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3 ways to decorate with string lights…

3 Ways to Decorate with String Lights

3 Ways to Decorate with String Lights

The year was 1997, and I moved into my first college dorm room at Syracuse University. As every college student does with limited space and limited decor options, I taped string lights (um, Christmas lights to be exact) to my side of the room onto the painted cement walls. I plugged them in every night while doing my homework and always found them to add just the perfect glow. Fast forward to 2016, and I still love string lights. Used in the right way, a strand (or two or three) casts the most subtle and beautiful glow in any space. So here are a few ways to decorate with string lights (we used the Oh Joy for Target dotty lights in these examples)…

Oh Joy for Target dotty string lights

1. Plain and simple – Simply hang string lights up on a wall using pins, hooks, or tape as I did circa 1997 college dorm room style. They make any space instantly cooler.

3 Ways to Decorate with String Lights

2. Festive Party Lights – Hang the string lights vertically and add on colorful extras. 1. Cut a length of twine and clip it to each garland. 2. Attach honeycomb balls to the twine with gold twist ties. 3. Cut a gold fringe banner into sections (about 11” each) and gather them into tassels. 4. Secure each tassel to the garland with a gold twist tie. (Don’t worry about spacing to specific measurements; an organic feel adds whimsy to this festive idea.)

Oh Joy for Target Dotty String Lights

3. Botanical Lights – Drape the lights over a bar cart or any other corner to add interest. 1. Cut a length of twine and clip it to the base cord of the string lights. 2. Paint real or faux leaves by spray painting them in a solid color and then dipping the ends in gold paint. 3. Secure each leave's stem to the twine with a gold twist tie and let them drape and fall as you like.

I love that you can keep a set of string lights just as they are or add/subtract little touches from them as your mood changes!

{Photos by Thuss+Farrell, styling by Scott Horne for Oh Joy for Target.}


  1. Love this idea, but then I have about 4 sets permanently up throughout my home all year and in the winter the number grows a lot. I never thought to embellish them so might have a go at that. I think the botanical lights would be so wonderful for summer. They do brighten spaces and add a certain magical glow. Maybe that is why In the UK they are called fairy lights!

  2. So cuteee!! I loove string lights and I went to college in 2009 so I think it’s safe to say that all generations can love string lights.
    I have them in my room now after college 🙂
    – Belen
    A Hint of Life

  3. senior year of college, we had the outdoor bulb lights framing our roofdeck and it was the prettiest when the sun was setting and the lights were on

  4. The botanical lights are absolutely amazing! And yes, I totally understand what you mean with college students and string lights – I had a cute set from Target that I dragged with me from the dorms to my sorority and finally back to my parents house. They may or may not still be hung over the window in my childhood bedroom 🙂

  5. I really like how you market your products by showing unconventional uses for them, along with the obvious intended use. It takes a lot more of your time and effort, but demonstrates your pride in your product and the versatility of their design!


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