Christmas LigtingCredit: festive season is drawing near and you're likely to be considering a range of festive activities – from seasonal parties and dinners, to having relatives to stay. So it's worth planning your interior décor with these activities in mind if you're looking to wow with your festive decorations.

For Christmas parties, the spirit of the season means that it's fine to go slightly overboard. You may employ impeccable taste for the rest of the year, but most people will forgive a little tackiness in the celebrations! Opt for traditional fairy lights, strung over mantelpieces, around the Christmas tree and strung around staircases and even kitchen cabinets, depending on how far you want to go. A glass bowl of floating candles looks lovely on an evening dining table and traditional candlesticks add elegant formality. If there are young children around, dispense with candle tealights for safety and try the battery-operated or electrical 'flickering effect' lights instead, which look great but are much safer.

Outdoor Lighting

Snowman(121615)Credit:'t forget the outdoors either – you might want an illuminated snowman or reindeer to guide guests up your path and delight small children. If you're resisting the more overt themes of the season, you could opt for a classier string of clear white bulbs strung around a tree or shrub. Consider how your home looks from the outside too; a traditional candle-bridge looks very cosy and welcoming when viewed from the street, as do little mantelpiece lights and coloured Christmas lights on display. You could also invest in outdoor light strings around a patio if you feel brave enough for a winter BBQ, or string mini lanterns into the trees for a magical grotto effect.

Remember your functional outdoor lighting too – solar lamps alongside the drive are very useful to guide cars safely up towards the parking spot and security lighting may be very valuable over the Christmas season, where opportunist robberies reach their peak. Opt for motion sensor lights and install a good porch lamp too, both to deter any wrongdoers, but also to welcome visitors and to help you when you're struggling for your keys in the dark!

Thinking About Guests

For guests staying in the spare bedroom, make sure that the lighting is adequate for their Christmas Tree(121616)Credit: For example, an overhead light may not be sufficient for a bedroom, as it makes it difficult to read and it requires switching off before getting into bed. Some nice side or table lamps are ideal, or wall-mounted reading lamps for a softer evening glow. Remember that a dimmer can be very useful to adjust light according to needs.

Consider installing an illuminated clock or bedside alarm clock with a glowing time function, for extra convenience. Check too that lights for bathrooms and the kitchen are working correctly, so that guests don't end up being confused. These sorts of things easily become worked around by the home inhabitants, but they can greatly confuse guests.

With a little inspiration and creativity, your home lighting will easily pass the Christmas safety, functionality – and festive fun test!