What Are Festoon Lights & Why Are They So Popular?

If you’ve ever been interested in designing or decorating a space, be it outdoors or indoors, you already know that lighting is key for setting the right mood. You’ve also probably heard of festoon lights as they have been riding the popularity wave for quite some time now. And even if you’ve never changed a light bulb in your life, chances are you’ve bathed in the warm glow of festoon lights at least once – party people, we’re looking at you!

For those of you who want to learn more about festoon lighting and what makes it so special, you’ve come to the right place. Maybe you won’t become a lighting expert after reading this post, but you’ll surely fall in love with festoon lighting – if you haven’t already. So, without further ado, let’s shed some light (pun intended) on festoon lighting. 

What are festoon lights?

Since we take lighting pretty seriously, we’re going to play by the book and start the old-school way with a definition. Don’t get alarmed! We won’t turn this into a dull and tiresome lesson on festoon lighting. Festoon lights, party lights or sting lights as they are commonly referred to – are large light bulbs wired together to a flexible electrical cable and hung inside or outside in a garland style. 

The word festoon comes from the Latin festum which means feast. As the name implies, it initially referred to feast decorations such as wreaths and garlands. But the meaning changed with time and now the word describes the drooping curve made by the lights when they’re hanging loosely. 

You probably remember seeing festoon lights in old American movies from the 50’s. That’s because the United States is where festoon lighting first became popular. Soon the trend caught on in other countries as well and festoon lights came to conquer the world and shine in venues across the globe. 

Then and now

Modern festoon lights are quite different from traditional ones. Previously, festoon lights were made out of glass, and even though they were extremely pretty, they were not very practical. They heated easily, so they posed a serious safety hazard and couldn’t be used around children. They added to the electricity bill quite a bit, making it a less than ideal option if you wanted to cut down on energy costs. On top of that, they were also very fragile and could break easily, so they weren’t exactly what you would call a long-term investment. 

But that’s enough history for today. Let’s move on to present times and marvel at the beauty of highly-efficient festoon lights. Nowadays, festoon lights prioritize energy-efficiency by using LED bulbs instead of regular light bulbs. The translucent shatterproof plastic cases preserve the magic of old-school party lights, but eliminate the risk of heating and breaking, so you can enjoy your lovely festoon lights safely for years to come.  

In addition, there’s a much more diverse range of products than before. Festoon lights now come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, making it hard for buyers to decide which type of festoon lights to choose for their space. No matter what look you try to achieve, you’ll certainly find the right festoon lights for your project. 

Why are festoon lights so popular?

Do we even have to explain why festoon lights have become such a big hit and will never go out of style? We can talk all day about how wonderful festoon lights are, so we’ll do it even if it feels like stating the obvious. 

  • Festoon lights are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. Hang them in zig-zag across the patio, wrap them around trees, use them to frame mirrors or shelves – whatever strikes your fancy will do. There are virtually endless design options when it comes to decorating your space with festoon lights. You just have to follow the light and let your imagination lead the way. 
  • They can be used both indoors and outdoors, but before you run off to the store to buy a string of festoon lights, make sure to choose the ones that are suitable for your lighting plans. Those who have an IP of 20 or 23 are better suited for indoor use. If you want to hang them outside, go for festoon lights with an IP44 as they are waterproof and can withstand harsh weather conditions. 
  • When you want to set the mood for a party or a special event, festoon lights are the safest bet. They give off a wonderful festive vibe and are perfect for every occasion and location. Whether you want to create a romantic ambience for a wedding, liven up the atmosphere at a party or a festival, or design a warm and inviting environment for an alfresco spot where you can dine with your friends, festoon lighting has got you covered.  
  • You don’t have to be a skilled handyman to install festoon lights as they’re pretty easy to handle. If you feel you’re up to the tasks, you can do all the work yourself. However, most companies that provide festoon lighting solutions also have teams of professional electricians and offer installation services to ensure a fast and hassle-free process. It’s up to you to decide which way to go. 
  • Festoon lights are both practical and beautiful, so you’ll get the best of both worlds. They can transform and elevate any setting and you don’t need to be a professional designer to achieve great results. They’re simple, yet create an eye-catching and impactful design and have the magical power to enhance the visual appeal of a space as fast as you can say light!
  • Even if you don’t have a special event to host, festoon lights are still a great idea to brighten up your space and give it a bit of extra oomph. Why stick to your old and tired lighting fixtures when you can use festoon lighting to add character and style? You simply can’t go wrong with festoon lights. 

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