Party Alcove Party Lights Tips

Abeautifulmess party lights stapling (click for more details) Party lights, Christmas lights, string lights—so many different names, but we can all agree on one thing: lights make an outdoor space at least 96% more inviting. I’m going to tell you a couple of hints/tips about hanging lights in your outdoor space.  These lights were really the icing on the cake for the party alcove. Icing can be the best part, ‘specially on a carrot cake… Now I want cake.

Abeautifulmess party lights (click for more details)Supplies:
-party lights (we used these interior/exterior lights)
-exterior extension cord (optional)

-measuring tape

-staple gun
-step ladder

Step One: The best place to start is to measure your space. Grab a buddy to hold the end of the tape, measure, and go to town. You might want to just hang the lights around the perimeter of your space. We chose to go the crisscross method; maybe there’s even a third option you could try 😉

Here are some things to take into consideration when hanging party lights:

  • Do you have an outlet available?
  • Could you run an extension cord from inside?
  • Is there material to attach your lights to (e.g., awnings, fencing, tree, etc.)?
  • How many people are you going to invite to your party when you’re done?

  Abeautifulmess party lights stapling (click for more details)
Abeautifulmess party lights stapling (click for more details)Step Two: I chose to use a staple gun to hang these lights. The entire time I was thinking about that scene from the movie Christmas Vacation. You know what scene I’m talking about. I started at the opposite end of where I wanted to end (I feel pretty ridiculous writing that). But it’s true; I had to take account for where the plug was going to end up. When I was stapling, I made sure not to staple through the wire, using about two staples per end. Since I ended up using three strands of lights for the space, I had to plug them into each other. I tied the connecting ends into sort of a knot so they wouldn’t come apart.

Be careful not to drop the strands and break bulbs; they are super fragile, as glass tends to be. The instructions that came with the product actually recommend that you remove all bulbs before putting up the strands.

I tried to keep the strands somewhat taut, but not so much that I was straining the staples. If you do decide to do the crisscross method, make sure to keep the strands far enough from each other that if a nice wind picks up, the bulbs won’t swing into each other. Since we didn’t have an outdoor outlet available, I had an exterior extension cord plugged in nearby that I could snake through a window at a moment’s notice and plug into.

Abeautifulmess party lights (click for more details) Nothing real groundbreaking here, but maybe if you see how easy it is to hang some outdoor lights, you’ll give it a try! Let me know if you have any questions. Now, about that cake… -Josh

Credits // Authors: Josh Rhodes. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Hazel from the Signature Collection.

  • I love this idea. I’m currently working on decorating my balcony and I think this would work perfectly!

  • I wish these lights were more affordable so I could have a ton! 😉 Great tips!

    – Christina

  • Dying! I want cake. And a party. And outside fairy lights! You did a beautiful job, ladies and gents; I’ll be expecting the party invite in the mail 🙂

  • It does make a backyard more inviting. Love what you did. Thanks for sharing from

  • Are these outdoor lights meant to be hung year round?? If I am to staple them, I assume so…but are they durable??

  • I love your patio bench! It would be perfect in our small backyard patio. Do you have a tutorial one how you made it or would you mind sharing some details? Thank you!

  • Nothing ground breaking, but having someone walk through the little tips you might not think about, or save you from “learning as you go” is always so great – thanks!

  • Awesome as always!!!!! Now….could you please post a tutorial on how to do those simple but magnificent benches?! I am soooooo doing this in my backyard!!! ha XO ~Ivonne

  • Oh that little nook looks so lovely! I LOVE fairy lights! I actually decided our wedding venue (10yrs ago) on the fact that they had a fairy light tree that we could use!!


  • Love this! I’m going to have to try this out once I get a new place in San Francisco!

    xoxo Sara

  • Yep. Party lights make any outdoor space better!
    Pretty Lovely

  • I’m a little scared of what happenns when it rains…It’s a really good idea tho!

  • I love outdoor lighting!

    But make sure to check the ones you look at!! Some styles (similar to the ones you hung) actually state on the back of the packaging that they’re only good for about 90 days (so you won’t be able to use them next year)!

    – Ashley

  • Wow, I’m really going to be doing this. I’ve been waiting for a good use for my home depot gift card and this is it! Awesome post bro! Great, helpful tips! Much appreciated.

  • Do you have a link to where you bought the lights from? 🙂 My mister just saw them and said they are EXACTLY what he wants for our porch!

  • Target has globe lights like these. They ALSO have replacement glass globes for a couple bucks – both clear and frosted. I broke two immediately when I hung mine up so I’m glad I was able to easily replace them.

  • I really like these tips! I have a little balcony off my apartment that doesn’t get used quite enough (so many spider webs…) but maybe with some lights out there we’d use it more often! they sure are adorable!


