Festoon Lights - All You Need to Know!

What are Festoon Lights?

Festoon lights are closely related to the classic fairy string light. Instead of small LED bulbs along a string, these lights are fitted with small bulb sockets that in most cases can hold the bulb of your choice. This gives you the option to use LED and Edison light bulbs for a customisable look. They focus on safety, weather resistant IP ratings, are great DIY lighting solutions and are virtually maintenance free. They are often found throughout outdoor areas in breweries, pubs, cafes, music festivals and even suspended between city alleyways. However, Festoon Lights are also perfect for around the home in the backyard, on the balcony or even indoors.

Once you’ve read through this guide, visit our Festoon Light Collection to view our selection of lighting options!

Why Choose Festoon Lights?

Festoon lights are fantastic lighting solutions. They are multipurpose and so versatile that anyone can use them to increase their home appeal or add a nostalgic touch to a commercial project. Ranging from the homeowner’s DIY party lighting that plug into a wall socket without the need for an electrician, to heavy duty, made to last permanent commercial fitouts that will endure harsh weather. Furthermore, festoon lights are highly customisable with particular styles available in different lengths, with extra tail lengths and choice of bulbs.


Festoons can be found in many varieties but there are two common: flush or hanging.

This style sits flush against the festoon light cabling with no hanging. This means that wherever you place the cable, the lights are also placed in that position. This style is great for lining edges of signage, billboards or a deck roof.

The first has the light bulbs flush against the string. The second style features the bulbs hanging from a small cable that is attached to a main cable cord.

Where to Place Festoon Lights?

Festoon lights can be placed nearly anywhere around the home, even inside. Due to their versatility and ease of use, placement of festoon lights is limited to the imagination.

festoon lights nz

Where residential applications of festoons lights are commonly found. Festoon lights are available in the perfect lengths for small and large gardens, meaning no matter the size of your home, you can use them. String in trees, hang them from an apartment courtyard wall or thread from one end of a yard to the other. Some festoon light can be extended with extra tail lengths if needed.

festoon lights nz

Inside the Home
Festoon lights are not just for the outdoors. Decorating a child’s bedroom, the family living room or staircase railings with string lights is a common design found in homes. As some variations of festoon lighting can be easily plugged in via a wall socket power switch, they are simple to install, use and pack away for another time.

festoon lights nz

Commercial Applications
Whether in a brewery warehouse, suburban cosy café or large family pub eatery, festoon lights can set the mood. Festoon lights are available in lengths from 10 metres all the way up to 100 metres, meaning large spaces are not left out. Think both outdoors and indoors. Large warehouse breweries or pub eating areas are perfectly suited for illumination via festoon lights. Beer gardens, café outdoor seating areas and even open-air restaurants are also ideal for festoon lights.

festoon lights restaurants


When to Use Festoon Lights?

Deciding when to use festoon lights is only limited by the imagination. Almost any event, whether it is indoors or outdoors, these lights are more than suitable.

Backyard Parties
Festoon lights are commonly found in small to large backyards and are perfect for parties. Whether it be a birthday party, Christmas, catch up drinks or just a family dinner on a summer night, bowing festoons over a grassy yard or over a table set up creates an unmatched atmosphere.

Whether it’s a backyard wedding, on a farm, at a golf club or in a church, a wedding can be lit by festoons to create an unrivalled atmosphere.

More and more outdoor festivals and events are being lit by festoon lighting. Concerts, food festivals, pop up breweries and street parties all chose festoon lights to create ambient atmospheres for guests and patrons.

Events like corporate functions, council events or retail store opening nights can all be enhanced with festoon lights. The DIY versatility the plug-in capabilities of festoon lights mean they can be set up for short events and packed away easily.

How to Hang Festoon Lights

As spaces, homes and workplaces vary in size, some festoon lengths are better than others and hanging these can present issues like drooping and sag in the festoon line. You also must consider, among many other things, the way you are going to hang your festoons across your space. Below are some essential tips on hanging your festoons lights in your space. 

1. Plan & Measure
Before purchasing your festoon lights, measure your space and hanging distance. this will help you when deciding on what length of light you need or if extra hooks, cables or wiring is needed. Measure everything before you shop. This includes the width of your space, the height of the area and estimation of your desired drop and even the width of a tree. This will then come in handy when browsing and deciding on what type of festoon you want to buy.

2. Install Lampholders Downwards
It may sound simple, but these is nothing worse than installing your brand new festoon lights with the lampholders facing towards the sky. to achieve optimal illumination from your lights, ensure the lampholders are facing downwards onto the areas you want to illuminate. 

3. Use Hooks & Wires
Generally, festoon light end caps should not be used to support long lengths of string lights. Instead, coaxial staples and cable clips can be used to secure festoons to edges around your home. Using a wire cable and hooks can also add extra strength to hanging lights and let you reduce drooping and sag in the line. These can be purchased online or from your local hardware store. Please see illustrations below as an example: 

4. Get Creative
Festoons are most effective when they are creatively hung. This could mean wrapping around a large central backyard tree, draping across a backyard fence or suspending across an outdoor eating and entertaining areas. Festoons look their best with a slight unobtrusive slack in the line sand draped over a main area in the space.

5. Think About the Layout
There are several common ways to hang festoon lengths, depending on your space size and purpose. These will each present the light in a slightly different way and are each their own statement. Ways to hang your festoons lights are limited to the imagination but following a particular style can sometimes help make those decisions simpler and stress free. 

