Holiday Mood Lighting Lessons from Twilight


I was at a Christmas party last weekend hosted by one of my dearest friends Tami Rode, (below). During the evening, I was having a conversation with a guest about Christmas trees and she said “I love mine so much I cry when it comes down in January”.

Maria Killam & Tami Rode

And in that moment, I realized that it’s because a Christmas tree suddenly becomes this beacon of atmosphere, in everyone’s home. And the whole time that tree is up over the holidays, it doesn’t matter if you still haven’t found the perfect lamp for that corner. For 2 – 4 weeks, you don’t need one.


I also suddenly understood why sometimes Christmas lights are seen in bedrooms. In the past, I see the straggly looking string of lights hanging haphazardly–in a movie set for example–like Bella’s in her bedroom in Twilight. . . (above) and I think why?


So now, I get it, it makes total sense! So please, if buying new lights is intimidating for you (trust me I know, every single client that hires me to decorate their home rarely has enough lighting and is always surprised and delighted with the effect of 4-5 new lamps has in a living room) you have my permission to hang a string of white lights in your bedroom.  My new opinion is that it’s quite the designer look indeed. And you can even buy these (below) from The Pottery Barn to last year round if you like the fuzz!

Yesterday, when I had a conversation with my mother (she’s 64) who is too tired from taking care of my 83 year old dad with Parkinsons to put up a tree I rushed out to Abbotsford in the late afternoon and made it happen (below):

My mom loves pink and turquoise and she must have coloured lights on her tree! I also grabbed a string of leftover white lights (of course mine are white) that I had in my Christmas box and hung them up in my Dad’s bedroom (he spends most of his days in bed now).

Photo by Maria Killam

When they were hanging just like this (above) my Dad said, “Leave it like that, I like it”.

I said “Don’t you want me to at least hang them so they frame the window?

“No”,  he said “I like it just like that.”

So there you have it, a real live example proving that ambient lighting = happy 🙂  So get some however you can, especially after Christmas, it will make me (and you) happy.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me for on-line or in-person consultations.

Related posts:

The Enchanting World of Atmosphere
The 5 Accessories Everyone should Have in their Home
Embrace the Dark Side of your House; Lighting 101
3 Things I Learned about Design while Decorating for my Mother

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leave aREPLY

  1. Between you, me and the Fencepost

    I have wanted to put up twinkle lights in my bedroom forever. I had forgotten about it until today. Off to get cool lights for my bedroom.

  2. Brillante Home Decor

    Your posts are always inspiring, educating and fun to read. When you put personal stories they become even more interesting.
    I wish you and your dear ones a Merry Christmas, dear Maria, and a year full of joy.

  3. Christina Rodriguez | The Diva's Home

    I love the white lights too! My kids love the colored ones and they put up a couple strands in the hallway outside their rooms. They make a nice soft light and I don't have to trip over whatever they leave on the floor!
    Merry Christmas!

  4. Maria, I'm touched by how you captured the effect of lights and am grabbing a strand to run do a window in a sick friends condo like you did for your dad. Great post, thank you.

  5. Maria, I'm touched by how you captured the effect of lights and am grabbing a strand to run do a window in a sick friends condo like you did for your dad. Great post, thank you.

  6. I too found this a lovely post. Thank you, Maria. I couldn't agree more with you about lighting. At this moment my living room has eight lamps, a well-lit Christmas tree, and a glass bowl filled with a string of white corded fairy lights, all lit, but on dimmers. All the light makes me so happy at this dark time of year.

    May you have a bright, happy, and colorful Christmas!

  7. Maria,

    That's the way to care beyond the visual and into the spiritual. As we put delight in the eyes of those we love it's following our purpose in life.

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful example of honoring your Mother and Father in their season of life at this time of year.

    The song "You Light Up My Life" came to mind and I'm sure the heavens are applauding your actions.

    Merry Christmas!


  8. This post really warmed my heart. There was so much love in it. What a sweet daughter you are to come to your mom's rescue at her time of emotional need and to place the lights just so for your bed ridden dad. I can appreciate loving daughters because I am blessed with one.

    Merry Christmas!

  9. Kelly Berg, IIDA, IACC-NA

    So true! There is just *something* about those twinkly white lights…
    How wonderful of you to help out your parents with your beautiful decorating. I am with EB – this one warmed my heart. 🙂
    Merry Christmas. Maria!

  10. Maria: You are always fresh. What a sweet thing to do for your Father. As they go back in time, give them the joy of childhood. My Mother also has to have colored lights. We all had them, before white lights were required. I will say, millions of American college girls have them in their dorm rooms and apartments. In the U.S. they take a sort of icicle form. And of course, how could you do colour without addressing lighting. You've taught me a great deal about colour, but I think lighting is really hard too.

  11. Bryant Park Designs

    Maria – You put into words something that we are unable to! The effect that those little white lights has on everyone is amazing. This year we added lights to a tree outside our sons room and it is magical!! I am reluctant to take them down. I might have to add a little twinkle to the rest of my home year round. And lastly, I am touched by the story of your Dad – Merry Christmas to all of you.