Private patio with vertical string lights
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How Jessica Alba Hangs String Lights For A Sophisticated Patio Space
Actress Jessica Alba learned that string lights can range from looking cheap and juvenile to chic and sophisticated, depending on the type of lights chosen and how they're hung.
Although stringing lights around the perimeter of your outdoor area is an easy solution, it can skew a little more "college," Alba said in an Honest Makeover Amazon Edition video.
While working with an interior designer to transform her own patio space, Alba noted in the video that "[i]f you zig-zag them on a pergola, or what have you, it looks more adult."
The zig-zag hanging pattern provides an illuminated ceiling of sorts over your space for a more grown-up configuration but presents a major limitation that may prove challenging.
You’ll need several hanging points where the lights can be affixed before stretching across the area. If you're hanging lights across a pergola, then this shouldn’t be an issue.
However, if you're planning to cover an open-area deck or a larger swath of outdoor space, it might be tough to locate enough hanging points to make this pattern work.
In this case, the "horizon point" style, where several light strands are affixed to one structure at one end and along the side of a wider structure at the other, works better.
For a smaller space with limited hanging points, consider arranging the lights in a "V" or "X" shape. Both of these configurations share many features with the zig-zag "W" pattern.