disclosure: this post brought to you by Acorn Influence and Enbrighten Cafe String Lights. #EnbrightenLife
We’ve been in the process of converting our boring deck into something more useable for entertaining family and friends. It’s slowly coming together and will hopefully be done soon. Of course, lighting is important and I wanted something soft and pretty. I was considering chandelier style lighting but the ceiling is a bit low for a chandelier. A bit more searching and I realized that the lovely Enbrighten Café String Lights by Jasco that were sent to me would be perfect! I’ve always loved outdoor settings that have strings of lights above the seating areas and now was my chance to do the same at home.
I opened the box of lights and immediately loved the large bulbs on the strands. This was going to be a great fit for the deck. Plus with the addition of a TouchSmart timer it’s easy to enjoy a little mood lighting every night. Plugging the Cafe Lights into the timer easily turns the lights on and off at preset times throughout the day or custom times you create. My choice is to have them turn on around dusk to extend the amount of time I have to entertain guests or just enjoy the outdoors after the sun sets.
I can’t wait to entertain under these lights. As soon as the deck is closer to being done we’ll be inviting friends over for a cookies & cocktails under the Cafe Lights party. The bottom of the deck has been boxed in, next we’ll add screen around the top, add a door and invite friends over!
COOKIES & COCKTAILS UNDER THE CAFE LIGHTS
This party can be as simple or as complex as you like. Store bought cookies and a couple bottles of wine or bake up a few batches of cookies and shake up a cocktail or two. A milk or coffee based cocktail works best since it’s being served with cookies. I made one similar to this grown-up chocolate milk recipe from A Worthey Read.
I kept the decor simple. I pulled old books from my shelves and grabbed some random plates, serving dishes and other items. Everything doesn’t have to be match. Play, have fun, and don’t worry about the little details.
I found some burlap in the craft bin and some cream colored muslin fabric to act as the table cover.
BUDGET PARTY DECORATING TIPS
- Muslin is an inexpensive way to cover a table. It’s usually around $2/yard, a couple yards and for well under $10 your table is covered.
- Search around the thrift stores to find fun dishes for parties. I never pay more than a dollar for a piece which mean I can set a table for cheap.
- Dig through all your closets and cabinets to see what you can find. I completely forgot I had the tiered plates and the mini blue cake stand because they were buried in the back of a closet. That was a happy find and looks great on the table.
- Keep it simple. No need to go over the top. Cut flowers from your garden or swing by a farmers market to pick up inexpensive flowers for the table. No flowers is also an option and one I usually use to save money.
- Less is more. Keep the food and cocktails simple, but delicious and you’ll have very happy guests.
I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.
~Laura Ingalls Wilder
A simple table setting, good food and drinks, and, most importantly, spending time with family and friends under the cafe lights makes for the perfect evening.
I love how the lights add some warmth to the deck as the sun starts to set. Even when friends aren’t over I find myself laying in the hammock enjoying the lights and dreaming of far off places or enjoying a glass of wine with Alan. No longer do we have to go back inside when it’s too dark out.
Learn more about Cafe Lights here
HOW TO INSTALL CAFE LIGHTS
Installing was as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Figure out the best layout based on space you want to cover and length of Cafe Lights strands you have purchased. We had two boxes of lights and this too a minute to determine where to start so that we stopped near the outlet, but we got there.
- Using a cordless drill & handyman extraordinnaire, install the lights. Each light has a tab at the top, we (and by we, I mean Alan) screwed each tab to our deck rafters, pulling the strand tight along the wood as we went. This process took about 45 minutes to hang all the lights.
- Plug your lights into the TouchSmart timer, set the times you want the lights on and off or use the pre programmed times and you are done!
We were publishing IG stories during our install process. I kept the videos, stitched them together to share with you. Watch to see how easy it is to install the Cafe Lights.
OTHER USES FOR THE CAFE LIGHTS
Cafe Lights don’t have to be used only on a covered deck. Think of all the possibilities:
- Strung around the RV
- In a child’s bedroom
- In an office or dining room
- Make lighted wall art
- Strung up for a special party or reception
- Used to light up the garden
- On a patio