How To Set An Ambient Atmosphere In Your Bar Using Festoon Lights

Written by Ben Forde | Posted under:

Festoon lights are one of the fastest and easiest ways to create a beautiful ambient atmosphere in your bar instantly.

Thing is…

You've got to get the right festoon lighting. Otherwise, you create a sterile environment that looks and feels like dental surgery. You don't want that.

So let's look at how you create stunning ambient lighting for a bar and an atmosphere people love to hang out in.

The Secret To Beautiful Festoon Lights For Bars

bar entrance and outdoor decorated with festoon lights

Light colour is critical in creating a beautiful ambient atmosphere in bars customers love and rave about. The best colour is, Warm White 2200K. Because light bulbs that are 2700K or 3000K are moving towards that cool white colour. You don't want that.

Warm white 2200K gives you that beautiful ambient glow that feels welcoming and inviting. Moreover, it makes your decor look more inviting, cozy, and stylish.

Get Dimmable Festoon Lights

two types of festoon light bulbs

When you buy festoon lights, get dimmable festoon lighting.


Because then you have total control over the level of light you get. You'll struggle to create a beautiful lighting effect if you can't dim your lights. With dimmable lights, you simply dial the lights up on down to create an ambient atmosphere in your bar.

Hang Festoon Lights Outdoors

restaurant bar area with festoon lights

Get some festoon lights up if you've got an outdoor bar area. For permanent outdoor installations, outdoor festoon lights are the way to go because they instantly create a beautiful setting.

For example…

  • If you had a big tree in your outdoor bar, you could have festoon lighting fanning out from the tree
  • You can zig-zag festoon lights between buildings
  • You could have festoon lights hanging vertically down a wall

TIP: For outdoor festoon lights, get IP65 waterproof rated ones and UV-resistant ones. Ensure the festoon lights are commercial grade because these can handle harsh weather conditions. Ensure the seller understands commercial venues and can advise you on setting the lights up safely.

Choosing Light Bulbs For Your Festoon Lights

Festoon Low Voltage G45


You want LED lights because these are the best. LED bulbs are energy efficient and cost-effective to run.

LED filament bulbs are the best to create beautiful ambient lighting in your bar. They look like old-school bulbs which makes them great for bars. And what's more, they look stylish.

How Much Festoon Lighting Do You Need In A Bar?

You probably need less than you think when using festoon lighting in bars to create beautiful ambient lighting.

Let me explain want I mean:

One of the bulbs we have is 1.2 watts and 120 Lumens. Another bulb is 2.4 watts and 235 Lumens. Lumens are what light brightness is measured in. So from a low-watt bulb, you get more than enough light. And that's why I mentioned you want dimmable festoon lighting.

You don't need to drown the area with festoon lights to create a cozy ambient atmosphere in an indoor bar. Moreover, indoors, festoon cables hanging everywhere aren't a great look for a stylish bar. So go easy on the lighting.

If you want some help working out how much lighting you need, contact us.

Turn A Wall Into A Feature

hanging lights on the wall

I once had a customer using 700 light bulbs to turn a wall into art. When guests walked into the hotel, they were met with a wall of lights. You probably don't need 700 bulbs. However, a similar concept can be used with festoon lights to create beautiful ambient lighting in your bar.

  • Lights could get hung down a brick wall
  • Lights could get hung down a concrete wall
  • LED festoon lights could get hung across any type of wall, and droppers used, so the lights are at different heights

The Main Factors To Consider For Festoon Lighting In A Bar

  • Light colour is critical. You want festoon bulbs that are Warm White 2200K
  • Low-voltage festoon lighting with shatterproof bulbs gives you safe, beautiful lighting
  • You need to be able to dim the festoon light, and if you can't dim them, you can't create ambient lighting
  • In stylish bars, fairy lights look tacky
  • In public spaces, low voltage is a great option
  • For outdoor areas, get IP65 waterproof-rated lights

For Help Lighting Your Bar

If you'd like help or a lighting expert to look at the area, you want to light. Get in touch with me, and I'll help you out.

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