Please see below for examples of different festoon light hanging layouts:

Wedge Layout
This layout of hanging festoons features a central point, like a tree or pillar, and hanging the lights spread in a wedge shape to a secure point, like skirting board or fence. This spreads out light and can cover many different areas. A wedge layout can be as small or large as you need by choosing appropriate lengths of string light. Keep in mind your power source and if the secure points are suitable for installation.


Parallel Layout
This layout is a simple and effective way to use festoon lights by hanging them in a row parallel to each other. This covers a wide range of illumination, perfect above outdoor entertaining settings. It is a classic style that is found in cafes, breweries and outdoor areas. 

Criss-Cross Layout
Perfect for smaller areas like courtyards and small cafes areas. the criss-cross layout is a classic layout that covers a large area and does not require long measurements of festoon strings. 

Light Bulb of Choice

It’s not all about the durability and practicality of festoon string lights. Choosing the right light bulb for the occasion must also be well-thought-out. Appearance is everything, so always consider your bulb shape or type. Luckily, festoon lights come with an array of bulb choices to choose from and all our bulbs are LED.

Versatile and robust bulbs that are perfect for applications that need a sturdy bulb. These come in a wide range a styles and sizes from large classic bulb shapes with different wattages to starry teardrop bulbs.

A classic festive bulb that can be used for parties, Christmas festivities and music festivals.

colourful festoon lights



These are bulbs that are narrow at the base and widen at the end in the shape of a teardrop. This is the closest look to a classic bulb that can be used with festoon lights. These are represented in our S14 range. 


The classic bulb shape that is the perfect complement to festoon lighting. These are represented in our G45 range. 


Small Round
These are small bulbs that a commonly used on festoon lights. They can be used to replicate a soft glow and are minimal in design. These are represented in our G40 range. 

Standard Voltage vs Low Voltage

Not all festoon lights are the same. Good quality festoons are commonly found in two voltage types; standard and low. Their differences vary and depending on your hanging needs one may be more suitable than the other. 

Standard Voltage
This type of commonly found festoon light is the easiest to use. They are generally set up using a wall plug, meaning there is no need to hire an electrician. This also means they can be set up for an occasion and stored away afterwards. They are compatible with an array of light bulbs and are guranteed to enhance your space!

Both waterproof and connectable, these are our most popular product, suitable for both permanent residential and commercial installations, indoors or out.

The standard 230v system can be used as either outdoor or indoor festoon lights. Plugging straight into mains power from standard power outlets and come with a NZ 2 pin power plug.

Low Voltage

The best solution for permanent outdoor lighting installations, and in public or commercial areas. Recommended for event companies and commercial venues.

Our low voltage festoon lights come with a low voltage LED driver used to reduce the power from 240v to 24v which is recommended and much safer in high-traffic commercial areas.

We also have other festoon lights which are for more occasional outdoor use and these come with a 3V plug, no LED driver required. For example, our low voltage copper wire festoon lights. 

festoon lights

IP Ratings

Like all outdoor lighting, Festoon Lights will have an Ingress Protection (IP) rating. This indicates the level of protection that a light has against solids like dust and liquids like water. The higher the number, the greater the protection. When looking at an IP Rating, the first number indicates solids protection and the second indicates water protection. Always double check a lights IP rating before installing. 

Higher IP rated Festoon lights will have a seal at the base of the lampholder. When sealed correctly, this creates a tight seal to prevent water getting in and damaging the bulbs. Check the bulb seal and lampholder to ensure there are no cracks. 

All our 230v festoon lights are rated IP65. 

Protection against solid objects and dust

First Number Description/Test Second Number Description/Test


No Protection


No Protection


Protection against solid objects over
50mm e.g. accidental touch by hands


Protected against vertically falling
drops of water


Protected against solid objects over
12mm, e.g. fingers


Protected against direct sprays of water up
to 15 degrees from the vertical


Protected against solid objects over
2.5mm (tools / wires)


Protected against sprays to 60 degrees
from the vertical


Protected against solid objects over
1mm (tools / wires / small wires)


Protected against water sprayed from all
directions - limited ingress permitted


Protected against dust - limited ingress
(no harmful deposit)


Protected against low pressure jets of water
from all direction - limited ingress permitted


Totally protected against dust


Protected against strong jets of water,
e.g. for use on ship decks - limited ingress permitted


Protected against the effects of immersion
between 15cm and 1m


Protected against long periods of immersion
under pressure


Plan and Measure

Before purchasing your festoon lights, measure your space and hanging distance. This will help you when deciding on what length of light you need or if extra hooks, cables or wiring is needed. Measure everything before you shop. This includes the width of your space, the height of the area and estimation of your desired drop and even the width of a tree. This will then come in handy when browsing and deciding on what type of festoon you want to buy.


Festoon Buying Checklist

Have you measured the space you want to hang the festoons?


What hanging layout is suitable for your space? 


Do you need wiring and cabling to support your festoon lights?


Do you want hanging or flush styled festoon lights?


Have you talked to a qualified electrician about your desired placement for an outdoor plug or have you already got one?


Do you want dimmable bulbs? 


What is your preferred bulb shape - Teardrop, Round or Small Round?


Quick Buying Tips

  • Ensure you install your lampholders facing downwards
  • Use wire and cables to support long festoon cables and reduce sagging and drooping
  • Consider low voltage festoon lights for permanent commercial installations
  • Draw out a plan for your festoon hanging layout to see what suits your space
  • If unsure about the size, use a piece of string to layout your pattern then measure up the string.
  • Consider the differences between flush and hanging festoon cables.
  • Consider the differences between the bulb shapes and sizes.
  • Think about whether you want the ability to dim your bulbs.

Please email or call us if you want any advice tailored to your specific space. We can help from festoon choice to hanging pattern and what size you need. 

Festoon Lights NZ