Red, white and blue like the US flag or the red and green of Christmas time – outdoor installations are probably the associations most people make when someone mentions string or rope light sets … but there is more to them than these unsubtle and holiday-centric applications.

The big difference: direct or indirect visibility – when they are out in the open it is hard for these bright lights (particularly the potent pure white ones) to look anything but tacky inside a home, but set behind or beneath a piece of furniture they can cast a cool and elegant glow around objects, across floors and up walls.

One of the advantages to this kind of ambient lighting is the relative safety of low-heat LED bulbs, and of course the ease with which each snaking series can be bent, twisted and tied or taped down. A push-bottom on-and-off switch makes turning it on simple (and location-flexible).

Jason of Lifehacker started out in his office but ended up bending these strings around living, dining and bedroom furniture pieces to create low-level mood-lighting alternatives to main fixtures. It might not be the classiest design solution, but it works and it is darned cheap and easy (not to mention less of a fire hazard than real candlelight).