead of using candles if you've got children around or a particularly busy table. You can even style them in different colours to match your table scheme.

15. Trail lights through the trees

trees with lighting cords

(Image credit: TBC)

Hanging lights from a tree indoors may not be acceptable all year round but no one said anything about trees outside. Fairy lights can turn overhanging foliage into a magical canopy.

16. Place lights among the plants

glass jar with lighting cord

(Image credit: Future)

These solar-powered lights tucked inside a Kilner jar have a pretty vintage look. Tuck them in among favourite plants so you can admire your blooms as you relax in the garden of an evening.

17. Glorify a gazebo

garden area with gazebo and lighting cord and sofa with cushions

(Image credit: Future)

For an outdoor living room you can use day and night, string up weatherproof festoons around a gazebo.

18. Cover the hallway table

stair case with table and painting and lighting cord

(Image credit: TBC)

Brighten up your hallway table by lacing a sheet of fairy lights over the top. They'll add extra light to the dark entrance hall and are guaranteed to have guests smiling as soon as they step through the door.

Related: Making an entrance – colourful and practical ideas for refreshing your hallway

Love our bright ideas? Come back soon for more inspo.

Amy Cutmore
Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is Editor-in-Chief, Homes Audience, working across the Future Homes portfolio. She works on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.