Lighting designer Marion Mullan talks outdoor holiday displays
By By Marie Marciano Gullard
For Chesapeake Home + Living|
Nov 19, 2014 at 6:21 PM
Remember taking a family drive to see all the Christmas lights in town? No matter our age, we still marvel at a beautifully lit home, but creating an awe-inspiring display is easier said than done.
Christmas Decor by Mullan Nursery Co. Inc. in White Hall has been creating custom holiday lighting for residential and business clients since 1986. Award-winning lighting designer and owner Marion Mullan shares her advice on this yuletide tradition.
What is one major mistake people make with outdoor lighting?
[They] ignore the safety requirements and power limits that are included with the instructions. People often run into trouble when they repeatedly attach light strands from end to end without regard to the appropriate number that can be connected safely. In such instances, the total power used will often exceed the power of the outlet, causing an electrical fuse or [ground fault interrupter] to blow.
What are the advantages of using professional lighting designers?
The main advantage to hiring a professional is to eliminate the hassle and frustration of creating a beautiful, festive light display. Many families have neither the time nor a realistic idea of how many lights they actually need to achieve their goals for holiday lighting. Our well-trained staff is able to install quickly and efficiently. When the holiday ends … we take down all decorations and store them away for our customers.
Where do you start when designing a holiday light display?
[We provide clients] a custom design that highlights the best features in the landscape and the architecture of their property. We usually start with a roofline display, because the lines and angles form a nice backdrop. We like to light trees and shrubs as focal points to soften the lines of the house. We also light … wreaths so they can be seen during the day and night.
What lighting design tips can you share with our readers?
Keep your design simple. There is a big difference between having an idea and executing it. Sticking to a simple design will help achieve a clean, elegant and festive look. Use quality products. Use LED lights. They operate on about 15 percent of the electricity incandescent lights use, [and] it’s most certainly worth the investment!