Owners of the Bayfront Marin House in St. Augustine, FL Offer Five Tips for Decorating with Lights for the Holiday

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The oldest city in the country has been named one of the Top Ten Places to See Holiday Lights, and owners of an award-winning bed and breakfast in St. Augustine, FL share their secrets for impressive displays.

St. Augustine bed and breakfast, Nights of Lights

The fun doesn't end when the sun goes down in St. Augustine--the town is beautifully lit for the Nights of Lights festival.

Guests at our St. Augustine bed and breakfast often ask for decorating tips--that lets them take that feeling home with them.

The Bayfront Marin House, a bed and breakfast in St. Augustine, Florida, was named one of the 10 Best places to Spend the Holidays by BedandBreakfast.com in 2012. The award came in part because the inn is beautiful during the holidays: owners Mike and Sandy Wieber decorate their rooms and grounds with tens of thousands of lights each year.

"Nights of Lights started on November 23," says Sandy Wieber, "and we turn on the majority of our lights at that time. But we continue decorating until December 1, so that we can add some live elements to the decor and so that we can experiment with new items each year. We like to have a fresh design for our guests each year."

For homeowners who want to maximize the impact of their residential display, Wieber offers the following suggestions:

1. Choose warm lights. Lights are sold as warm or cool. Warm lights emit a golden light, for a warm and welcoming look. Cool lights are very bright, and can distract from the overall display with a blue cast.

2. Size matters. The Wiebers outline the main part of the building with one size light, using smaller bulbs to highlight the gingerbread and porches. "We're trying something new this year," says Sandy Wieber. "We've hung large white lanterns in the gazebo; they add interest and texture to the rest of the display."

3. No strings attached. "If you're lighting a large space, you're going to have to use multiple strings," says Wieber. "When you attach strings of lights to each other, there will be a large gap between the strings that will show up as a dark space on your final lighting design. Accommodate for the “lightless” part of string lights by attaching the lights, and wrapping the plain wire together with a metal tie. That will keep your lights evenly spaced."

4. Think beyond the house. Not all lights need to be on the house itself: a nice touch is to place a small table by the front door, covered with a tablecloth and decorated seasonally. Balling up lights and putting them underneath the table diffuses the light and casts a welcoming glow. Multicolored lights can be used in accent areas to add some pizzazz to the design.

5. Bring the outside in and the inside out. "If you keep your blinds open, remember that the windows can be part of your display," says Wieber. "Hang lit snowflakes in the window, or place candles on the sill. If you have a tree inside, position it so that it's visible through a window." Alternatively, Wieber recommends decorating evergreens outside. "Put a cut tree on your porch, and decorate it with lights and unbreakalbe ornaments. It brings the warmth of the inside outside."

"It takes us several weeks to light everything up," says Sandy Wieber, "and I know that isn't feasible for every homeowner. The trick is to make your display beautiful and eye-catching--no matter how many lights you use."

More Information about the Bayfront Marin House

The Bayfront Marin House in Saint Augustine, Florida is a 15-room, luxury bed and breakfast inn. Located on the Matanzas Bay, the bed and breakfast offers stunning views of the water, hot southern breakfasts each day, along with the highest levels of personalized customer service. The lodging has been awarded TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence for 2013. Reservations can be made by calling 904.824.4301 or by visiting http://www.bayfrontmarinhouse.com.

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Sandy Wieber
since: 09/2010
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