If you are decorating a Christmas tree for the first time then chances are you’ll want to get it right! This means creating a decorative style that is perfectly proportioned to the tree in terms of tinsel, baubles and lights. Christmas lights have come on leaps and bounds in terms of style and technology and now the majority of people are turning to LED styles for the numerous benefits they have over incandescents.
But how many lights are right? If you have ever wondered how many lights for Christmas trees is the perfect amount then fortunately for you, you’re in the right place. We have created this guide to help you get to grips between the basic concept of lighting and also for the more serious decorator; how you can mathematically work out the number of light bulbs needed for your tree.
The Basic Recommendation
For those of you who don’t want to commit a huge amount of time to decorating but simply want to invest in the right amount of bulbs for their tree, then pay attention! There are an average number of lights per tree height that is recommended but it is also important to consider just how bright you like your tree to be. Generally we would advise you to either add or lower the recommended number by 50 if you want a brighter or more minimal look respectively.
Here is the basic recommendation for your average tree heights:
5 ft. trees – 150 standard lights
6 ft. trees – 200 standard lights
7 ft. trees – 300 standard lights
8 ft. trees – 400 standard lights
This is our recommended number of lights for Christmas trees that are decorated in the traditional style. If you are looking to decorate an outdoor tree and wish to decorate the trunk with lights as well then you’ll need to adopt a different criterion.
There are of course a variety of factors that affect just how many bulbs you should have on a tree. For instance, this recommendation of 300 lights on a 7ft. tree would look ridiculous if you choose a larger bulb style such as lanterns, or by choosing mini bulbs you’ll likely need more bulbs to create a fuller effect.
The style of Christmas tree is also an important consideration. What we mean by this is that different tree varieties offer different looks, such as a fuller or sparser branch, therefore you will want to adjust the type and quantity of lights in order to best compliment its traits.
Finally, we briefly touched on it earlier but the sheer number and styles of Christmas tree lights can be pretty daunting these days. The basics of what you need to know is that whilst incandescents are cheaper than LEDs, the benefits of LEDs from lifespan, staying cool, rarely breaking and energy efficiency, make them a form of lighting that is well worth investing in so you don’t have to buy new lights for a very long time. There are also a variety of light styles from your standard bulb, to mini lights, lanterns, fairy lights and many more to suit the effect you would like.
How To Calculate The Christmas Lights You Need?
The number of lights you need is of course affected by the size and height of your tree. It is therefore important that you take this cone shape into account when doing the math. Researchers have actually tried to find the perfect formula for working out how many lights create the perfect tree decoration and they have come up with this:
The number of lights required for a tree is found by multiplying the mathematical constant Pi (3.14) by the height of the tree in centimeters.
So for example:
An average 6 ft. tree (183cm) x Pi (3.14) = 574cm of lights required.
Therefore you should be looking for approximately five and a half meters of lighting – with standards spacing between bulbs – to decorate your tree.
There are of course plenty of other ways and math that people use in order to count how many bulbs they need and it is especially important to adjust the above formula if you have an especially narrow or wide tree, otherwise you’ll find you have either bought too many or too few bulbs. Regardless of all this remember it’s Christmas and a time to have fun and enjoy the decorating process!