This isn’t the Pride season any of us were expecting when Big Ben rang in 2020.
For the first time in the 50 years the Pride movement has been an active force for LGBTQ+ liberation, we are restricted with how we can celebrate together as a community in physical spaces like we have done in the past.
That doesn’t mean the spirit of Pride has fizzled out though. Far from it, in fact. With government guidance allowing us to ‘bubble’ up with another household while practising social distancing, there is still an opportunity to celebrate everything LGBTQ+ with family, friends or chosen family members this summer.
If anything, a more intimate gathering means you can spend quality time with your queer sibilings and create meaningful moments while catching up after months of strict lockdown measures.
Of course, this all needs to be done with some good food and drink at hand, a summer playlist full of Pride anthems, and an array of LGBTQ+ Pride flags. But if you’re looking to really up the stakes in your home, an outdoor lighting system can add plenty of vibrancy to the setting.
Since its introduction in 2012, Philips Hue has revolutionised the way we light up our homes and gardens with their range of colour-changing LED lamps and bulbs. Over the years the technology has become more impressive, and now boasts over 16 million colours to choose from.
Controlled from the Philips Hue app on your smartphone device, setting up a mutli-coloured Pride party spectacle has never been so straightforward and looked so magnificent. You send instructions to the lights through your home Wi-Fi via the Hue Bridge, which plugs directly into your router. To prove how simple it really is, we set up our own multi-coloured lighting display in our garden within an hour or so.
To create a light display resembling the colours of the Pride flag, we used four Lily XL Outdoor spotlights to shine bright, vibrant hues up our fence, transforming it from dreary wood into an ambient feature. The way the Philips Hue system works means that each spotlight that is connected by extension cables also extends the range of the wireless coverage by a further 20 metres, meaning you can be incredibly ambitious with how far you want to push it.
The plug and go set-up means you require very little tech know-how to get started and achieve a professional-looking display. Extension cables can be purchased to achieve greater distances across your outdoor space, and we faced no difficulty in the system coming to life when all of the lights were connected to the main power source and synced with the app.
While spotlights were perfect to uplight part of our garden, we used two 5-metre outdoor lightstrips to downlight some of the panelling too. Light and durable, the strip-lighting can be fixed to fencing through clips and be directed downwards to shine a different shade onto the display. We used the other cable to tangle within some greenery to add electric pink light to emanate through the leaves. Considering how flexible and lightweight the strips are, they can be applied to your set-up in many different ways, from subtle ambient lighting to creating an under-table glow or even framing a doorway or gate.
When it comes to statement lighting, the Philips Hue Calla Large Outdoor Pedestal looks stylish as an ornamental feature in your garden before its even been lit up. We had a pair, with each on sat at the end of our picnic bench giving off light pink and blue hues that shone up through the wooden table. These can be easily placed around your outdoor space, either to light up a walkway, flank a doorway or have as centrepiece moments in different areas.
Once you have your lights set up you can start to play with how you want the different areas in your garden to be lit up. For our spotlights, as we mentioned earlier, we used the colours of the Pride flag, selecting the right tones from the Philips Hue app. We then set the pedestals to light pink and blue to represent the colours of the trans flag, while the cables gave out a yellow glow to add warmth to the setting and to complement the colours dotted around.
We set this in the app as our ‘Pride’ room, meaning that in the future when we turn the lights on we have this saved and with a tap of a button all the colours would return to these exact tones. We’re also more than familiar with the fact that ‘being extra’ is a favourite queer pasttime, so of course we created more than one set-up so that at different points throughout the Pride gathering we could switch the lighting with ease.
It meant that we could change the spotlights to represent the trans flag instead, while the cables and pedestals took colours from the bisexual flag. We also had a setting where every light went electric pink. That made the playlist packed full of banger’s from Lady Gaga’s Chromatica taste even sweeter.
Playing with colour combinations through the Philips Hue app and positioning lights throughout the space means that you have a great deal of creative freedom when setting up the lighting system. This year may not include the Pride celebration we were all expecting, but it doesn’t mean you have to go without a big colourful spectacle while surrounded by your favourite queers. Cheers to that.
This editorial was paid for by Philips Hue.