You may think the time of the year for fairy lights has passed – but I think all year is good for fairy lights. Why? Because they're lovely! They add warmth to any room – so don't pack them away now the tree's down. Get creative…
Via Google Translate (and looking hard at the pictures), make like Swedish blogger Rebecca and create fabric fairy-light lampshades from plastic cups and old scraps of material: http://rebeccasdiy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/diy-ljusslinga-med-lampskarmar.html
Do similar with cupcake holders, paper cups, even Quality Street wrappers (the coloured bits), which my friend Holly has done; she then arranged her newly multi-coloured string on a wall in a heart shape (mould some wire, then wind your lights around it and hang from a pair of hooks).
If you have giant jam jars or a glass vase, stuff your fairy lights inside. Great for dingy corners.
A bit more unusually: if, like me, you have a box of old-school light bulbs you haven't quite got around to recycling, chuck them in something fruit-bowl-sized (glass, ideally), put it in a fireplace or somewhere prominent, and bury your fairies underneath. Beautiful.
I have some giant fairy lights – aka festoon lights (about £30, Amazon) – that have languished in a cupboard for years. Then I saw a photo of a set hanging down, from a single hook, on a clean white wall. Very industrial chic. Now mine soon shall be, too.
Lit and polished
Alternatively, just get some swanky fairy lights that need no adornment. Have a look round Habitat (ideally while its sale is still on).
Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at yourhomeislovely.com