Friday, March 17, 2023

Pretty twinkling lights

The outside lighting on our new (to us) home is, well, sub-par, especially on the back porch. For whatever reason, whoever built the porch installed this massive oversized lamp in the rafters wired to an inside switch.

I mean, look at this monster! Not only did it take forever to turn on (it needed a "warm up" period of about one minute), but whenever we flipped it on, Don's computer screen would suddenly go black.

We speculate this lamp was bought (cough) on sale or given free. Why else install such a monstrosity?

One of the projects Don wanted to accomplish was to get rid of the durn thing. But rather than replace it with a conventional porch light, he decided to install white Christmas-style lights.

He ordered some lights and used wire holder-clamps to screw them to the rafters.

He also installed a toggle so we could alternate between one string of lights (for a very dim ambiance) and three strings (for when a brighter light is needed). The strings of lights are wired to the inside switch.

The results are so pretty! Here's one string of lights illuminated.

And here are all three.

It's so much softer and less harsh than that nasty old monster light.

The other night, Don had a late meeting. What a pleasure it was to flip on the switch and make it easy for him to see his way from the dark driveway to the lit-up porch.


  1. They're beautiful!!
    I did something like this once upon a time with lights that look just like yours. I loved it while they lasted which wasn't very long. Hopefully your lights are a newer variety and will last as long as you want.
    I have a neighbor with a bunch of children and he has invested in all sorts of solar lighting outside. It kind of has a Christmas vibe, with colors and all. So I'm thinking the kids are involved. Now when shopping I keep getting drawn to all the solar stuff, but thus far have managed to hold to shopping plans for higher priorities.

  2. I love this idea! We've done it with a dark indoor entry corner, and I'm going to keep it in mind for something like this, too.

  3. I agree with the poster above. If they are your standard Christmas lights, be prepared to replace them in a few years (depending on how much they are on each day). I have had the same problem with incandescent as well as the newer LED versions. They only lasted a couple of years with running 6 hours per night. The LED ones never stopped working, they just got dimmer over time until they were unusable.

    I have replaced mine with higher priced versions commercial rope lights. But I know they will need to be replaced too....nothing lasts forever.

    They do look good though. It provides light with a minimum of shadows. Best of luck.

  4. We use a dimmer switch on ours so they can be turned down really low if we wish and we're not sitting in light that totally wipes out our night vision. Do the same thing with the lights on our tree--can reduce the amount of electricity and also create a different ambiance.

  5. I agree your end result is nicer, but my dad would have been all over that original lamp. He loved old-school equipment like that. Your solution gives a much more diffuse light for the porch though.