Christmas is coming, and that means it’s time to put up the fairy lights and decorations. But, gone are the days of hanging some tinsel and baubles on the tree and calling it done. Oh no, with so many fantastic decorations on the market you can now cover the entire house in Christmas cheer. Nigel Ruck has some tips and tricks for decorating your home in spectacular fashion, and he has called on Love Child’s Sophie Hessner to lend a hand. Before you start, it is a good idea to choose a colour scheme. We went with your classic Christmassy red and white. Too many colours and your display will look like a dog’s breakfast!The next tip – and probably the most important one – is to remember that safety always comes first. Only buy lights that meet specific safety standards. Check the packaging for an approval number, mark or logo. Be wary of buying cheap lights from auction sites and overseas suppliers as they might not meet Australia’s safety standards.While we’re talking safety, make sure your power boards also meet Australian safety standards and that they are fitted with overload protection. You should also keep any electrical decorations away from metal (including tinsel), moisture, fireplaces and other electronic appliances. So how many sets of lights do you need? Outdoor lights are usually designed to cover large areas so they tend to be longer than indoor lights. Measure the area you want to decorate, then check for sets of a similar length (it will be written on the box).Make sure your lights are suitable for outdoor use. Outdoor lights should never be used inside, just as interior lights should never be used outside. Look for extra low voltage lights for outside, such as LED or solar.
These types of lights use a transformer to bring the voltage down to a safer level, so you don’t need to worry about your children or pets playing in the garden.
Solar lights are better for the environment and cost nothing to run! For electrical lights, you can use an online energy calculator to estimate the cost of running. Many online Christmas decoration suppliers have an energy costs calculator on their website (just make sure you are on an Australian site).When hanging your lights and decorations make sure you fix them to a secure surface. There are lots of clips and hooks on the market designed especially for hanging your decorations, which means you don’t have to use nails or staples which could cause damage and trigger a safety issue. Highlight your home’s architecture with rope or fairy lights, and always find a focal point. This is where we will place our feature decorations. Without a focal point your display can look cluttered and messy. And remember, if you are decorating up high, make sure you take the necessary safety precautions and have a helper on hand.Follow these tips and you should have a spectacular – and safe – Christmas display the whole street will enjoy!
Watch Nigel on Christmas with The Australian Women’s Weekly on Sunday, December 9 at 6.30pm on Channel Nine.