Experts offer a few ideas for using lights to decorate the home for the holidays.
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Stair-Rail Lighting Ideas:
Attach the garland to the rails by using the wires in the garland. Fresh garlands don't last as long as artificial greenery, and they tend to shed. Also, the artificial garland can be used for a longer time. The festooning technique (making half-circle loops) is great for formal or colonial homes. For a less formal look, run the garland straight up the stair rail, incorporating candy and apples.
Next, attach bows and twirl the lights around the existing wire in the garland -- don't be too careful about winding lights through. Keep the lights relatively thick through the garland because accents will diminish the lighting.
Embellish the garland with fresh greenery from outdoors; you can use magnolia leaves, pine cones, etc. Attach it with a wire from the greenery. This will give the garland a customized look.
Chandelier and Fireplace Lighting Ideas:
For a colonial topiary-type centerpiece, place a wreath in the center of the table and drape PVC garland over opposite arms of the chandelier. Attach the garland to the wreath. Intertwine lights throughout and add a curling ribbon down from each arm. For the fireplace, just drape garland above the top and below the mantel, using the festooning drape. Then simply intertwine lights and ribbon throughout.