  • Something I did when I hung my Christmas lights was to buy an adapter that plugged into my porch light. Essentially it screwed into where the light bulb goes, then the end of the string lights plugged into that! It totally rocked my world and made it easy to turn them on and off in the evening from the comfort of my living room! Using something like this would be awesome in the backyard as well– and only cost a couple of dollars!

  • Awesome. I was hesitating to hang lights in my similar area because it doesn’t have electrical outlets nearby… might have to go for it anyway with an extension cord (and maybe a timer like that other commenter suggested!). I’m excited! Now I just need all the time in the world…. hmm.. 🙂

  • Such great tips! If I had to install my own lights I would be scared of getting all the technicalities right. So thanks for this, I know I can always come back to this post if I need some help 🙂

  • I love the way this looks. We used 5 strands at our wedding last summer and something that we learned the hard way is that you cannot plug in all the strands together. It blew the fuse in the lights and we nearly had a dark wedding. So if you have a large space you want to light up make sure to split the lights up and only plug three strands together.

  • Just a warning, this is how my dads house burnt down. He used a metal staple on a power cord and every time the power to that cord was on the copper wiring inside expanded and contracted which eventually sparked the metal staple. We found out later that in MN it’s against the fire safety codes to use any metal staple on a cord with power.

  • Summer nights outdoors are about 10x more wonderful with lights. These large bulb variety are especially my favorite 🙂 I need to grab some to make my nightly patio-dinners an extra bit more special. xx

    The What’s In Between

  • Love the alcove lights! It totally reminds me of that town in the movie Big Phish… and makes me think of throwing my shoes over the power lines.

    Cute post, cute idea! Love.

  • I find fairy lights definitely make any space look prettier! I need to get some for me new room to make it more cosy.

    Beauty and Lifestyle Blog


  • Your new space looks great! I’m a big fan of these lights – we bought 20 some sets for our wedding because I knew that between me and my sisters we would have plenty of uses for them afterwards…. I’m about to hang some this afternoon at our new place!

    If you’re attaching the lights to something with a small circumference (say a party tent pole or deck railing), zip ties work great!

  • Tara, don’t be afraid! It’s so easy, even a dope like me can do it.

  • having a timer on your lights is such a great idea! Im putting that on my mental list for the future.

  • OMG SO expensive, amazon!!! wth?! you could have paid less than half that price at a hardware store!!! :/ a few weeks ago, i just hooked myself up with 8 boxes of these for my patio redo, and i only paid $6.99 a box (with a coupon) at ace hardware. also super cheap at home depot, target, and cost less world market, for anybody else looking to do this on a major budget 😀 😀 looks beautiful, ladies! <3 LOVE the bokeh photos <3

  • Hey Annebel, congrats on getting hitched, being married is the best. Im no fire marshal, but I don’t think it would be a problem if you had those lights wrapped around fabric for a couple hours. Just a keep an eye and nose on them.


  • This is beautiful, as always. Although, my fear is that when I attempt this is will look like a string of hot mess. You may have just inspired me to actually give it a go!

  • Great tips. I use these in my dorm (the harsh florescent is unreal) Will not be using the staple gun indoors 😉 but will be doing that little foldover you did connecting cords!

  • Love this so much! These patio lights are so darling, and this “how-to” is awesome!

  • We have lights like these on our patio. We also bought a timer at Farm & Fleet for $5 and you can set the lights to turn on automatically, daily, once it gets dark enough for as many hours as you like. So every day they turn on once the sun sets and depending on the season we will have them stay on for three hours or for 4 or 5. Also, in Northern Illinois this year we have had quite a few hail storms and the last one shattered about half of the bulbs. We always keep an extra set or two so that we can swap out bulbs.

  • I love this sister is having a garden make-up. Going to forward this on to her! 😉

  • Love these! Just have to make sure you hang them high enough that your tallest guest won’t hit their head. Would love an area like this!

    Now did someone mention cake? 🙂

  • What a beautiful backyard, I definitely want to try this bright idea (pun intended.) #sorrybutnotsorry

  • Do the lights get hot? We’re thinking of using lights like this for our wedding in a couple of weeks but we’ll need to wind them up fabric covered wooden poles and I wondered if that would be a fire risk?


  • incredible work! fairy lights tie everything together and add a little magic.

  • Really lovely! I just decorated a tree in my garden by winding it with solar powered outdoor fairy lights – it looks totally stunning and so easy to do, they just come on when it gets dark now! And they last a good few hours, and only cost £7.99 from eBay!

  • How many strands of lights from Amazon did you use? I love how this looks!

  • Great stuff as always!


  • red velvet cake = epic frosting (icing?), or just cream cheese frosting on it’s own.. wait..what was this blog post about in the first place? 😉


  • Love it! I don’t think they would allow it where I live but that just makes me want to manifest a new front porch even more. Such a beautiful job well-done!


    Laurali Star

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